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Okanagan Humane Society helps puppy on verge of death after swallowing toy

OHS estimates the total bill for Doja’s care to be in excess of $5,000
Doja was underweight because of the blockage. (OHS)

~ By: Okanagan Human Society

Puppy suffering with toy lodged in her intestine

Doja came to Okanagan Humane Society (OHS) literally skin and bones. She had not eaten for several weeks and was unable to keep any food down.

This 10-month-old Sharpei pup was fighting for her life. One of OHS veterinary partners took on this mystery of trying to find out why Doja cannot eat and had become severely emaciated. They suspected a blockage.

“We are so fortunate to work with many veterinary partners in the Okanagan Valley for our OHS animals” states Romany Runnalls, Volunteer President, Board of Directors, OHS.

“They suspected a blockage but after a series of X-rays, they were unable to detect any foreign bodies which unfortunately often don’t show up. Waiting for the foreign body to pass can be risky but they waited and put Doja on IV fluids and soft, easily digested food,” explained Runnalls.

Doja was not improving and getting weaker by the day. The veterinarian knew they would need to perform emergency surgery to see what was happening inside Doja’s digestive tract.

This surgery can be dangerous for an animal in a weakened state like Doja, particularly to be under an anesthetic for such a long period of time.

“Doja is a fighter, and her vitals were good so we decided we would do the surgery to find out why she was slowly dying,” said Runnalls.

During surgery to everyone’s horror, they found a small toy wheel lodged in her intestines. The veterinarian carefully removed the toy to ensure there was no damage to the tissue creating further issues with digestion.

“Unfortunately, this happens more than we know,” said Runnalls. “Soft toys, nerf gun bullets, socks, tissues, sticks and recently silicon reusable straws have been the culprits.”

Doja lost almost 15 pounds from her small puppy frame before the surgery. On a very soft mushy diet to start, her meals were carefully measured and given as small more frequent feedings during her healing process. Her activity as a puppy had to be severely restricted.

To date, the bill to OHS is over $3,000 but there is still more to do for Doja.

Currently, she is recovering with an expert foster and slowly improving. However, she has a long way to go to stabilize and fully recover.

Once Doja is stable and at a healthy weight she still needs to be spayed, vaccinated, dewormed, and receive her microchip.

OHS estimates the total bill for Doja’s care to be in excess of $5,000 and is asking for your help.

OHS is a local charity that has been helping animals for more than 27 years in the Okanagan Valley. Last year, it had a record-breaking year, serving more than 1500 local animals. Since its inception, it has been able to spay and neuter more than 25,000 local animals.

“We are local people helping local animals and do not receive any government funding provincially or municipally to help with our mission work,” said Runnalls. “We are reliant on our animal-loving community to support the rescues, emergency surgeries, low-cost spay and neuter, compassionate boarding of animals and more to continue this life-saving work.”

You can help cover the costs of Doja by donating today at

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