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Like many Labrador retrievers, Stella Artois had to learn her lesson the hard way: be careful what you wish for, because you might just get it—stuck on your face.
“She’s a garbage hound,” said Cathy Timmons of Ramsey, N.J. “I supplement her breakfast with a can of vegetables, and that day it was green beans. I usually only give her half the can and put the rest in the fridge, but that day I wasn’t thinking and threw it in the trash without taking the trash out.”
While Cathy was getting ready for work, Stella plucked the green bean can out of the trash and attempted to salvage something edible. The can easily slipped onto Stella’s lower jaw, but its partially detached lid had been pushed down into the can and restricted movement in the opposite direction. When Cathy returned to give Stella her morning walk, she found the young dog sitting calmly in her normal spot with the green bean can firmly stuck around her lower jaw.
“I was more panicked than she was,” said Cathy. “I was worried that she wouldn’t be able to breathe, but she was staring back at me like nothing was wrong. I tried to take the can off, but I was worried that the lid would dig into her skin, so we went to the veterinarian.”
Cathy’s veterinarian had never seen a similar case, but fortunately was able to remove the can by hand after administering a mild sedative. Once the can had been removed, Stella was back to her old self. In addition to keeping dogs and trash away from each other, Cathy recommends completely removing the lid from used tin cans in order to prevent similar incidents.
Cathy had a hunch that pet insurance would be a good idea when Stella ate a rock and needed surgery at 6 months old.
“I was sitting in my vet’s office waiting for Stella to come out of surgery, and I saw the VPI pamphlets,” said Cathy. “I looked at the pamphlet and thought, you know, with a dog like Stella, I should probably get this.”
This turned out to be a wise decision. Just a couple months after purchasing Stella’s VPI policy, Cathy was back at the veterinarian’s office. Diagnosis: another swallowed rock.