Family warns others after dog swallows fish hook near Rio Grande

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Now that it’s summer, it’s more common to see people soaking up the sun and taking a walk near the Rio Grande, especially with their dogs.

As one family will tell you, though, you have to be careful.

JoJo came to Jim Gill and his wife Christina about a year ago.

“He had broken into the house when I was gone. It was under construction so he got in and I found him when I got home. He was on the sofa, eating an egg crate and the kitchen was totally trashed, trash everywhere,” Jim said. “He split and ran the same way he came in.”

The next day, the thin, homeless dog came back. This time, they sensed a perfect match and didn’t let him go.

JoJo became a part of the family. He likes to go on walks and explore, as the couple was doing on the Fourth of July near Pilar.

“We took him down to the waterfront. Within three minutes of arriving at the waterfront, I look down and he had a fishing line coming out of his mouth. He was chewing because he had been chewing in some grassy area next to the river,” Jim explained.

Panic quickly set in. They took JoJo to an animal hospital in Algodones. An X-ray confirmed JoJo didn’t just swallow a fishing line – there was a hook right in his belly.

“I feel like I failed him. I could’ve done a better job watching him,” Jim said.

Time was of the essence. They brought JoJo to another clinic, this time in Albuquerque. Doctors took him into surgery and the family waited.

“Then, they called us at, oh gosh probably 2 a.m., saying it was successful. They got the fish line and the hook,” Jim said.

JoJo is okay and recovering just fine but his owners have a message.

“As a responsible pet owner, you need to be hyper-vigilant. They are like infants. You gotta watch them. Comb the shoreline, look for fishing line, hooks and lures around rocks. As waterlines recede and plants are still growing, that’s where you’re gonna find this stuff and, believe me, they are gonna find it,” Jim stressed.

He says one of the veterinarians, who treated JoJo at Route 66 Veterinary Emergency, told him this isn’t the first time they’ve seen something like this. Dogs, especially, are prone to swallowing foreign objects so it’s always a good idea to keep a close eye.