A loveable rescue dog thought Christmas had come early – when he wolfed down EIGHT mince pies in the space of a minute … including the foil wrappers.

Crossbreed Murdo – an expert sniffer out of snacks – just couldn’t resist when he spotted the pies momentarily unguarded on a kitchen worktop.

But what scavenger Murdo didn’t realize is that raisins are highly poisonous to dogs – and even just a handful can lead to kidney failure or, in extreme cases, death.

Luckily for him, his owners Sarah and Billy Garbett were aware of how dangerous raisins can be – and spotted what had happened almost immediately.

As it was a Sunday, they rushed him to the Vets Now 24-hour emergency pet hospital in Glasgow, where he was admitted right away.

Super-kind Sarah and Billy, who adopted Murdo when he was a stray and now tuck him up at night in his own double duvet, had an anxious wait while Murdo was checked over.

But an hour or so later, he was ready to head back with them to their home in Glasgow after medicine to make him sick successfully cleared the pies and foil from his bloated tummy.

Crucially, because Sarah and Billy acted so quickly, Murdo hadn’t begun to digest the haul of pies.

And the foil wrappers hadn’t had time to get wedged solid in his stomach where they could have caused a serious blockage or even a perforation.

As a result, the only lingering effect from his brush with catastrophe was that 13-year-old Murdo had to be given charcoal for the next 48 hours to ensure his stomach was fully cleaned out.

And that proved to be tricky – because it turned out that charcoal is the one thing that striking-looking Murdo, who has starred in a fashion shoot, DOESN’T like eating.

Murdo's Festive Mishap

Sarah said: “I had to smuggle the charcoal into his food by making him some chicken and rice and dissolving the liquid in there.

“Funnily enough, he perked up pretty quickly when he realised he was getting a special dinner made for him.

“We usually keep the kitchen door shut to keep him away from food but if you forget for an instant, he’s straight in there to see what he can find.

“With the mince pies, we got distracted for a second because our four-year-old son Finlay had spilled something on the living room floor – and that was all Murdo needed.

“We heard a bit of a crash and some rustling and by the time we got back to the kitchen all that was left was the cardboard box and the cellophane tray.

“Every single bit of the eight pies had gone plus all the foil wrappers – which at least meant there was less mess for us to clear up!

“It all sounds quite comical now, but at the time, two Sundays before Christmas amid all the usual December chaos, it was panic stations.

“When I was growing up, one of my friends’ dogs got very badly ill after eating Tutti Frutti ice cream and I’ve always been conscious of how bad raisins are for dogs.

“So when this happened I knew we couldn’t take any risks and that we had to get help straightaway.

“Of course, it had to happen on a Sunday when our regular vets were closed – so we’re very grateful to Vets Now for being open when we needed them.


An image of Murdo the dog relaxing at home


“Murdo is absolutely part of our family, and I couldn’t bear it if anything happened to him.

“We adopted him from Dogs Trust when he was about three and we fell in love with him straightaway.

“When we took him in, he was underweight and we had to carefully feed him up but now he lives a life full of comforts – it’s like rags to riches but for dogs.

“I think when a dog has had the background that Murdo has – abandoned and left to fend for himself – it makes you bond with them even more.

“He’s very pampered these days – but with his scavenging it’s like he can’t forget his time living on the streets where he must always have been hungry.”

Sarah added: “We previously had to take our other dog Archie, who is a Border Terrier, to our own vet after he ate some 70 per cent cocoa Green and Black’s dark chocolate – which is as bad for dogs as raisins.

“So it’s a well-worn routine we’re established but, in the nicest possible way, it would be great if we don’t have to go back to the vets anytime soon – especially not this Christmas!”

Emergency Vet Dave Leicester, head of telehealth at Vets Now, said: “Sarah and Billy did absolutely the right thing in getting help straightaway because time is critical when a pet has eaten something poisonous, even when, as with Murdo, there’s nothing visibly wrong with them.

Just a few raisins can have potentially very serious consequences for dogs – and eight separate mince pies really is a lot of raisins to consume, even for a bigger dog like Murdo.”

Murdo's Unique Journey

Thanks to his unusual but handsome look, Murdo featured in a fashion photo shoot for the Wild Warrior range of sustainable clothing designed by one of Sarah’s friends.

Sarah added: “He’s a very sociable dog and he loves being the centre of attention, so he enjoyed every minute of getting his pictures taken.

“When we got him Dogs Trust had him down as a boxer cross but as time went on we weren’t sure that was right.

“So we got his DNA tested and it turns out he is part Greyhound, part Bullmastiff and part Staffordshire Terrier – which really does make him pretty unique.”