Mocha, shown above, is an 8.5 pound dachshund who discovered some rope in owner Chris Nadeau’s vehicle. Veterinarians later determined he had eaten 16 feet of the stuff. And survived. (KEIZERTIMES/Jason Cox)

By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

Mocha was en route to a Champoeg State Park camping trip when the rope under the front seat started looking tasty.

“It’s only about a 25-minute trip and we load up the dogs in the back seat and tie them up to the seat belt,” said Chris Nadeau, Mocha’s owner.

Mocha had just enough leash to hop down and start chewing on the half-inch thick rope he found. Once at camp, Nadeau parked the trailer and was unloading the car when he caught Mocha, an 8.5-pound dachshund, in the act.

“I started pulling and got about six to eight foot of rope out of him,” Nadeau said. “He’s always been a chewer but this was a first.”

Nadeau and his wife thought nothing much of the incident–beyond the oddity–and Mocha showed no signs of discomfort. The pup continued to eat well and “do his business” on schedule. Until a few weeks later.

“He started dry heaving so we brought him into the vet to have him checked out,” Nadeau said.

Vet Leanne Eggert of Creekside Veterinary Clinic gave Mocha the once-over and decided to treat him for acid reflux.

“He didn’t seem to be getting any better though so we brought him again,” Nadeau said.

Last week, Eggert decided to do a more thorough investigation and gave the dog some barium dye that would make his insides to show up on an X-ray.

“He passed the dye fine and we took some shots,” she said.

Later that afternoon, she personally called Nadeau.

“She said, ‘You’re never going to believe what we found inside of him,’” Nadeau said.

The X-rays revealed something that looked like a long knot of noodles, when Eggert opened up Mocha’s stomach, 16.3-feet of rope was pulled out inch-by-inch.

“It was visually stunning coming out of him,” Eggert said.

Once the surgery was complete, the extracted pile looked like a mucous-covered noodle.

“I imagine what happened was he started on in and then just had to keep going. We could see a couple of spots where Mocha had tried to eat through it and couldn’t,” Eggert said.

The surgery definitely fell into the more unusual end of the spectrum, especially for a dog.

“A lot of people don’t realize how dangerous things like string can be. If they pass through the stomach and into the intestines, they can saw through as the animals try to pass them,” Eggert said.

Swallowing string and rope is usually more of a problem for cats whose tongue spines push the fibrous material further and further down the throat.

“Cute kitty with a ball of yarn is actually a really bad idea,” Eggert said.

While animals are prone to vomiting on occasion, they need to be checked out if it’s something that continues over a long period of time.

Earlier this week, Mocha was still healing from surgery but back to his usual “goofy and playful” self.

The 16-foot long evidence of Mocha’s gastrointestinal accomplishment is sealed away in a freezer bag that Nadeau plans to keep it for posterity, and because it increased in value considerably once the surgery was complete.

“It cost $72.50 per foot,”  Nadeau joked.