By Ryn Gargulinski: Columnist
My dog found a new habit. A very expensive habit.
A very expensive, life-threatening, rush-to-the-vet-so-he-doesn’t-die habit. To make it sound fancy schmancy — as all expensive habits should — one could call it sedentary mouth squashing. Or igneous ingestion. Or metamorphic mastication.
In other words, he ate rocks.
The rocks themselves are not costly. Heck, they can be picked up for free at the lake, the ditch, the roadside or the back yard. Even gourmet stones, like shale, run about 22 cents for 458 pounds. The expensive part was the surgery to remove the rocks when they blocked his digestive tract. This tallied in at nearly $1,000. That’s a laptop computer.
That’s half the cost of the annual yoga retreat in Tulum, Mexico. That’s one-third the cost of a new car, provided the car is crappy. But that’s also my dog’s life.
Although this proves love has no price, I don’t want to keep proving it to the point of bankruptcy. So I asked the vet how to stop my dog from eating rocks.
Once a rock eater, always a rock eater, came the sad reply.
Muzzles won’t work, he said, because the dogs find ways to scoop the stones into the itsy-bitsy openings.
“If they want to eat something, they will find a way to,” the vet added, as I had strong visions of the flattened mouse my dog swallowed despite my vise-like hands attempting to pry open his jaw.
“Keep him inside,” came another response.
This person, however, didn’t know I have a bevy of rocks all over my bathroom as well as parts of my living room and kitchen. No, I don’t use them instead of carpet, but I paint on them. And zillions of other items can be equally as fatal when eaten by a dog.
Like a tampon.
“You know how they expand,” said my boss, adding his own dog once retrieved one out of the trash and had to be rushed to the hospital.
Another caveat is the squeaky thing from the squeaky toy. One dog needed it operated out seven years after he swallowed it.
“She remembered when the toy disappeared,” the vet said of the squeaky dog’s owner.
“She thought the dog had just buried it.”
Well, bury it he did — in his stomach.
The squeaky toy floating around in the dog’s gastric chamber hadn’t bothered him until the plastic hardened and caught hair and fabric on it.
Another dog ate nearly two pounds of carpet.
“They thought they were being nice to the dog,” said the vet of the folks who put indoor/outdoor turf in their pooch’s porch hang out.
The dog thought it so nice he ate a pound and a half of it after ripping it off the floor. The good news, however, is there were no rocks underneath.