Curious young pooch swallows owner’s fountain stones

By Helin Jung
Updated May 17, 2010 08:11 PM

Vivian Cooper went out last week to go to a tea party with her daughter and grandchildren, and left her husband in charge of the three dogs. Two hours later, Cooper came home and found Mia, her 2-year-old German shepherd-greyhound mix, sunning in the back yard.

Mia doesn’t usually get to hang out in the yard unsupervised – she’s tall, and could potentially jump the fence into a neighbor’s yard, but she seemed fine. That is, until later that night, when Cooper tossed a ball down the hallway for Mia to fetch and heard a noisy rattle.

“The sound was really quite loud, like she had marbles in her pocket,” Cooper tells “I leaned down and put my head near her ribcage and shook her. Inside it went, clunk-clunk-clunk-clunk-clunk.”

The next day, Cooper took Mia to the Willakenzie Animal Clinic in Eugene, Ore., where X-rays revealed 10 rocks in the dog’s stomach! She had swallowed the stones from inside the backyard water fountain.

“We’re not talking small rocks – the biggest one is the size of a chicken egg,” Cooper says of the stones her husband had collected and polished for her.

Even with the weight in her belly, Mia was acting normally, eating and drinking as she would have any other day. “Just a wiggly, happy dog!” says vet tech Sue Griffith. Because the rocks were smooth, they didn’t hurt the lining of her stomach, and because they were so large, they didn’t make her sick.

“She’s what I would call an overachiever when it comes to swallowing rocks,” says the vet, Dr. Jon Duncan. “The smaller ones actually do pass into the gastro-intestinal tract more easily, and those dogs come in quite ill. I guess swallowing big ones does have some advantages!”

Duncan made an incision in Mia’s stomach and removed the stones one at a time. Now she’s recovered fully, having had her first solid meal on Friday. And she’s going back to being supervised while she’s out in the yard – where all the rocks have since been removed from the fountain.

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