I was absolutely frantic!! I got the alarm turned off and immediately opened the sliding glass door some. It was freezing outside but I didn’t know the source of the carbon monoxide. I got the dogs settled in their bed and went back to reading about their symptoms. Sure enough, all their symptoms pointed to carbon monoxide poisoning. I took them to the vet and they ran blood tests on them. The tests confirmed my suspicions. And thankfully, neither of them had high enough levels of carbon monoxide in their systems to warrant further medical intervention. They needed plenty of fresh air and water but they were going to be fine.
I contacted the apartment management and let them know about the carbon monoxide alarm going off and what had been found with the dogs. They contacted our local gas company who sent a man out to test our gas lines. We had a gas furnace and a gas hot water heater. Both tested fine. The only thing left was the fireplace. Apparently, when we sealed the apartment with the water, it also sealed in the fumes from the fireplace. Prior to that, what carbon monoxide was produced leaked out through the “ventilated” windows. What a catch 22!!! Since we were in the midst of winter, a chimney sweep could not be sent out till the snow melted. We had to be careful not to have a fire without any ventilation.
One reason the dogs had it worse than any of us was because they lived and slept in the living room area. When we went to bed at night, our doors were closed. Though I was getting a headache and feeling tired, once we broke the seals on the windows and cracked the door we were fine. We were a little chillier but fine.
I was warned when we first moved to Alaska that nature is beautiful but it also can kill you. I was learning that this fatal factor could be very insidious.
I was taking the dogs on frequent walks as fresh air was a must to helping them get rid of any residual carbon monoxide. They both have always loved their walks and get very excited about going out, no matter what the weather. I was not always eager to go walking since it required a full “suit up” to do in the depths of winter. Still, I would don my gear, which consisted of long john underwear, sweat pants and cotton shirt with a sweater. Once I had all this on then I would put on my “cold weather” socks which were 100% wool and then put on my ski bib. I had bought the ski bib in a man’s 3XL so all my under clothes would fit inside it. Next came my boots, hat and gloves. It takes about 15 minutes to get dressed from scratch, that is from regular indoor clothing to outdoor gear. Whew…I’m getting tired just listing it out.
After I got dressed, I hooked up the dogs and out into the elements we went. This particular day we were having a snow storm. I learned early on the difference between a storm and a blizzard. A storm is just heavy snow fall where a blizzard included gale force winds. A blizzard is more dangerous because it causes “white out” conditions. A “white out” is when the snow is blowing so hard that you can’t see a foot in front of you. It’s actually the most dangerous of all storms here in Alaska.
The snow was definitely coming down heavy. Duke as usual was very eager to get out. He didn’t care about the weather. Bijoux was tethered to him so I didn’t have to use two leashes. She didn’t always like his idea of leadership and would growl and bark at him, nipping at him should he tug her where she didn’t want to go. Duke had more weight and strength so she went where ever he decided. This morning though they were both tugging in the same direction. I was tripping and stumbling through the deep snow trying to keep up with them both. They knew they had to wait to do their “business” till we got to the mountain and off of the apartment property. I thought they must really have to go badly, judging by the way they were both tugging in concert. I was watching where I was stepping because I didn’t want to fall in the snow. Being so bundled up made it hard to get back up should I ever fall. This I had already learned from experience. In the midst of watching where I was going and trying to keep from being pulled over I glanced up for a second. The snow was so heavy I could barely see. The wind was blowing lightly but was not at gale force. Every time I looked up my eyes would sting from the snow blowing into them. As I was looking around for the briefest of moments I caught sight of the brown sign that indicated you were entering our apartments. I thought I saw the sign move but quickly dismissed this absurdity. I put my head down again and began to trudge on. Now both dogs were straining to get ahead. It was at this second I realized their behavior was more than their usual eagerness to get to the mountain and relieve themselves. I looked up at the very moment that we just almost collided with a full grown moose!!!! The dogs were howling, barking and all but foaming at the mouth. They both wanted a piece of this creature that looked like he was the size of two grown bulls and as tall as a pick up truck with a cab. The moose swung around and made eye contact with me glaringly. We were less than 5 yards apart!!!