Benno, a 4-year-old Belgian Malinois from Mountain Home, Ark., has previously eaten socks, glass, marbles, coins and many other objects. Nevertheless, his dog dad, Larry “Sonny” Brassfield, wasn’t concerned about leaving a bag of .308 caliber bullets within Benno’s reach last month.
He should have been. Benno got into the bag April 21, chomping and swallowing 23 of the live rifle rounds.
“You can baby proof a house, but I don’t think it’s possible to Benno proof a house,” Brassfield told the Baxter Bulletin yesterday. “Lord knows, we’ve tried and failed.” (Frankly, leaving a bag of bullets in Benno’s reach doesn’t seem like they’re trying very hard.)
The morning after he ate the bullets, Benno started vomiting. Brassfield’s wife told him she saw a few rounds in the vomit. Instead of checking the bag to see how many rounds were missing, Brassfield waited to see if Benno vomited more rounds.
“I just decided to watch him for a bit,” Brassfield told the Baxter Bulletin. “He ate like he normally does, no problem. Then about 15 to 20 minutes later, he threw up again, and three more rounds came out. At that point, I knew I had to take him to the vet.”
Dr. Sarah Sexton at All Creatures Animal Hospital took X-rays, which revealed that Benno had eaten at least 17 rounds.
“This is something they certainly did not cover in school,” Dr. Sexton told the Baxter Bulletin. “I’ve had dogs eat things before, mostly stuffed toys. Once I had one swallow a hearing aid, but I think this takes the cake.”
Fortunately the ammo was made of brass and copper, which are not as toxic for dogs as the lead and zinc found in some bullets.
During surgery that lasted for two hours, Dr. Sexton removed 16 live rounds and one shell from Benno’s stomach. There were also two rounds in his esophagus, which she did not remove.
“Since the ammo is not toxic, I decided not to go back in,” Dr. Sexton told the Baxter Bulletin. “I decided we’d give it a week to see if he would vomit them up or pass them.” Benno did later pass the two, pooping out the last bullet eight full days after he ate it.
Brassfield said there was a lot of joking during the surgery: “He could have gone up in smoke, could have gone out with a bang.”
Brassfield promised he will never again leave live ammo where Benno can get into it. However…
“Really, you’re never going to stop him,” he told the Baxter Bulletin. “It’s just a question of what he’s going to eat next.”
Good luck, Benno. You’re going to need it.
Photos via Facebook