Letters to the Editor

A dog, a ball and a brush with death: How a SLO County vet saved this good boy

Tux the border collie survived a playdate with a red handball, thanks to quick action by his human and a skilled veterinarian.
Tux the border collie survived a playdate with a red handball, thanks to quick action by his human and a skilled veterinarian.

Taking my border collie Tux to the park is a daily ritual. He reminds me each day about 2 o’clock that it is time to go to the “parkie.”

This particular day will always stand out in my memory bank as one that was saved from being a total disaster by one talented lady ... Marissa.

Tux and I had been playing. I hit the ball with a handball racket and he catches it in the air. The same routine we had preformed thousands of times. I hit a high ball to him and turned to walk to my car. Finding it strange he did not pass me and jump onto the front seat, I turned to look for him.

He was standing with his head down and coughing. Yes, he had the ball caught in his throat. I ran to him and saliva was pouring from his mouth. I put my hand down his throat and could feel the ball but could not pull it out. I felt he could not last long under these circumstances.

My vet was on the other side of town. Then I remembered seeing an animal hospital behind McDonald’s in Arroyo Grande. I carried Tux and we broke every traffic law going through the Village.

We ran into the office and I yelled, “EMERGENCY MY DOG HAS A BALL STUCK IN HIS THROAT.”

The staff went into action and Tux was taken in to see the vet, Marissa Greenberg. They had to put Tux under to get the ball out. It took about a hour. When he came out he was walking but a bit unstable. This is when I met Marissa.

She explained using a handball with a dog is a no-no. It is too small and becomes very slippery.

I thanked her and gave her a most sincere handshake. I can only say without out the outstanding service of Marissa and the staff at VCA South County Animal Hospital, my best buddy would not be with me today.

As I was about to leave, Marissa asked if she could keep the red ball to put on her desk. I told her I never wanted to see that ball again.

Daivd B. Williams and Tux live in Arroyo Grande. Tux no longer plays with handballs.

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