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English teacher interested in language and culture, and also in fiction using magic, myth, folklore and the supernatural. Now teaching part-time in a Leicester Upper School (ages 14-19) and also writing for children, teens and teachers.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Tuesday Tidings: Why we'll stick to toys from now on

These days are gone ...
We had a bit of a scary time on Sunday (but all's well now) when our lovely little Jessie hurt her throat playing with a stick. She had run to fetch it and made the most hideous high-pitched noise. We ran to her, thinking she'd fallen and hurt her leg or something, and it took us a while to figure out what was wrong. It seems the stick had gone down her throat and bruised the back of it, making it difficult and painful to swallow. There was no blood, so we were confident she hadn't cut herself, and we could see the stick on the ground, so we were able to check it was all there and not splintered in her mouth.

She was clearly a poorly girl, slinking home and then not moving around once we were home. Her gorgeous beard was all slimy with drool and we couldn't get her to drink, so we had to call the vet and see if we could take her in (I should mention again that this was Sunday). They felt they should see her, and gave her an antibiotic just in case of splinters and potential infection, and a painkiller/anti-inflammatory, with instructions to bring her back the next morning. If she wasn't better then, they'd anaesthetise her and explore her throat for cuts and/or splinters. Luckily, she was much improved on Monday morning and was her happy usual self by last night.

Don't worry, she can still play!
Whilst seeing what we should do for her, I naturally googled for advice on dogs hurt by playing with sticks and found some very scary stories. We have had a lucky escape and a fairly light warning. Jessie seemed very unwell and unhappy indeed, but it must just have been bruising for her to recover so quickly. We won't let her play with sticks again, and will make sure we always have a toy with us. She did pick up a stick within 100 yards of entering the park today, but thankfully she's pretty obedient and knows "leave" and "drop". Jessie has lived with us for just over a year now and she's about two years old (we got her from the Dogs Trust). We ought to have many more years with her yet.

Please, if your dog likes sticks too, I would urge you to think about alternatives. We would never have thought something like this could happen, but it's absolutely not worth it when there are other ways of playing the same game. The vet was all-too accustomed to dealing with 'stick damage', as they called it.


  1. I'm glad Jessie is OK. It would never have occurred to me that a stick would cause a problem, but of course it could.

  2. Aw poor little sausage! It's something you just wouldn't have thought about isn't it. Glad your Jessie is better.

  3. Oh, poor Jessie! I'm glad she's OK! Our dogs mostly play with toys, but one time when one of them was a puppy we were out for a walk. She saw what she thought was a stick in the road and went bounding forward, pouncing on it playfully and grabbing it up in her jaws only to discover that it was a SNAKE! I don't know who was more surprised - me, her, or the snake! Luckily, it didn't bite her or anything - she dropped it and came running back to me with her tail between her legs and it slithered away in a hurry, but YIKES!

  4. Cripes! Would never had thought that could happen.You'll have to get her one of those soft rubber toys.

    Also Susanna's comment re the snake has me worried too. Don't like SNAKES!

  5. Oh, poor Jessie. My dog loves sticks, but if she chews on them too much she makes herself sick. Yet she will still drag a stick out of the woods to play with. Just this morning my driveway was covered with sticks she had left there and I kicked them all down to the bottom, out of her reach. I don't need to clean up any more of her messes at the moment.

    Thank you for sharing your story and warning us all. I'm just lucky that a mess is all I've had to deal with.

  6. I'm glad it was just bruising, but ouch! :( Definitely a good warning to put out there, and not something I ever really thought about.


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