“I knew just by looking that something was so wrong with our puppy,” says Kylie Hawkins. “Dachshunds don’t ever just not eat, and you could tell by the way he hung his head he didn’t feel good at all. I started crying before I even picked him up.
“Moose is a real sweetheart. He wants nothing more than to be in your lap or snuggled next to you. I don’t know what I would have done if we’d lost him.”
At the clinic, staffers kept close watch all day, giving Moose medicine to induce vomiting to avoid surgery. But, try as he might, he couldn’t expel the thing either way. “Its” identity was an X-ray mystery.
The decision to do abdominal surgery was a no-brainer, according to Kylie, who was a college student at the time. “We just had to save him, by any means possible. Period. The only hitch was how we’d be able to afford ‘the means.’” She remembers feeling immense relief when the vet told her, “I can’t let an animal die because of monetary hardship. I believe the surgery will save him and so I have to try.”
While Kylie and her mom waited anxiously for results, they were kept apprised of Moose’s progress throughout the day. The vet techs told the worried pair they could practically read Moose’s expression, as if he we’re trying to say he was oh, so sorry and he’d never do it again.
Meanwhile, questions mounted.
“We always tried to keep things picked up, but in our neighborhood, stuff mysteriously ‘appears’ in our yard almost daily,” says Kylie. “I never imagined our doggies would be interested in pieces of plastic and miscellaneous debris.”
As it turns out, very little is safe from puppy inquisitiveness. Weeks after this near miss, Kylie deduced that even the barbecue grill had fallen victim to the needle-sharp teeth of Moose’s littermates, when she observed that the little plastic wheels had been chewed to nubs.
“We wondered, ‘What else could they have gotten into after they graduated from the puppy pen?’ They were busy playing and sleeping, but I guess there’s always time for mischief,” says Kylie.
Moose’s misery was caused by a mixture of things, including a flat, square piece of plastic, a sliver of wood, several strands of nylon rope fiber and other random bits and pieces.
“What perplexed me was that the nylon rope fibers were from a water-ski rope that was hanging up, four feet off the ground. How did that puppy get something up on the wall?” asks Kylie.
Moose’s surgery went well. He’d been just a little more than a year old when his ravenous curiosity made him ill. Because he was so small, the protective cone around his neck dug into the ground, flipping dirt into his face. He learned to walk taller to avoid getting sand in his eyes; his prancing gait looked like the Elizabethan horses. He still holds his head higher than normal.
“This accident was a tough lesson, but now we know and we’ll have to be extra diligent for any other babies that come along,” declares Kylie. “It was very scary.”