So I've been excrutiatingly careful with ear plugs since Harley's initial debacle. I always put them away carefully, and am even paranoid about tossing used ear plugs into the trash can, lest she be tempted to root around in there and chow down.
Towards the end of January, Harley got really, really sick - so sick at one point, that I was terrified she would die. We took her to a vet that one of our neighbors had recommended, they did all kinds of tests (including two sets of x-rays), put her on an IV drip, and sent her home with three different medications, as well as an IV bag and needle so we could continue to hydrate her. Nothing helped. She kept on puking and getting more and more lethargic. The new vet (where we dropped over $1,000) was absolutely no help at all, and we ended up having her moved to another vet's office, a woman who had worked at the first vet's until it was acquired by some big corporate entity, which resulted in a push for profits and not for decent care. The new vet suggested a barium x-ray, and, in the process, discovered (yep, you guessed it) an ear plug wedged in the duodenum, making it impossible for Harley to do anything but puke because of the blockage. We approved immediate surgery, and Ms. Harley returned home the next afternoon, a little bit shaky but otherwise just fine.
How, you ask, did she find an ear plug to savor and ingest? All we can figure out is that one got loose as we were packing and moving from the rental house where we lived when we first moved to Portland into our home, giving Harley the opportunity to pounce on it and devour it. We figure the plug moved around in her digestive system for a few weeks (hence the symptoms, which came and went mysteriously) until it finally came to rest, as it were, in a place where it was causing her a great deal of pain and discomfort.
She may not be very bright, but she sure as hell knows what she wants and how to find it. Dammit.