A heartbroken dog owner had to say a devastating farewell to her beloved pet this week after his pursuit of a ball at the dog park took a tragic turn.
Bowie, the border collie cross bull arab, was chasing down a small ball at the off-leash dog park in Narraweena, in northern Sydney, but his excitement over the item saw it make its way down his throat.
He was with his owner Bella Cook’s dad when the dramatic event unfolded on Wednesday, who rushed the animal to the vet immediately after realising the ball was blocking his airway
Ms Cook told Yahoo News Australia it was a tense race against time to save her dog, as the vet was a half-hour drive away and required urgent major surgery.
“He was in distress,” the 23-year-old said, with the small ball soon confirmed to have caused irreversible damage.
“My dad had to make the horrible decision to have him put down.
“He said watching him die will stay with him for the rest of his life. It was simply horrible.”
She was working throughout Bowie’s ordeal, so sadly was unable to say her final goodbye, but went to the vet the following day to see his body one last time.
“They bought him up for me with a blanket around him and the candle I got so I could hug and kiss him. He looked at peace,” she said.
Ms Cook has a rare chromosomal disorder called mosaic ring 22, which was one of many things she said Bowie had helped her with.
“I live with my dad. My dog helped me with losing weight and a break up with my boyfriend. I also have a cat which I love, but it's not the same as a dog,” she said.
She now wants to warn other dog owners against buying and using small balls like the one that killed her “best friend”.
“For the people that own the little balls, don't bring them to a dog park. Bigger ones are fine but small are just dangerous.
“And for the people who own dogs who chase balls, when you see a small one, either leave the park or ask the person to hold the ball until you’re ready to go.”
The ball swallowed by Bowie was an “ultra ball” by the brand Chuckit! in the size small. Its packaging states that it is for “small dogs only”.
Yahoo News Australia has contacted Chuckit! for comment.
Do you have a story tip? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.