Pipa is your typical Golden Retriever. She adores her parents (and every other human she meets), loves to swim and frolic in the snow, and has enough energy to power a small village. Basically, she is a blond ball of love and positivity.
But if you’ve ever met a Golden, you know that all that energy can sometimes lead them astray. For Pipa, the trouble began when she developed an appetite for destruction as a young pup.
“She was very destructive as a puppy,” Pipa’s mom, Dayane Hewitt told iHeartDogs. “We got a camera to watch her while we were at work, and one time we had to watch her destroying her bed, but I don’t think she ate the stuffing of her bed, at least!”
As it is for most growing dogs, the backyard was a treasure trove of chewable goodies for Pipa. She also learned that a wonderful way to get her parents’ attention was to steal their clothes. A snatched sock or pair of pants always led to an exciting game of chase.
As the saying goes, “it’s all fun and games until someone swallows a rock.” Unfortunately, that’s just what happened to Pipa. One morning in 2019, when she was about 6-months-old, she began vomiting and could not hold down any food or water.
Dayane rushed her to the emergency vet, but everything appeared normal on the physical exam. Knowing that Golden Retrievers are known to swallow curious items, the vet recommended an abdominal x-ray. Sure enough, a glowing white blob appeared on the image with a distinct outline of a zipper further down in Pipa’s colon.
While dogs have been known to pass some impressively large items the old-fashioned way, Pipa’s symptoms indicated that the rock was stuck inside her intestines. She would need emergency surgery to remove it.
It was a stressful situation, but fate was on their side. Pipa was young and healthy, plus her fast-thinking folks sought veterinary attention at the first sign of trouble. Thanks to these factors, Pipa survived the serious surgery. Once stable, she was sent home with a large incision, an e-collar, and strict instructions to stay quiet and calm.
But, of course, Pipa had other plans.
“It was very hard,” Dayane said. “She was only 6 months old and very active. She hated the cone of shame and we ended up getting her an inflatable donut, which made her much more comfortable.”
Pipa not only rebelled against the quiet and calm rule, but she also attempted to eat another rock on her very first night home. From then on, Dayane put her in a basket muzzle every time she went outside. Her post-op shenanigans landed Pipa back at the vet with an oozing incision, but she eventually healed up just fine.
The entire ordeal cost about $5,000. Luckily, Dayane had invested in pet insurance a few months prior to Pipa’s emergency.
“They covered 80% of the bill!” she told iHeartDogs. “It was a huge relief.”
Dayane knew she had to commemorate the occasion somehow. A friend suggested turning the rock into a necklace, but she feared that would be too difficult and expensive. Instead, she opted for a glass trophy case with custom engraved plaques. It serves as a reminder to cherish every day with their beloved Pipa.
“We can’t wait to make more memories with her,” Dayane said. “Hopefully some that don’t involve surgeries!”
Pipa’s story is cute and funny, but only because everything turned out alright. Intestinal obstructions can be deadly. Learn more about the signs and symptoms as well as how to prevent them here.