A dog boarded at the clinic appeared to become ill and coughed up something that brought everyone running and caused the ladies to blush. It was a red thong panty.
One of the fringe benefits of working at a veterinary clinic is an occasional bit of entertainment. That's because animals can be just plain funny at times. You never really know what they'll do next. It puts some fun into our lives and is one of the reasons we veterinarians have the best job in the world.
The dog, a German Shepherd mix, checked into the Brock Veterinary Clinic motel on a Wednesday to board with us over Thanksgiving and a few days after.
The animal ate, drank, barked, played and spent the days just like all the other kennel residents. Nothing about the dog provided a clue of what was going to happen on Monday afternoon.
All was normal that day until about 1 p.m., when something in the German Shepherd's cage caught (technician) Laura's eye. The dog apparently had taken ill and was vomiting.
This was a big deal. We don't like to see our boarders getting sick, so Laura hurried back to investigate.
What she found made her come running into the clinic to get the rest of us.
She was blushing.
She announced that the German Shepherd had coughed up something in its cage, and we all needed to come have a look.
I couldn't imagine what a dog would disgorge that would make her face turn red, but I was about to find out.
On the way I wondered what the animal might have ingested; it had to be something it swallowed during its stay with us. Whatever it was, it put the strangest look on Laura's face.
Have I done a good enough job of building up the suspense?
I'll give you a hint: It was red.
We rounded the corner and could see the dog looking through the cage door, as happy and content as could be. No sign of depression or any other indication that it didn't feel well. In fact, by this time it was wagging its tail and seemed excited to see us. I couldn't wait to see what caused the commotion.
Then, there it was:
A red thong panty — just laying there after having spent five days in the belly of the whale.
How could this be? There wasn't a tooth mark in it.
This dog must have swallowed the thong whole. It had been in his stomach five days, and then his system rejected it just a few hours before he was scheduled to go home.
I've seen dogs bring up that red rind around a slice of bologna, toy soldiers, milk cartons, paper towels, watermelon seeds, candy-bar wrappers, ponytail holders, nuts and bolts and an entire cat.
But I never would have believed that a dog could or would swallow a red thong panty, hold it in its stomach for five days and then toss it up in mint condition.
I couldn't decide whether I should tell the owner when she came to pick up her dog.
We decided just to put the item a plastic bag and ask if she wanted it back.
She, of course, did not.
Dr. Brock owns the Brock Veterinary Clinic in Lamesa, Texas.
Editor's note: This column appeared previously in DVM Newsmagazine.