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From Bruno the Bear
From A Bond of Love
The bear became very attached to our two dogs and to all the children living in and around our farm. He was left quite free in his younger days and spent his time in playing, running into the kitchen and going to sleep in our beds.
One day an accident befell him. I put down poison (barium carbonate) to kill the rats and mice that had got into my library. Bruno entered the library as he often did, and ate some of the poison. Paralysis set in to the extent that he could not stand on his feet. But he dragged himself on his stumps to my wife, who called me. I guessed what had happened. Off I rushed him in the car to the vet’s residence. A case of poisoning! Tame Bear—barium carbonate—what to do?
Out came his medical books, and a feverish reference to index began: “What poison did you say, sir?” he asked “Barium carbonate” I said. “Ah yes—B—Ba—Barium Salts—Ah! Barium carbonate! Symptoms— paralysis—treatment—injections of . .. Just a minute, sir. I’ll bring my syringe and the medicine.” Said the doc. I dashed back to the car. Bruno was still floundering about on his stumps, but clearly he was weakening rapidly; there was some vomiting, he was breathing heavily, with heaving flanks and gaping mouth. I was really scared and did not know what to do. I was feeling very guilty and was running in and out of the vet’s house doing everything the doc asked me.
Hold him, everybody! In goes the hypodermic—Bruno squeals — 10 c.c. of the antidote enters his system without a drop being wasted. Ten minutes later: condition unchanged! Another 10 c.c. Injected! Ten minutes later: breathing less torturous— Bruno can move his arms and legs a little although he cannot stand yet. Thirty minutes later: Bruno gets up and has a great feed! He looks at us disdainfully, as much as to say, ‘What’s barium carbonate to a big black bear like me?’ Bruno was still eating. I was really happy to see him recover.
Based on its use in this selection, what can you infer the meaning of the bold word is?
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