Several hours of surgery and three nights in intensive care later, Charlie was well enough to go home and, amazingly, a month on he had made a full recovery.
His owners Mark and Michelle Richardson, released a graphic photo of Charlie in the emergency treatment area at Vets Now with the stick jutting out of his chest.
They hope the shocking picture will convince others to think twice about throwing a stick for their dog, a practice which can often lead to unintended injury and harm.
Sales director Mark said: “It seems the most natural thing in the world – but, as we’ve learned, letting your dog play with a stick can have terrible consequences.
“Please, if you’re thinking of throwing a stick for your dog, think again. Seeing Charlie in the pain he was in that night was just horrific – I wouldn’t want anyone else or any other dog to have to suffer that.”
Charlie was out for his regular evening walk with Mark and Michelle along a canal towpath near their home in Barnby Dun, near Doncaster, South Yorkshire, when disaster struck.
As Charlie, a cocker spaniel/Border collie cross, chased after the stick, he landed on it at such speed that it cannoned up underneath him and speared itself into his body.
Mark said: “Charlie was 20 or 30 yards in front of us when we heard this awful yelping noise. We ran towards him and he was spinning around on his right front leg as though he’d broken the left.
“He was trying to reach the stick with his mouth to try and pull it out. There were five or six inches of the stick poking out but it was wedged solid inside him. There was blood everywhere and poor Michelle started screaming. It was just awful to see.”
“If just one person reads this and decides not to throw a stick for their dog then Michelle and I will be very relieved.”
Mark phoned from his mobile for an emergency vet and was put through to Vets Now.
One of our vet surgeons and a vet nurse rushed to the scene and worked by mobile phone torchlight to try to stabilise Charlie, giving him painkillers so that he could safely be transported.
“It was a race against time,” said Mark. “Charlie was getting colder and colder and at one point I thought we were losing him. When they put him on the stretcher into the ambulance, I was shouting out, ‘Stay with us Charlie, stay with us.”
Charlie arrived at Vets Now’s pet emergency clinic at around 10.30pm and he was kept under close observation until the following morning as the veterinary team worked to painstakingly remove the stick and assess the damage.
As if a punctured lung and broken rib were not bad enough, staff were concerned that Charlie might also acquire a blood infection from the dirty stick.
Against the odds though, Charlie pulled through. Incredibly, he was eventually back to his normal self.
Except that “normal” for Charlie means no more sticks. “We’ve learned the lesson,” said Mark. “If just one person reads this and decides not to throw a stick for their dog then Michelle and I will be very relieved.”