Tales of a Veterinary Spouse, Episode 2: It swallowed what?

“On the internet, nobody knows you’re a dog.”–Peter Steiner.

Dharma Sackler"I prefer horse poop."

Dharma Sackler
“I prefer horse poop.”

It was 8:30 AM on a Monday morning and my car’s FM radio was blaring the “oldies” station out of Hartford.  I was about to switch channels and look for some jazz, when the DJ’s voice blared out a challenge I simply could not resist.

“This morning, we are asking our listeners to call in and tell us what outrageous or funny things your dog has eaten or swallowed, and we’ll play back the best ones on the air.”

I never call radio stations.  Never.  Well, hardly ever.  This had to be an exception.  I am so getting on the air, I thought, I have a professional advantage.

I did, and the DJ had a field day with it.  Below are my three favorite “I can’t believe it ate the whole thing” stories. The first two were used on the air, the third one Cheryl contributed for this post.

1. Clean insides make great doggie colonoscopy prep.  The owner was panicked.  The dog ate an entire box of Brillo pads!  No kidding.  What to do?  Believe it or not, they were not toxic in the least to the mutt, and they were simply passed within a couple of days.  A freak occurrence, you say?  Well, my wife insists she has seen this at least twice.  Keep your Brillo pads safe–they are very afraid.

2 I now pronounce you dog and wife.  It was an emergency call on a Sunday evening: “My diamond engagement ring is missing,” the dog’s owner lamented, “I laid it on the table and it disappeared a few minutes later.  DoRING you think the dog could have swallowed it?”  Maybe.  My wife instructed the owner to bring the dog in Monday morning for an X-Ray.  There it was, square in the middle of its abdomen.  The extrication solution?  Choice A: megabucks for surgery.  Choice B: follow him around with a pooper scooper for the next few days.  They chose the latter and eventually got the ring back, stinky but none the worse for wear.   My daughter, ever on the uptake with this stuff, took the x-ray to school for the one of the greatest “show-and-tell” stories of all time.  Oh, and by the way, the dog was a schipperke, just like our little imp in the first image above.  Unfortunately, with ours, the horse poop caption is quite literally true.

3. This too shall not pass. The obvious  question, then, for Dr. Sackler, would be to identify the most outrageous thing a dog swallowed that could not pass.  What has she removed surgically that was almost beyond belief?

Answer: An entire rhododendron bush. Well, all the leaves and small stems, anyway.  It seems dogs can stomach Brillo Pads and diamond rings, but rhododendron is quite toxic.  I can’t imagine what that stuff looked like coming out of the dog’s gut.  Check that, I mean I won’t imagine.

Anybody out there have any good stories along these lines?  While I wait for responses, I’ll work on my next actual Millennium Conjecture.  Like that diamond ring, it seems to be lodged in my gut and will likely stay there until I can figure out how to pass it.


  1. Eleanor Brennan says:

    When the kids were little it was their job to do “doggie brownie ” patrol for our first dog Chaz.. They called him the rainbow dog. Seemed Chaz loved to eat their crayons! Hence, the rainbow of different colors that would present itself when cleaning up the yard. Miss that dog. He was always an adventure.

  2. Very entertaining – as usual! You need to see the upside of this: Many of us (nerds) don’t have any stories to tell that the listeners of a radio station would be interested in – as you would need to provide a glossary first. Dogs swallowing stuff – this is something the whole world can relate!!

  3. I’m a former vet tech and saw a number of items pop up on xrays. My favorite was probably a set of 3 hotwheels in the gut of a retriever mix. Surgery was needed for that one.
    On the home front, we have a rescue border collie who was grossly overweight when she came to live with us – 96 pounds on a frame meant for 60. She’d been “fostered” by someone who gave her as much food as she could eat, day and night, for over a year. When she came to us, we immediately put her on a sensible level of food and easy exercise. She wasn’t impressed with our plans to help her and began eating everything that even resembled something food-like. (Amazing how easily a dog that couldn’t stand on her own due to weight could get up on her back legs when a plate of sausage was on the counter – but I digress.) In the first 6 months, she ate:
    1. entire chocolate cake, plus box
    2. numerous plates of food left in reach
    3. a 13×9 pan of lasgna
    4. a full bottle of neat’s foot oil (??)
    5. a box of lemon-scented anti-bacterial wipes
    6. a box of 6 packets of Aveeno oatmeal bath
    7. untold contents from various trashcans, cupboards, cat boxes, etc.

    And never suffered a single ill effect from any of it. We expected a few, err, aftershocks from the neat’s foot oil but nope. Luckily, she’s now a happy, active 63 pound dog who no longer steals food. 🙂 Teri

    • Oh wow…you reminded me of something along these lines, but rather than put it in this reply, I will save it for a future post.

      Thanks for visiting and commenting.

  4. Smile when you say “nerd.” I prefer “geek.”

  5. One of our dogs considers it his sworn duty to try and eat things he finds while we’re out on our walks; over the years he’s had a plastic bag, a bar of soap (judging by the look on his face it tasted disgusting, but he ate it all anyway!) a whole dead rat (we went to the vet about one, just in case the rat had been poisoned), plastic bottle tops (but only blue ones will do!) one of those green scouring pads, part of the padding off a broken golf club handle, and a balloon. All three dogs are like your schipperke and enjoy a bit of horse poop… and rabbit, sheep, fox, badger, wild boar, anything really 🙄

  6. seen dogs eat chippings of horse hooves, horse poop, cat poop, paper, aluminum foil that had grease on it. some of these were my dogs. I had a dog that would eat its own poop, of course I did not keep that dog for long.

  7. Once I made a fabulous, delicious pot of beef stew. I left it on the back of the stove and went off to watch my son’s hockey game. Came home starved, walked up the stairs and though, “huh. Wonder why the ladle is in the middle of the living room?’ Took two more steps….’HUH. Wonder why the stew pot is in the middle of the living room, looking so clean that it could have come out of the dishwasher?!” And then I noticed that our recently acquired rescue dog was hiding behind the furnace……
    She ate the entire pot of stew, including beef, carrots, onions, garlic, potatoes, bay leaves and black peppercorns.
    I ate crackers and cheese for dinner…….

    • This, as well as a previous comment on this post, remind me of a great dog story involving some brownies my wife made. It’s good enough to be a post in its own right, so I’ll save it for that.

  8. I once had a cat that swallowed an entire rubber pterodactyl, about six inches long. We caught it by its tail and pulled it back out.

  9. When I was working for a vet, there was a Jack Russell brought in that couldn’t keep any food down. The little dog was dying and we were stumped. Doc finally talked the owners into exploratory surgery. Turns out he had swallowed a rubber ball but it didn’t show up in X-rays. After removal of the ball, he recovered and became his old bouncing off the walls self!

  10. Growing up we had a standard poodle, my parents always forgot to pick up their drinks from the coffee table when they had cocktail parties. That dog would go around the table and lap up martinis and eat all the food from the plates. He would not drink anything but the martinis though, no scotch, no bourbon, no beer; just the martinis.

  11. Tim Ehrgott says:

    Mark, As someone who saw your wife at Purdue with her arm up a certain part of a cow’s anatomy, none of these stories surprised me. I wonder what she isn’t telling!

  12. Hi Mark….so glad to find your blog! I remember when I was a child my friend and I stood in fascination over a pile of cr*p in her families basement. It seemed that her basset hound,”Maxwell”, had found himself a 64-count box of Crayola’s that made him so happy he sh*t a rainbow, lol.

    Here’s my story:
    I came home one night to my dog Bootsie, a 14 lb Tzu/Terrier mix. She ran to the door to greet me with the gusto of one who has not seen a loved one in years. I looked down at her, and stopped dead in my tracks. This was not my Bootsie. This was some kind of Rastafarian Santa Paws. See, she had found herself a bag of flour, and decided to eat it (after a good bout of rolling in it from the utter joy of discovery.) Apparently, flour is quite the thirst enducer. I believe she must have pushed her whole head into her water bowl. The water mixed with the flour that coated her face, and you guessed it: created…..DOUGH. The dough hung in heavy strands (think dread locks) down her face. I wanted to laugh, scream, cry……oh I am soooo gonna have to blog this, haha!!

    • Great story…I am sure you have loads more where that came from, as do I. 😉

      • Sure do. There was another time when Bootsie, a platinum blonde, decided to go “Irish Setter Red.” I’m flattered that she liked my spaghetti sauce and all, but sheesh,;…

      • I have a dog stealing people food story that is too good for the comments section…it will be my next “Tales of a Veterinary Spouse,” as it does involve my wife.

  13. Love your vet stories!!! I’ve been very fortunate to not have experienced anything worth speaking of…but a friend of mine had a black lab that ate a bungy cord (hook ends and all)…after a few thousand dollars later, the dog was a good as new. But it never out grew the desire to eat strange objects.

    • We love our pooches, of course, as well as everybody else’s. (heck, they helped pay for my daughter’s Ivy League education). Our own dogs are a never ending source of comic relief. 😀

  14. Great vet spouse stories! Our first dog, a rescue, as have been our three subsequent pooches, once ate a foot-square piece of carpet and pad off the floor. He was able to pull up a corned and then started chewing. When we got home and found the scene of the crime, I immediately called our vet, thinking there might be something toxic in the carpet pad, but he said that there was nothing dangerous. Over the next few days, our Percy’s poop had bits and pieces of blue carpet pad and tan Berber. I think he learned his lesson because he stuck to his dog food after that.

  15. Just found you. Have to chip in with this.

    I had a small tuxedo cat — not a dog person, I — who was an “eater.” We thought we had secured everything she might illicitly chow down, but one night she suffered acute gastric distress; emergency vet clinic, regular vet clinic, puzzled call frove: “Could she have swallowed a tampon?” Her stomach was completely filed on X-ray. End decision, the vet operated, and when she opened the cat up, she found a mass of broom straw, chewed up and gummed together with several clumps of dried flowers, all tied up in a loop of red Christmas ribbon.

    “It was the damndest thing I ever took out of a cat,” she said. The cat lived nine more years.

  16. Gotta love a great dog story! These are hysterical!

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