The young cocker spaniel mix narrowly escapes death after ingesting the family heirloom

By Amy Jamieson
Updated March 03, 2011 12:45 PM

When Karen Woolley’s beloved diamond ring went missing after an evening bath on Feb. 17, she and her husband brought out a metal detector to see if they’d have any luck finding it around the house.

But the ring – which once belonged to Woolley’s 103-year-old grandmother and is believed to be over 100 years old – was nowhere to be found. That’s when her husband had a bright idea: “ ‘Why don’t we scan the dog, just in case he swallowed it,’” recalls Woolley, who lives in Thrumpton, England.

Good thing they did. “We scanned the dog and the metal detector started to beep,” Woolley remembers. Turns out their 4-month-old cocker spaniel mix, Barney, ingested the diamond stunner and it was quickly making its way to his intestines, something they discovered this after scanning him again 15 minutes later. “The beep had moved from his chest down to his tummy,” Woolley says.

Told by the vet that if the object traveled into the dog’s intestines, it would surely kill him, the Woolleys quickly shuttled Barney to the vet. He was x-rayed (above) and operated on in the knick of time.

“They said that the ring basically would have ripped his intestines open and he would have bled to death,” says Woolley. “Our quick thinking and the vet’s quick reaction saved his life.”

Now recovering at home, where Woolley runs a bed and breakfast, Barney is back to his energetic self. “He’s almost like a coiled spring at the moment, so full of life,” she says. “All he wants to do is go out and play and have his walks.”

As for the ring, it’s staying put for a while. “It doesn’t come off my hand now,” Woolley laughs. “If I take it off for a bath, I make sure I put it in a box.”