AUSTIN, TX (FOX 7) - A woman said her two and a half year old lab mix ingested what a veterinarian believes was chicken laced with rat poison while on the Barton Creek Greenbelt.
A police report has been filed for animal cruelty because of the case and it is believed that the poisoned meat was meant to kill off coyotes in the area.
Shannon Giles, "the dog lady," as she's known in Gaines Ranch, spends most of her days hiking the Barton Creek Greenbelt with a pack of dogs in tow.
"I'm really lucky. I get to meet so many great people and really awesome dogs," said Giles.
Shannon has a master's degree in child psychology, and could have easily chosen a different career, but after finding her new best friend, Marina, all of her free time went to the dogs.
"I decided to become a dog walker because I wanted to give her a really good life," said Giles.
It didn't take long for Marina and Shannon to become members of the Austin dog community.
"She had a lot of friends here. She knew just about every dog in the neighborhood," said Shannon.
But almost as quickly as Marina befriended all the local pups, she was gone.
"It's just not the same without Marina. She was my girl. She was a mama's girl for sure," Giles said.
Friday was Marina's last day navigating through the trails in the greenbelt.
"Marina was zipping in and off the trails as she always does," Shannon explained.
When she returned home from her morning hike, something was different about Marina.
"When I came to let her back into the house was when I noticed she couldn't walk. She was tremoring, her pupils were so dilated, she was drooling out of her mouth, and I knew that something was wrong immediately so I took her to her vet and they diagnosed poisoning," said Shannon.
The vet told Shannon that marina had been given strychnine also known as rat poison.
"It wasn't until she vomited chicken, which I don't give her people food, that we realized that's what had happened. That somebody had poisoned a piece of chicken and given it to her or she found it," Giles said.
Shannon believes a pack of coyotes were probably the target of the poisoned meat.
"We see them all the time, every day, and that's just part of being on the greenbelt. We live in a wildlife refuge. It's common," Giles said.
Her family did everything they could to save their dog.
"We kept saying, when she was still alive but very sick, that Christmas isn't Christmas without Marina," said Shannon.
"This isn't going to be the holiday season without our dog. We will spend what we have to to make sure she can come home and be with us. And who cares about gifts because having her alive and healthy enough to travel with us, or whatever we're going to do, that's what counts," Giles added.
More than $1,200 later, after multiple attempts to help Marina, there was nothing else anybody could do.
"She died while I was telling her what a good girl she was. She was the best dog ever and I just kept telling her over and over again that we love her and she was a good dog and that I was sorry," said Shannon.
Shannon hopes by telling Marina's story she can help prevent another animal from having to go through what Marina did.
"I ache every day for my dog. And I can't even bring myself to put away her food dishes and her bedding. I can't do it yet because it's not real. I miss her," said Giles.
Austin police said they need more evidence in order to move the case forward and are asking anyone with information regarding the poisoned meat to contact them.
Because Shannon's family spent thousands trying to save their dog, they are unable to purchase Christmas gifts for their children this year. Giles' neighbors set up a donation page in order to help their family during the holiday season.
You can donate at this link: https://www.gofundme.com/hxg3g7fk