Throughout the years as an animal care professional, I’ve seen a number of unfortunate things happen to client’s pets. However, it is always unlucky when an owner comes in with an emergency because their pet ate something they shouldn't. I always felt empathy for the owner in most of these cases because they are NOT cheap surgeries if their pet needs it and something like this is extremely unexpected. Foreign body cases are such unfortunate cases that can oftentimes be prevented. Since every pet has a curious predator living inside them, it isn't always easy to keep them out of everything. Well, this past weekend, I became the client with the “dunce dog”, and we found ourselves spending the weekend back-and-forth at the pet emergency center.
Ruckus (our recent foster fail) has only been part of our household for approximately 3 months and in my 22 years of owning dogs, I have never found myself at pet emergency for anything like this before. Yep, he lives up to his name. To give you a little background about Ruckus, he loves to bark, chew his toys (and the cat’s toys) to pieces, play fetch, and bark at me for attention. Despite that, he's the best boy and listens to us amazingly. We really do love him. His two very favorite things are 1. Food and 2. Running. His third favorite thing to do is combine those two activities. How did we get so lucky?!
Two months ago, he stole a corn cob off of my plate from the countertop and instantly began running away and chewing it. I frantically ran after Ruckus and offered a tennis ball for this urgent corn cob piece, and he kindly accepted. YES! I got it! Well…this past weekend is when I found out I was so wrong two months ago.
After an entire day of waiting at the emergency center, the doctor finally called Tim and said “I found it, does a corn cob sound familiar?” NO WAY! The corn cob that we thought we got out of Ruckus never even left. There was still a part of the cob that must’ve shifted in his intestines and now was blocking and obstructing his digestive system. He would need emergency surgery right away. We knew something wasn’t right with our boy when he started projectile vomiting all over the house. I felt so terrible for my poor dog. This was hands-down one of the saddest things to watch our dog go through. We finally heard from the surgeon that Ruckus was on queue to have his surgery late that night and that they would call us when everything was finished.
12 inches of Ruckus’s intestine was removed due to being compromised from the obstruction. He also left their facility with 27 staples in his abdomen. When he got out of surgery and was in recovery, his nurse told me he chewed up the t-port to his catheter. I wasn’t too thrilled to hear that I had just spent thousands to save my dog from a foreign body and then he decided to chew something else right after his operation!
In all seriousness, spending the weekend in Pet Emergency reminded me how difficult working in the animal care field can be. It was completely packed all weekend long and Ruckus's doctors and nurses were amazing through the entire process. This is an emotionally tolling field, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world! I love my dogs more than anything, even if that means they eat an overpriced corn cob.