In our practice, I am lucky to see quite a few Shelties. They are a great breed, with a quiet nobility, a majestic stature, and a discerning nature which let’s all gazing upon them know that they are, in fact, the royalty of breeds. And then… there is Jack.
When Jack’s family first brought him in, there was a strong inkling that this wasn’t your typical Shetland Sheepdog. The markings were unusual, and his whole disposition seemed somehow Australian Shepherd-ish. But, who am I to dispute paternity records. I will say that there may be a pirate genetic trait that snuck onto the Shetland Islands years ago and has now decided to raise its swashbuckling head in Fort Bend County. Not only did his continuous growth cause suspicion, but his voracious, unpredictable appetites which have caused his father and I to go from acquaintances to almost roommates over the last several months. Everything in the house is a chew toy, even if orally-fixated Labradors have turned it down, Jack will ingest it on the slightest whim. One of my early favorites was the expensive ear ring that mysteriously disappeared. Dad’s detective background helped him retrieve it at a later date, and I must admit he took the high road with his wife and told her of it’s journey even after it was cleaned and shined. I admit, I might have claimed temporary amnesia, depending on the number of karats involved. Since that time, Jack has since been X-rayed enough to set off a Geiger counter. His most recent “seemed-like-a-good-idea-at-the-time” ingestion was a plastic hanger with metal clips. I admit the crunchiness of the plastic may seem fun, but why swallow the metal clips? Nevertheless, there it was nestled gently in the fundus of the stomach on the X-ray. Now for the age old question, “Do you hope he passes it or remove it surgically?” We waited, and Jack showed no signs of discomfort, so we waited some more. We took another X-ray several days later, and there it sat… still in the stomach. “Will the stomach acid eat it away?” Early the next morning Jack’s daddy was sitting up front in the waiting room, and I thought the worse, “His stomach must be upset, and we’re going to have to perform an abdominal procedure.” No, daddy was sitting with a smile and a baggie with two metal clips in it, one that had never been in Jack’s stomach and one that Jack through up on the living room carpet that morning.
I have a collection of Jack’s digestive tract mementos sitting on a corner of my desk. The last word from Jack’s dad was that he had almost passed the last of a chewed up circular rubber Frisbee toy that he was now piecing together for me as a mosaic to add to my collection.
Article written by Dr. Jimmy Dietz