It was bound to happen. I should have known it was only a matter of time. But I've felt that we were a bit invincible and it couldn't possibly happen to us. I was wrong and it almost cost Rudi her life. What could I possibly be talking about? Well, let me tell you...It all started with our pear tree. For several reasons we won't be able to enjoy them this year so I've been letting the dogs eat them as they find them on the ground. They are really small this year, a little smaller than a tennis ball and the skins are very rough. But each morning a couple of the dogs go to the tree and find the pears that have fallen off. This morning was no different. When we were done with our walk I saw that Rudi had found another one and was carrying it around in her mouth. I never let the dogs bring the pears inside but today I went ahead and let Rudi bring it in with her to eat. Sheba and Josh immediately noticed that she had one and were quick to try and get their share of it. Rudi was prancing around making all her noises and was doing what I can only describe as showing off that she had something that the others wanted and something that she knew wasn't allowed inside.
I don't know how it happened all I know is that I heard this noise in the living room and saw that Rudi was struggling to breathe and I immediately knew that she had swallowed the pear! I don't know how many times I grabbed her to try and help her, but she kept getting away from me. I couldn't really see the whole pear when I opened her mouth but I could see enough of it to know that it was beyond reach of just grabbing it and pulling it out. Another problem was that she kept locking her teeth as she kept trying to swallow it. I can't begin to tell you the panic I was feeling. In my head I did the quick math and knew that with the morning traffic it could take me at least 25 minutes to get to the vet. I could see that her gums were already starting to turn pale and I felt that she probably wouldn't make it if I made the trip. I knew that I had to find a way to remove the pear.
I do know how to do the Heimlich maneuver on a person and I know that can be done on a dog, but I don't know exactly how to do it. So I straddled Rudi and put my hand on the outside of her neck. I could feel the pear and so I tried to work it back up her throat. I felt it move and come back up part way, but at that moment Rudi forced herself away from me. I grabbed her again and got her down onto the floor; I think I was practically laying on top of her to keep her from getting away from me. Her teeth were clamped shut and I wished that Carl had been there to open her mouth. I don't know if I have ever felt so panicked, scared and as alone and in such despair as I did at that moment. I pleaded with God to please help me to know what to do, to please not let my precious Rudi die because of something I had so foolishly thought would never happen. I remember the dogs standing there watching and I recall saying something to them about how afraid I was, that I didn't know what to do because Rudi wasn't letting me try to get the pear out.
No sooner had I said all of that than all those feelings were gone and there a sense of calm that came over me and Rudi became very quiet and still. Laying on the floor I again tried to push the pear back up her throat. SLOWLY but surely it rose up her throat. Rudi let me open her mouth, so with that hand I held it open and with the other I held the pear and I was able to grab it and remove it from her throat!! We both laid there on the floor for several minutes as I cried and said prayers of thanks--Rudi also laid there quietly, panting and trying to swallow. When I stood up the dogs came to me and gave me what I felt like was a "congratulations" because they all started barking, and some of them were licking Rudi's face--It felt like a real celebration! Actually come to think of it, it was.
There was blood on the pear and I worried that something in Rudi's throat could be torn so I took her to the vet. It took me 30 minutes to get there. The vet checked Rudi out and feels that she is okay, but she's been given some antibiotics just in case. He told me that I'd saved Rudi's life. He also told me that this happens most frequently with tennis balls. Most people he said take them to try and get help and the dog sometimes dies on the way. I am very humbled and thankful beyond what any words can say that today that didn't happen.