THE dangers of littering have been highlighted by a visually-impaired woman whose guide dog was left needing a £1,600 operation after rubbish he picked up outside a Moreton takeaway damaged his intestines.

Marsha Corper was left without Golden Retriever Quinney for two weeks while he was treated by vets following the incident.

The five-year-old pooch had been helping Marsha through Moreton on June 12 when he saw something that took his fancy.

“We were walking along the main road and Quin had his nose to the ground,” explained Marsha.

“I told him ‘no’ and checked his mouth – there was nothing in it.

“Later that night Quin didn’t seem particularly well. By Saturday he was refusing to eat and was sick several times. I thought he’d picked up a bug and the vet checked him and thought the same.”

Quinney’s condition worsened over the weekend and by Monday, it was time for x-rays, which showed he had picked up the hard, woody core of a corn-on-the-cob and swallowed it whole.

Marsha said: “It had stuck in his intestine and damaged it on the way down. He had to be operated on immediately.”

Due to concerns over Quinney developing septicaemia or peritonitis, he was taken to Chester Gate Veterinary Specialists, where he spent two days on intravenous drugs.

Marsha, who has had Quinney for three and a half years, said: “Because I can’t see, I was worried about looking after him. His wounds needed bathing twice a day and if his stitches came out, or his wound started to bleed or show infection, I wouldn’t know.

“He also had to have three tablets every few hours. Dogs spit tablets out and I wouldn’t have known. I just didn’t think I could look after him adequately.”

The Guide Dogs charity organised for Quinney to be looked after by one of their volunteers in Winsford, who ended up caring for him for two weeks.

During that time, Marsha was forced to return to using a white cane when she left the house.

“When you have a white cane, you have to concentrate and you move a lot slower, you’re a lot more vulnerable than when you have a dog,” said Marsha.

“With the cane for those two weeks, I did find I was more cautious and thought twice about if I needed to go out.”

Thankfully, Quinney is now back to his former self and able to help Marsha get around but she says it could have easily been a much sadder ending.

“He could have died. It was a dangerous and extremely expensive treatment – an unnecessary cost to Guide Dogs.”

It costs £5,000 to train a guide dog, with the lifetime cost of one estimated at around £50,000.

Marsha added: “Thankfully he’s ok but he could have refused to work after that which would have been a disaster.

“Guide Dogs are so supportive when things like this happen but it’s money that wouldn’t have had to be spent was it not for people littering.”

Marsha admits that Quinney is a bit of a “hoover” when it comes to food, calling him a “Golden Receiver”.

He now has to wear a muzzle when he’s out to avoid a similar incident happening again.

Marsha said: “It’s really sad because people see the muzzle and think he’s vicious and he’s not – it’s just to protect him. It puts people off but wouldn’t be necessary if people didn’t throw their rubbish down.

“I’m really sad that it’s had to come to this because he doesn’t like it but it’s for his own safety.

“We need to make people aware of what they are doing when they throw rubbish. There are lots of bins in Moreton, you only have to walk a few yards to get to a bin and put your rubbish in.

“Dog poo is another issue. People pick it up and leave it tied up in a plastic bag which can end up being eaten by animals causing problems.

“People need to be aware of what damage it’s doing, not just to dogs, but all animals. If I can pick it up, I’m sure a sighted person can.”

Quinney’s operation and after-care was funded by the Guide Dogs charity, something Marsha says she is eternally grateful for.

“I want to thank all those who give money to Guide Dogs because without that, I would have had extreme difficulty paying for that operation.

“Most people think of the money they donate going to train a puppy but there’s all sorts of other things that go on in the background.”

Anyone who would like to donate to the charity can do so by visiting or calling Guide Dogs Liverpool office on 0118 9838749 .