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Benson's Story

September 18, 2007 - Amy Jo Hanna-Eckenrode

Here is one more tale (tail?) from co-worker Lori. After her incident with Benson, I've been after her to retell the story. It is definitely one we can all learn from!:

Tyler(left: Tyler) The other afternoon I made a trip to a local pet store to pick up a bag of dog food. I decided to grab a new toy for each of the boys, Benson and Tyler. They like the little squeaky animals and love racing through the house with them. It's like Christmas each time they get a new toy.
Within the first 10 minutes though we found a piece of felt on the floor. Then I noticed the whole arm missing off the one Benson had. After taking his new toy away we started searching for the dismembered arm. It was nowhere to be found.

(right: the infamous Benson) TylerThat could only mean one thing...As my family and co-workers know, Benson has a history of eating non-edible, non-digestible things. We've been careful to keep an eye on Benson when he has a stuffed raccoon or hedgehog (his favorites) and pay close attention to inspect them regularly for any signs of wear. We have replaced many of them before their time to be sure nothing has a chance to come off. When we buy a new toy I take the time to cut off tags, strings or anything else that he may easily chew off other than the arms and tails.

As I swallowed the lump in my throat, my husband took Benson outside to induce vomiting. Sure enough there was the arm. …So, no more stuffed animals for the puppies.October will mark the two-year anniversary of us nearly losing Benson.We got Benson as a puppy. He was always a chewer. He chewed everything and anything - including rocks.

Then in early October 2005, he started getting sick. Vomiting up everything he ate or drank. The first day we figured he'd just eaten something in the yard that didn't agree with him. When it continued the next day, we started to really worry. He had started having diarrhea as well and what wasn't coming out one end was coming out the other. With nothing left in his stomach, he continued to vomit slimy yellowish fluid - bile - from his digestive tract. He would try to drink but it all came back up. I took him right in to the vet.After a few routine questions, check-up and an x-ray to rule out the chance of an obstruction, I told him to do whatever he needed to do, this is our baby! The x-ray showed he probably had eaten something that wasn't agreeing with him. The vet gave me a concoction of medicine for his vomiting and diarrhea and sent us on our way.

Other than the vomiting and diarrhea, he seemed fine. He'd run and play and we had even gone to the park to chase tennis balls. But he still wasn't eating much and though the vomiting seemed to slow at first, it started up again just as bad as before. Back to the vet. We got more medicine and were sent on our way.

That night my husband came home and took one look at our Benson. He said he looked like a dog that was dying. He called another vet for a second opinion. We took him in the next day and after talking with the vet for just a few minutes and an x-ray, he suggested they operate as soon as possible. Though nothing solid or visible was showing on the x-ray, Dr. Takacs in Ebensburg was sure there was a blockage.

They operated the next morning and Dr. Takacs called us on a regular basis, day and night, to let us know how Benson was doing and answered any questions we had. We wouldn't get to go back to see him until the day following the surgery. Dr. Takacs showed us what was causing all the problems. Benson did indeed have a blockage, one that took up the better part of a small zip-lock bag. He had swallowed some of the batting that he had torn out of a blanket. It stretched out in his stomach and intestines like a net trapping everything he was eating. We could actually identify the collection that came from his insides as things that came from our house! His collection of non-edibles could be traced back for a few months. Everything had been accumulating for a while. Our guess is that when he'd jump around, he may have dislodged this mass enough to digest and pass at least some food.

Benson, now almost 3 1/2 years old, is happy and healthy. We have been told that his ordeal in no way should affect him living a long life. We'll be the first to suggest Ebensburg Animal Hospital for your pets but hope that you never have to go through what we did.

* Pay close attention to your pets.
* Know their habits
* Watch what they are playing with
* Inspect all their toys regularly
* Never, never assume, like we had, that they are not swallowing things
* Be sure to talk to your vet when you have concerns.
* And, NEVER be afraid to get a second opinion.

 Some really tough toys that get the "Benson & Tyler Seal of Approval":

 Extreme Kong - the BLACK rubber one:"Pup Treads" rubber tire chew toy

Regular "Wilson" or "Penn" brand tennis balls - NOT the dog tennis balls, they shred those in under 30 seconds

 Nylabone chew toys for aggressive chewers:---> Double Action Chew --

 Big Chews Dino Bone (this was called the Galileo when we bought ours) --

 PS - If any of you have any 'tough toy' favorites, please let us know! We are always on the look out for new, durable toys for our boys!

I am looking for: