January 20, 2012 02:00 PM

No one is sure how it got there, but the proof is in the X-ray: 9-year-old Labrador retriever, Vincent, swallowed a 7-in. tablespoon that definitely could have killed him.

“We changed his [breed] to a utensil retriever,” Dr. W. Chase Coale III of Greater Annapolis Veterinary Hospital told the AP, after removing the flatware from the dog’s stomach. “It’s amazing he’s alive.”

The $2,500 procedure was complicated by the fact that Vincent’s spleen and intestines got in the way, but in the end, the pooch was able to go home the next day to his mother, Laurie Neomany of Annapolis, Md., who is not the least bit surprised about what Vincent was packing.

“He’s been a trash hound from the start,” said Neomany. “I suspect [the spoon] had food on it and he must have been in a hurry and swallowed it down fast.”

A plastic bag and a rose bush have also seen the inside of Vincent’s belly, the report said. Thankfully, surgery wasn’t necessary to retrieve either.

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