Our Four-legged Rascals
The Plastic Bowl
I enjoy retirement. Those busy days of veterinary work are behind me now, leaving me with a medley of memories to sort through whenever I feel the urge to entertain myself. Today my mind landed on this one:
Dogs love to chew, especially puppies. They chew up furniture, kid’s toys, shoes, dish towels, sprinkler head….and sometimes they swallow. Swallowing is the problem. I have surgically retrieved a great assortment of items that lodged themselves at various points along their journey toward the exit orifice….socks , money, rings, binky’s, peach pits, rocks to name a few…the list is really endless.
It would be a relative who brought “uncle Bob” one of my more challenging surgeries. It was their black Lab, Stanley, notorious for gluttony, who would become my next patient. Labs tend to be high on the list of breeds preoccupied with swallowing items having absolutely no nutritional value. Stanley decided to eat his plastic food dish. Of course the bowl was much too large to swallow, but, for Labs, this is only a temporary inconvenience. You could say Stanley was adept at demolition, and a plastic food dish is no match for his determination to reduce it to bits and pieces small enough to be swallowed…to begin their perilous journey through his digestive track.
Jerry knew his pooch was in serious trouble just by the look on Stanley’s face that telltale look of nausea that precedes retching. He only managed to bring up a pitiful glob of yellow phlegm, dangling harmlessly off the end of his protruding tongue. Fortunately, those few remaining pieces of plastic scattered across the floor gave Jerry clear evidence that his pet was in trouble…big trouble.
It was a lengthy surgery, both in terms of time and distance as I searched through what seemed like miles of coiled intestine, removing errant shards of lodged plastic pieces. I didn’t count the number of incisions needed to free Stanley from his plastic banquet, but it must have set some sort of record.
You would expect there would be a moral to this story, it might have been a “learning moment” for this robust Labrador retriever…if you think that, you don’t know Labs. Stanley recovered quickly, only a temporary pause before returning to his hell-bent sprint into a life of incorrigible mischief.