Meet Hugo, the hungry hound who is lucky to be alive after he managed to swallow an eight-inch kebab skewer that punctured his stomach and abdomen.
The three-year-old Siberian husky’s owner, Tracy Bowes, from Yeadon in Leeds, was initially left mystified when her pet went off his food and stopped behaving like his usual cheeky self.
And when she took Hugo – who also had a strange swelling on his back – into White Cross Vets in Guiseley for a check-up, an X-ray didn’t reveal anything seriously wrong.
Rod Beardshall, a veterinary surgeon at White Cross, prescribed antibiotics but for the next four weeks the much-loved dog remained subdued with very little appetite.
Then, while taking Hugo for a follow-up vet’s appointment, Tracy noticed something “small and sharp” sticking out of his belly.
Rod operated later that day and found the problems were being caused by a wooden skewer, which Hugo is thought to have sneakily wolfed down while Tracy was preparing a meal of barbecue chicken kebabs.
The skewer had been in his digestive system for several weeks but was still in one piece, with its handle lying in his stomach and its long, sharp section protruding from his abdomen.
Happily, he is now back to his best and has just been named White Cross’s pet of the month for being such a brave patient.
Rod told the Yorkshire Evening Post: “In almost 30 years as a vet I have never come across a case like this one.
“As the skewer was made of wood it did not show up on the X-ray, but had introduced infection when it penetrated the stomach wall.
“He was very lucky not to develop a fatal peritonitis as it was a further four weeks before the cause of the problem was clear and the skewer was removed.”
Tracy, who has two grown-up children, admitted she “could not believe” what she was hearing when Rod told her what he had removed.
“We then realised when working back through the timeline, from when Hugo first became unwell, what had happened,” she said.
“It was eight weeks since we had eaten barbecue chicken kebabs and Hugo had obviously stolen one covered in raw chicken before we cooked the rest, swallowing it whole. It doesn’t bear thinking about really.
“We just can’t thank Rod and the team at White Cross Vets enough – they saved Hugo’s life.”