A Wanganui man was left $2000 out of pocket after his dog swallowed a fish-hook while being walked along the river bank.
The hook was just one of several found recently by people walking their dogs. It was believed to have been discarded by recreational fishermen along the western bank of the Whanganui River.
City Gym co-owner Pat McNamara was walking his two dogs, Cooper and Sabbath, along the boardwalk near the BP petrol station on Taupo Quay in May when he noticed nylon hanging out the side of Cooper's mouth.
"I opened her mouth up, but I could not see anything apart from nylon, so I knew there was a hook," he said.
"If I hadn't have seen the nylon, I probably wouldn't have known."
Mr McNamara took Cooper to the vet, but a decision was made to take her to Massey University in Palmerston North, where they have equipment necessary for such a delicate procedure.
The fish-hook was lodged far down Cooper's oesophagus, near the heart, making surgery a dangerous and expensive option.
Mr McNamara was told that that an operation would cost $4000.
Thankfully, surgery was not necessary. Vets were able to remove the hook using long tweezers with the aid of an endoscopic camera.
The procedure took three-and-a-half hours and cost Mr McNamara $2000.
It did not take long for Cooper to bounce back.
"I didn't come back [to the boardwalk] for a couple of weeks. I stayed away, but I like it here."
Mr McNamara was not bitter towards people who fish in the area; they were part of the reason he liked walking his dogs there.
"I think it is really cool when you walk along there. ... because there are retired guys and unemployed guys and young kids fishing with their fathers."
However, he said, some fishermen needed to be more careful with their hooks.
"Some of them leave their hooks and just don't worry about it. They probably don't think."
Wanganui District Council issues $100 fines for littering. A spokesperson said they were not aware of any other cases of dogs swallowing discarded hooks.