The Dark and Devastating Side to the Humble Cocktail Stick

Normally I’m not one to major on risk and I’m quite happy to accept that accidents happen. that’s part of life especially for us blind people!However, something happened recently which made me want to write it down and hopefully make people aware of a potential hazard and perhaps avoid it happening to them.

At the end of July, my husband and I travelled up to Manchester to celebrate the engagement of two fantastic people. During the afternoon we helped to prepare food including putting sausages and cheese and onion on cocktail sticks. Little did we know that one of those cocktail sticks which cause such devastation and heartbreak. The party was such fun, full of laughter, and good times with friends and their families. We left the following day with the promise that we would return in two weeks’ time as we had originally planned before they announced their engagement.

As well as my guide dog, there were two others at the party. Because we were at a private house they had freedom to run around the garden which they did, playing with the children and just having a good relaxed doggy time.

The following weekend, we spoke to our friends and learnt that , Jody, the black Labrador/Retriever guide dog had been very sick. We empathised with them, particularly about the difficulties of finding and cleaning dog vomit when you can’t see it. Because these Labrador type dogs are prone to picking things up which can disagree with them, no one was particularly worried. Jody would have no food for 24 hours and then be given a light meal and gradually build up to her normal feeding routine again over subsequent days. She wasn’t particularly well over the following week but everyone assumed she’d just picked up a bug and would be fine.

We went back up to Manchester the following weekend and when we arrived Jody seemed quite perky, a little thin after a week of not eating much but willing to work and very keen to eat. However, a couple of hours after her dinner Jody suddenly went down hill very fast. She didn’t seem to be very steady on her feet and she looked as though she was going to be sick. She wasn’t sick but became very lethargic over the evening. She was no better in the morning so she was taken to a veterinary hospital where she was kept in for observation and investigation. That afternoon she had a scan where a lump showed up in her abdomen, close to her liver. She was operated on a few days later and what had appeared to be a lump on the scan was actually an abscess that had formed around a cocktail stick that had perforated part of the gut. A section of gut was removed, along with a piece of her liver and of course the offending foreign body.

Jody started to improve but then showed signs of a secondary infection. Because of this her protein levels in particular were very low and she failed to get better. She was transferred to a different veterinary hospital and she was operated on for a second time.

Sadly for little Jody, the infection and surgical intervention proved to be too traumatic and early on the morning of the 20th of August, she had a cardiac arrest and died.

Jody was a very special little dog, full of fun and mischief and a great worker too. she will be hugely missed by her owner and also there will now be the upheaval of having to train with a new dog for my friend.

I personally will never buy cocktail sticks again. I would never have dreamt that just one tiny stick could kill such a fine animal and cause so much upset. I would even go as far as to say that, if you have a dog who is apt to pick things up, as most do, think carefully before you use them. This terrible thing could have happened to any dog and I am left feeling so sad for Jody and so lucky that it wasn’t my dog as it so could have been.

RiP Jody. Be free and be happy!

No one could have predicted this tragedy but I hope by writing about it i might help to prevent it from ever happening again.

About Mel Griffiths

I live and work in Nottingham, England and am blind. This blog is often centred around things that happen to me because of being blind. This is my space to write and sometimes people will disagree with what I write, but its the one place I have in which to be frank and honest. I also like to reflect on the funnier side of life from time to time.
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2 Responses to The Dark and Devastating Side to the Humble Cocktail Stick

  1. Torie says:

    Oh no :(. How sad. How did she get it? How come it didn’t it come up when she was sick? My heart goes out to her owner. xxx


  2. infojoinus says:

    That’s so sad. I’ve known several dogs that have died as a result of eating something dangerous. Even sadder when it’s a guide dog. I’m raising a guide dog puppy and I’ve tried to teach him to ignore things that might be tempting to him, but a cocktail stick that smells like hot dogs would be hard to resist for any dog. I hope your friend gets a new guide dog because this was nobody’s fault, it was just a dog being a dog.

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