PDSA helps curious canine Titch avoid a Christmas catastrophe

Titch, a four-month-old Staffordshire Bull-Terrier, pulled tinsel and an ornamental snowdrop from the Christmas tree. She began chewing on the sparkly ornament, swallowing pieces of plastic as well as bits of tinsel.

Not realising anything was missing from the tree, Titch’s owner, Selena (48), became worried that night when she noticed her dog wasn’t her usual self. However, she put it down to the puppy being overtired due to the excitement of the festive season.

Mother-of-six Selena, who is registered disabled, said: “It was a few days before Christmas, the tree had been decorated, and we were all looking forward to celebrating our first festive season with our new puppy - everyone was in good spirits, including Titch. But as the day went on, Titch seemed quiet and kept lying in her bed, which isn’t like her. At the time, I put it down to tiredness and thought she would return to normal after a good night’s sleep.

“The following morning, when she didn’t come in to see us for her usual cuddle, alarm bells started to ring. I got up and found her whining in her bed, with her food bowl still full from the day before. I was worried because she was usually very lively and loves her food - I knew something was wrong. I called our local PDSA, and they said to take Titch in straight away.”

Selena’s partner Mark, who is also her carer, immediately took the poorly pup to Stoke PDSA Pet Hospital, where a vet examined her.

PDSA Vet Lynne James explained: “When Titch was examined, she was very quiet, which is unusual for a puppy, and she was drooling and whining. She hadn’t vomited or emptied her bowels and, on examination, her stomach was painful when touched. Titch’s owner told the team that the pup had ripped up some of the puppy pads they were using for toilet training, so they suspected she could have swallowed some of those.

“The vet decided to investigate further by carrying out an ultrasound which revealed that Titch’s stomach was full. Medication was given to make her vomit to ease her discomfort and ensure that whatever was filling her stomach didn’t move into her intestines and cause an obstruction that might have required invasive surgery. To the team’s surprise, bits of tinsel and fragments of a Christmas tree decoration came up, along with some chewed-up puppy pads.”

After producing the offending festive items, Titch could go home with her loving family and enjoy Christmas Day.

Selena added: “Titch is a huge part of our family, and it was such a relief that she was well and able to join in the festive fun. We hadn’t even considered that Christmas ornaments could be a risk to Titch, but we certainly learned our lesson. We’ve got stair gates up now, and we will put the baubles high up on the tree, well out of her reach.

“I can’t put into words how grateful we are to PDSA for helping Titch. I’m disabled and housebound, so she is a constant companion to me. She cheers me up and really helps my mental well-being. My older children have all left home now, but my youngest son Archie is seven years old and absolutely adores Titch. They play together all the time and are best friends. My partner is also my carer, so money can be tight, particularly at the moment with the rising cost of living, so knowing PDSA is there to help keep us together should an emergency like this happen is such a relief. The support the charity provides is priceless.”

PDSA is the UK’s leading veterinary charity. Through our 48 Pet Hospitals and Pet Care scheme, we save the lives of poorly pets who would otherwise be left untreated.

Every year, we helped over 388,000 pets. Without us, emergency cases like Titch's would be left untreated and many pets could lose their lives or be separated from families who love them.

We wouldn’t be here for dogs like Titch without your support. Please consider donating today.

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