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Canine-ingestion crisis unfolds

Pooches scarfing down very valuable items

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I'm afraid this is only the tip of an extremely disgusting iceberg.

I am referring here to the latest example of a disturbing global trend wherein badly behaved dogs are eating valuable items, forcing their owners to recover them via methods that put their personal hygiene at serious risk.

As a crusading journalist, I have been vaguely aware of this trend for years, but I began perspiring heavily and wringing my hands on Thursday when I spotted an alarming story about a Wisconsin woman named Lois Matykowski and her dog, Tucker.

It seems Matykowski was sitting outside recently eating Popsicles with her granddaughter when, suddenly and without warning, she realized the child's frozen treat had mysteriously vanished.

Which is when she noticed Tucker, a 10-year-old mutt the family has dubbed the "food burglar," was sitting there smacking his lips. As you have already deduced, the dog ate the Popsicle, stick and all.

Which isn't all that exciting, except two days later, Tucker puked on Matykowski's living-room carpet, because Rule No. 1 in the Dog Handbook states: "Never throw up outside if there's a perfectly good carpet in the living room."

When she went to clean up the mess, Matykowski found a sparkly surprise -- the diamond wedding ring she'd lost five years before and had given up hope of ever finding.

"I look in the paper towel and here is my wedding ring," she chirped to reporters. "I kid you not. My wedding ring was in Tucker's puke."

Let's recap: The dog had eaten the diamond ring five years ago and it sat there in his belly, like a safety deposit box, until it was apparently dislodged by the (bad word) Popsicle stick.

"Friends have said 'I want a dog that throws up diamonds,' " Matykowski boasted. "Who wouldn't, right? He threw up on my carpeting and I don't even care."

I know what you are thinking. You are thinking I am making too big a deal out of one misguided canine criminal. Well, let me just say -- and I mean this in the best possible way -- you are an idiot.

It has become obvious Wisconsin is a hotbed of horrific canine behaviour. Consider an Associated Press story about Pepper, a Lab-shepherd cross in Wisconsin who made headlines around the world after he got into his owner's purse and gobbled $750.

If you are currently eating breakfast, you will want to take a break when I tell you Pepper's family -- and thankfully they wore rubber gloves to do this -- was able to recover and wash off $647 their pet kindly "deposited" in the backyard, if you catch our subtle gastrointestinal drift.

As I said earlier, this situation is like an icky iceberg, where only a little bit sticks up in the air, but when you flip it over, you discover a bunch of bad dogs eating their owners' socks and underpants.

I base that observation on a recent list compiled by claims adjusters for the firm Veterinary Pet Insurance that shows the most common items surgically removed from pets' gastrointestinal tracts include socks, underwear, pantyhose, rocks and balls.

And while you are chewing on that, a pet-supply website,, recently published a list of "16 of the weirdest things dogs have ever eaten" that included a rubber duck, a soccer ball, a fish (with the hook included), a 15-inch knife, nine golf balls and a bullet, and a mobile phone.

My favourite item on the list, which included copies of the X-rays as evidence, featured a hungry Dalmatian named Dixie that needed surgery after snorking down one of those chocolate-covered plastic eggs, inside of which was a figurine of Homer Simpson.

But the most glaring example of this disturbing trend involved a local dog, "Billy the Beagle," who was the grand-prize winner of our My Dog is Worse Than Your Dog contest in 2012.

I staged this contest when, after writing about how my wiener dog ate our living-room carpet, I was flooded with calls and emails from irate readers who felt their dogs were much worse.

This was especially true of Billy, who knocked over his owner's Christmas tree and scoffed down an ornament decorated with hundreds of miniature marshmallows and sequins, all of which were attached with pointy straight pins.

The vet took an X-ray, which showed Billy's belly contained 103 straight pins, which did not prevent him a month later from feasting on 14 paraffin lights, then breaking into his owner's liquor cabinet and -- I swear this is true -- licking up enough hooch to give him a hangover.

On the upside, I have decided NOT to share the grisly details of what happened when my beloved basset hound Cooper ate something that had to slowly work its way through his digestive system like a small jungle creature passing through a mature python.

Because if I did, you'd never eat corn on the cob again.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 4, 2014 A2

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