Sunshine Coast woman Kate Gazzard was playing fetch with her dog Bootsy at the park one afternoon, throwing a stick like she had with him and other dogs for the past 18 years.
But on this occasion, an incident occurred which has given her nightmares.
Gazzard threw a stick which Bootsy, a border collie cross kelpie, had dropped in front of her.
“It just wedged in the ground at a 45 degree angle,” she told 7NEWS of the incident last week.
“Boots is fast and pounced on it.
“The cry – and he fell just lifeless in front of me – I’m still having nightmares about that moment.”
The 15cm stick pierced through Bootsy’s neck.
It went into his throat, down his chest and into his right shoulder.
Fortunately, they were 500m away from their vet and that’s what “saved his life”, Gazzard says.
“Within five minutes, he was intubated and ventilated,” she said.
“He had emergency surgery to remove the stick and he had three days in intensive care.
“We were very lucky it missed every critical artery – the heart, lungs. It just slid straight through the tissue plains, into the shoulder.”
Bootsy returned home on Friday.
Since then, he’s gone from “strength to strength”.
“I feel very lucky to have my little boy home,” said Gazzard, a sports doctor who brings Bootsy to work.
“He’s my life.
“To know it was my fault is a pretty crushing moment.
“For 18 years I’ve had border collies and always thrown them sticks. Never had a problem.
“I won’t be doing it again.”
From now, Gazzard will be throwing only rubber sticks and balls for Bootsy to chase.