The $2,000 Tampons – A Disgusting Story About My Stupid Pug

Forgive me, readers, for I have sinned. It has been over a month since my last annoying blog confession. And feminine products are to blame.

In my life, there has been a clear and obvious trend that I no longer try to avoid. It’s called, “The universal law of everything all at once.” What this means is, if the universe has something on my plate, it’s a buffet-style helping and I’m about to do some heavy throwing up.

This has been illustrated quite clearly in my most recent Pug debacle.

A few weeks ago, my mother-in-law got us tickets to come and visit her and my father-in-law in Las Vegas. Don’t get too excited. We lived in Vegas for about 6 years, so I have already learned my lessons about loose slots and the dangers of dancing girls. No, the plan was to go and have a relaxing time hanging out with family and maybe seeing a show downtown that did not involve exposed breasts.

Yes. I said breasts. Let’s all try to focus, shall we?

Anyway, there was a lot about this scenario that was already a little stressful. Kyle is mortally terrified of flying and is pretty sure that God is out to get him. My daughter is one of the loudest singers on the planet, especially in confined spaces. Our dog, Turk, is a horrible, awful, disgusting monster that will eat anything in front of him. In fact, right before he left, he got into my trash can and ate an entire tampon or two.

Yes. I said tampon. Are we going to have to stop every time I say something weird? If so, it’s gonna take you a LONG time to read this story.

Okay, so here’s the scene: Abigail, Kyle and I make it to Vegas with minimal screaming, crying and cursing. We hang out in Vegas and I dink around on the computer at my leisure while my mother-in-law feeds my daughter full of cookies and taquitos. Kyle and I see a show that is rated PG-13, and we’re all feeling pretty good about our vacation.

Then we get a call from the lady who is watching our dog, Turk. About 1000 miles away.

“Ummm…yeah. Your dog hasn’t eaten anything for 3 days. I’m a little worried about him.”


My dog is a PUG. Pugs eat EVERYTHING. As I have previously stated, they eat everything regardless of whether or not it is food. They eat anything that smells like it might have possibly ever been in the same room as food. Turk specifically has eaten all of these things:

  • A found burrito
  • Candy w/plastic wrapper
  • An entire bag of cookies
  • Countless stuffed animal innards
  • A lion’s mane

…in addition, of course, to his most recent, disgusting acquisition of a…

“Oh my gosh,” I said. “I know what’s wrong.”

The girl on the line sounded relieved. “Great. What is it? I totally thought I was just freaking out for no reason.”

But, by that time, I was totally freaking out for a pretty good reason. My dog, Turk, my stupid, disgusting dog that would eat anything, had just eaten his way to a possibly early grave.


Of course, I was 1000 miles away. I couldn’t do anything. I love my doggy. Kyle and I had gotten him long ago, when a handful of doctors had told us we might not have kids. By the time we got pregnant with my daughter (and gave up trusting doctors FOREVER), I had already invested too much maternal love and instinct to treat him like a dog. He sleeps with us, he eats three meals a day (hope the vet’s not reading this) and will even sing with us if we make him.

Now, I realized that the hairy Baritone of our Becker family quartet was possibly in life-threatening danger. And I couldn’t do anything.

I called a friend and asked her to pick up Turk and bring him to the vet. When the vet took a look at him, they said he was dehydrated and refusing to eat. He was uncomfortable sleeping. They said that he would probably need to have surgery to remove the “material” (euphemism for “disgusting tampons”) in his stomach.

I bawled. We didn’t have the money for a dog surgery, and yet I couldn’t let the dog die because I happen to be a mammal! I had some money saved, money that I was planning on paying our taxes with at the end of the year. I told them to wait until we got there and we would figure out what to do.

Two days later, we were back in Portland, at the side of our rapidly deteriorating family member. The doctors said that the surgery needed to be done now, as the material in his stomach was fully expanded and not allowing any food through. In addition, it had started to move into his intestines, which might lead to further complications. Despite Kyle’s warnings that we didn’t have the funds to do it, I told them to go ahead. His surgery was scheduled for the following day, the day before Halloween.

In my church, sometimes we fast for things that we really want. It means that we don’t eat food or drink water on purpose for about 24 hours to show God that we’re REALLY SERIOUS about something. Lots of people fudge the numbers (including me), but this time I didn’t. Every time I thought about how hungry I was, I thought about what it would be like without Turk. Sure, he’s just a dog to you. To me, he is 25% of my tiny nuclear family unit. He’s as human as you can get without having opposable thumbs.

I ended my fast just as the doctors said his surgery would be completed. As I was eating my McNuggets and beautifully-cold root beer, I got a call.

“There’s been some problems with the surgery,” the vet assistant said.

My food went sour in my mouth. “What happened?”

“When the doctor went in, the two tampons had twisted around each other. One side was stuck in his stomach, while the other one was pulled down into his large intestine. It’s kind of like having a plug in your bathtub with an anchor underneath.”

“Okay…so…what does that mean?”

She sighs and speaks with trepedation. “It means that the large intestine twisted around the string, causing multiple perforations in the intestine. The only way to save him was to remove a large section, about a foot long.”

I was stunned. What I thought was going to be an unfortunate, but necessary, surgery (that would consist of unzipping his stomach and zipping it back up again) had turned into a full-on Frankenstein-monster moment.

“Right now they are suturing his remaining intestines to his stomach. The problem is, we don’t know if there was enough undamaged intestine for the suture to heal correctly. He has about a 50/50 chance of recovery if he lives through the night.”

After days of crying and praying and fasting and hoping that things would turn out okay, this was devastating news. I thanked her and tried to hold it together for the rest of the day. Later, after checking in and finding that he would need overnight care at the pet ER, Abigail and I went to a Halloween party. It seems counterintuitive, but made so much sense. I needed an affirmation of life.

We went and danced. Abigail and I rocked and jumped around the little community center, playing in the strobes lights and dancing until we were red in the face and aching in the sides. So much pressure, so much stress, poured out of me. I scream-sang the lyrics to “We Are Young,” and “Time Warp,” not caring that everyone in the building could hear me. I didn’t mind that I was the only person over the age of 12 who did the “Chicken Dance,” flapping until my arm fat almost started a friction fire. I was just glad to be doing something I loved and forgetting all the things that might or might not happen in the morning.

The funny thing about that dance. I felt so alive. I felt more alive than I had in a long time. Being close to death does that to us. Whether it is a person or a pug, when you realize how close death always is, when you are faced with the honest fact that nothing, no matter how perfect it seems now, can last forever, we have two choices: We despair, or we dance.

Turk did survive. He has a gorgeous scar down his belly and I flinch every time he jumps on the couch. I am so afraid all of his guts are going to come pouring out. His walks have become harrowing and grotesque adventures. Each one is a wonderful game of, “Does that poop look normal?” And yet, he still survives to give me years of cockeyed looks and puggy bed-farts.

And I love him for it.

The cost? Well, if you don’t count the cost of the emotional trauma, the lost sleep and the work that I just couldn’t focus on, it boiled down to these numbers:

Surgery: $868

Medicine: $360

Overnight stays at the vet: $450

Overnight stay in the ER: $350

The grand total cost of the whole operation: $2,028

Having my pug eat something as disgusting as two tampons and live: Priceless

This experience has taught me the same thing all people learn when they look death in the face. I have gained the ability to appreciate all the small moments just a little better. Every ice-cold root beer, every McNugget, every dance is just a little better knowing that it can’t possibly last.

Someday, Turk will get too old to jump on the couch. He will lose interest in sexually accosting his stuffed lion in front of our church friends. Someday, Turk will die. As will I, as will you.

Still, I’m not sad that youth, and health, and beauty can’t last forever. Each of us has a tenuous grip on life as it is. The only moment that we ever really get is the one we are living right now.

But, for right now, it’ll do.


You Have Time for Just One More:

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13 responses to “The $2,000 Tampons – A Disgusting Story About My Stupid Pug”

  1. Our dog just died from eating 5 tampons. The vet could not see by barium xray where the material was, and they didn’t want to do surgery blind. If I had to do it over again, and know what I know now, I would have just had them do the surgery on the stomach as soon as we took her in, before it had a chance to reach the intestines. By the time that happened, she already had an infection and internal bleeding. There was nothing they could do.
    If we had done the surgery immediately, she would still be with us.

    • I’m so sorry to hear this. We were really blessed that Turk only had one, but it’s such a hard thing to hear that you lost your little friend. I offer my sincere condolences.

  2. Amazing story! I was looking on google and found this blog. So happy he’s ok.
    Today the same thing happened to my dog but it was 8-10 tampons D: (unused) total cost $6050
    It was ridiculous.
    Consultation $250
    Overnight stay with fluids $1000
    2nd X-ray $300
    Surgery $4000
    Medication $200

  3. I hope your little friend is still giving you endless enjoymend and love. I have been frantically souring the interent searching “dog ate used tampon” “small dog ate used tampon” and “how long does it take for a dog to pass a foreign object” for the last 20 hours. It started at 2am yesterday morning when the miniature sausage dog I was dog sitting ran in to the bathroom and took 2 used tampons from the bin and ate them whilst I was taking a shower. I couldnt believe when I found him with a shred of bloody toilet tissue at his feet. Instant fear, disgust and shock ran through me. It was 2am on Good Friday morning…. What the hell was I going to do. What the hell is going to happen to this dog. Thank god for google. I read through a few stories that were very smiliar to mine and decieded that I would take the wait and watch approach. So after getting to bed around 3am and having a few hours sleep I was being woken by 5 year old daughter at 6.30am. She was ready to go for the day. The dog had pooped in the lounge room at some stage but I knew at this early stage that it was probably no indication of whether the “foreign objects” had caused any problems or not. The three of us spent the entire day in the back yard and Im sure my daughter wondered why I was making her keep a watch out for the dog taking a poop. Somewhere between midday and 2pm he did some more business. No sign of my foreign objects…. By this stage I was beginning to worry that maybe I should have just called the vet. More online googling for any information I could find about dogs (in particular small ones) having ingested used tampons. It seemed like it happened quite frequently and surely any vet I called had probably seen this situation before…. But I decided that as most of the stories seemed to have happy vet and surgery interventin free outcomes id wait. It was a public holiday and I didnt think the embarrassement was warranted just yet. The dog and the daughter continued playing in the back yard, he seemed happy and energetic and just like his usual self. I went inside for a while, only to come back out at about 4pm to find kitty litter and kitty poop strewn at the back door. When I asked my daughter about it she informed me that the dog had been playing with it. Took a few more steps and there was a little blob of doggie throw up. Didnt look like small white foreign objects though. I thought about it and decided that this could mean that the tampons were still in his stomach and he was tryign to get them out. “what do I do what do I do”? Again I opted to wait. The afternoon went on and by looking at him you would never tell what he’d done in the weee hours of the morning. So I sent my daughter off to the family dinner with her Aunty and I chose to use the quiet time to get some study done, and I needed to keep and eye on this dog. It was dark now but I wanted to know if anything else had passed. Flash light out and into the backyard I went searching for evidence. NOTHING. The hours went by and at 10:30 my sister dropped my little girl back home, she was already asleep and I decided I was heading to bed too. Do I let this dog in and risk diarrhoea and vomit on the floor overnight? “Oh come on you heartless thing, you could possibly have signed his death certificate by not taking him to the vet over this whole debaccle. Let him in to keep a closer eye on him” SO I let him around 11pm. He wandered around, snooping and sniffing as it seems sausages dogs do. I wandered around gathering up and tidying up before bed. Grabbed his little bed and put it in my room. He lay down for a while but within half an hour he was up and had trotted out into the hallway. I heard a noise that sound remarkably like someone or soemthing throwing up and immediataley hoped for the best. I tell you now, I have NEVER. Never, never, never, never, NEVER, been so happy to see dog vomit on the carpet of the hallway at midnight ever in my life and I hope I never have to be so happy to see dog vomit ever again.

  4. That was both a hilarious and touching story. Let’s don’t discount the possibility that all the good vibrations you sent out into the universe via that Chicken Dance were what saved the dog. (Did you do the Chicken Dance to “We Are Young”? I’m trying to picture if that could work. It probably could. If you slowed it down, I suppose. Now I’m picturing hundreds of people in a stadium all chicken-dancing in slow mo to “We Are Young.” It is BEAUTIFUL.)

    Glad your dog is okay.

    • LOL!! Thanks for making me laugh, Briane. There was a lot of universal support, perhaps the Chicken Dance pushed us over the edge. As for doing it to “We Are Young,” I’m pretty sure that they actually do that on a Season 1 Episode of New Girl.

      I have now just blown your mind. You’re welcome.

  5. Amazing what antics we can pull ourselves through! Turk is one lucky dog to have so much love lavished on him. Doubtful he learned his lesson, though. Suppose the bathroom trash is under lock and key, now. Well, in these situations I always remember what “Pa” always said, “All’s well that ends well”. That’s my girl! (nut doesn’t fall too far from the tree)


  6. wow, poor Turk. And poor you! Glad he pulled through. I wish I had lots of money to bequeath on you… but sadly I do not. I like the line, “We despair, or we dance.” That is good. When you are loosing your sh*t you can do it in a happy crazy way, or you can do it a bad crazy way… your choice.

    • I hope so, too. Although I’ve already seen him snag some ground food and cat turds while his stitches were still healing. Hopefully he doesn’t get Ebola of the intestines or something equally freaky. I’ll bet $10 he lives to be a million because they secretly replaced all his guts with computer parts.

    • Thanks! I’m glad he has made it. He won’t jump on the bed though. He just whines until I pick him up and gently place him on a golden pillow. I think he’s starting to like his VIP treatment a leeettle too much…

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