The spiny surface of several sea urchins didn't stop Marley, a Labrador retriever, from chasing after them as his owner, Judi Dunn, tossed the round sea creatures into the sea to prevent her from stepping on them.
But what Marley thought was a game of catch quickly went wrong as she had an allergic reaction to the poisonous urchins. Soon, she had swollen gums, swollen paws and lesions between her toes.
Dunn told VPI she took Marley to the veterinarian for a shot of antihistamines, saying she didn't realize sea urchins could cause such a reaction.
"Pets get into stuff without us knowing it," said Gross, adding that seeing a doctor as soon as possible was the best course of action. "Don't wait for it to get worse."
The southwest can be a treacherous, with some of the most vicious wildlife in the United States.
But Gregory Hodgins did not think he and his two German shorthaired pointers, Rincon and Catalina, would one day be squaring off against a pack of wild boars.
Hodgins had taken Rincon and Catalina for a hike near his home in Tucson, Ariz., and the dogs had run ahead chasing something. Soon, however, Hodgins heard Rincon yelp in pain and come running back towards him followed by a wild boar, also known as a javelina.
"He was running towards me with this javelina in hot pursuit," Hodgins said.
In fact, it was two javelinas and a litter of babies that came to a halt in front of Hodgins and his dogs. Hodgins was able to scare off the boars and start down the mountain, but Rincon seemed to be in bad shape. He was bleeding from the nose and rump, and appeared to have been gored in the groin area.
"It was clear he couldn't walk," Hodgins said. "I thought he was a dead dog, basically."
But Rincon would be all right. His veterinarian said no organs had been damaged and bleeding was minimal. The most serious wound may have been to Rincon's pride.
"[The vet] said, he's just behaving like a dog whose ego has been shattered," Hodgins recalled.
An ice fishing trip got Quincy, a Labrador retriever, more than he bargained for when he accidentally inhaled a three-pronged fish hook.
"Dogs are always exploring their world nose first," Becker said. "You never know when something crazy is going to happen."
Sara Kelly, Quincy's owner, told VPI that her dog had run over to the bait buckets full of minnows and stuck his nose in, only to encounter the fish hook. Kelly immediately sought treatment for Quincy, but he was so agitated that he had to be tranquilized before a veterinarian could remove the hook.
Becker cautioned that hurt animals, even longtime pets, may become unpredictable when injured.
"You could have the canine equivalent of Mother Teresa and it could still bite you," he said. "Use a blanket or towel to protect your hands when handling [them]."
Dogs are not usually cow-tippers, but Ranger, a border collie, stumbled into this pastime while training to herd cattle.
During a practice session, Jeanne Brown told VPI that Ranger, already an accomplished sheep herder, was so enthusiastic about chasing after cattle that he zoomed into a cow's hind legs at full speed. The impact unbalanced the cow, which fell on Ranger.
"I'm pretty sure he thought the cows would run away from him like the sheep do, but they're not afraid," Brown told VPI.
Ranger limped for a few days, but was soon up and running again.