London vet Joshua Rusnak has had to remove many foreign objects from many different animals, but this week was a first: Spike, an eight-year-old Doberman, had swallowed his owner’s kippah.
Owner Caroline Shemie of Golders Green is resignedly used to Spike’s ways. The “gentle giant” once ate four of her husband Danny’s shoes while the couple were out. “He gets very worried when we’re out, and he eats things when he gets worried.”
This time, the Ortho-dog set his sights on Mr Shemie’s tefillin. Mrs Shemie said: “My husband had only just started wearing his tefillin every morning. He keeps them in a bag, and when we came back from Israel, I said ‘Danny, be careful, Spike will find the tefillin very tasty because they’re leather!’
“I came down one morning and found the tefillin bag in Spike’s bed. He’d tried to eat them but hadn’t managed to get through the bag. But it turned out he had eaten the kippah.”
Mr Rusnak, a member of Lauderdale Road Synagogue, examined the Doberman and found that Mr Shemie’s kippah was blocking Spike’s small intestine — an obstruction that could have proved life-threatening.
Mrs Shemie said: “It’s definitely good to have a Jewish vet. There aren’t many Jewish vets as sweet as Josh.”