A greedy dog shocked his owner after swallowing 16 golf balls without him even realising.
David Warren, 70, first noticed his beloved boxer Ben was feeling rough when he lost his appetite and started losing weight.
The grandfather-of-six took Ben to the vets, where an endoscopy revealed a cluster of 4cm golf balls sitting in his stomach.
David said: "One day he’d been sick and there was a golf ball in it but I never thought for a minute it was because he’d eaten it.
"I just thought it was there because we live next to a golf course and he’d been playing with the ball.
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"I was horrified when the vets told me about the blockage in his stomach.
"They said it was golf balls and I thought he must have swallowed one or two but they said 'No, he’s swallowed 16'.
"I couldn’t believe it. I’m not a golfer so these were stray balls from the driving range that he’d found and eaten, which shows how good the local golfers are."
Two-year-old Ben was rushed into emergency surgery and David praised the "brilliant" vets at Northwest Veterinary Specialists for their high quality care.
Thankfully, a two-hour operation saved the pooch and Ben is now back to his normal self.
David said: "They really made me chuckle when they offered me the bag of balls to take home after the operation.
"I can see the funny side of it all now but at the time it was a very serious situation and no laughing matter."
David, a widower, is now teaching his mischievous pet to chase after sticks and balls he can’t swallow.
He added: "I have tried to encourage him to play with tennis balls instead, the ones you attach and throw from a stick for the dog to chase - but Ben chewed the stick to pieces. That’s him to a tee.
"I’m going to have to buy some footballs for him to play with now, as he can’t possibly swallow something that size, can he?"
Dylan Payne, surgeon at Northwest, said: "We performed an endoscopy of the stomach which revealed a large blockage due to golf balls – lots of golf balls.
"Ben’s stomach was very full so we needed to carry out an urgent surgery to open the stomach to allow us to remove the balls.
"It’s fairly routine, low risk surgery but the removal of so many golf balls is unique. Sixteen is a lot, even for a Boxer.
"The operation was a complete success and Ben is back at home doing very well and gaining weight."
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