A GUIDE dog almost died after eating a plastic glove which had been discarded in a Rother beauty spot.
And her owner Revd Helen Patten is urging members of the public to take their litter home with them to help prevent another animal from suffering.
Ingle was enjoying a run through the woods when, unbeknownst to Helen and husband Michael, the eight-year-old Labrador ate a fine plastic glove she had found.
She began to be very sick on Easter Monday and was taken to the vets where the glove was found to have completely blocked her intestine.
Two major abdominal operations followed, with Ingle spending an anxious eight days with the vets.
Helen, of Workhouse Lane, Westfield, said: “As you may imagine, this not only caused a great deal of stressful anxiety, but my dog was unable to work for over three weeks.
“Not to mention the bill of almost £4,000 which her excellent treatment by Chase Vets in Bexhill incurred.”
It is not known where Ingle picked up the rogue glove, but Helen believes it could have been in Battle Great Wood, Brede High Woods or Guestling Woods.
The retired minister, who still assists the vicar at Westfield, said: “Labradors do pick up things. They eat all sorts of things.
“But usually they are sick or it passes through and they have a day of not being very well, then it’s over and done with.
“But the problem with this is it completely blocked her intestine and caused inflammation.”
She added: “At one time it looked like she might not survive it.
“It was a very anxious and worrying time.”
Helen, who has been without sight all her life, has benefited from the work of guide dogs for more than 40 years.
The Guide Dog Association, which is funded by public donations, has estimated it costs in the region of £50,000 to support a dog and its owner throughout the dog’s life.
Ingle and Helen have been together for six years.
Luckily Ingle is now back at work and is none the worse for her ordeal.
But Helen wants to ensure that other animals don’t suffer the same as poor Ingle.
Helen said: “We are a very dirty nation and wherever you go in Britain there is rubbish dumped everywhere.
“It’s a hazard for wildlife as well as our pets.
“If a wild animal had picked this up, it would have suffered a painful and lingering death and no-one would know.”
She added: “This is a heartfelt plea to everyone to take unwanted rubbish home and deposit it where it belongs - in the dustbin.
“One thoughtless action nearly cost my dog her life.”