A little over 2 weeks ago I took Esther Horn’s First Aid & CPR class for dogs and cats. I took this course so I would feel in control if something happened to my dog, a 1 year old Goldendoodle. Little did I know that less than a month after taking this class, I would be tested—just by someone else’s dog. Just after I arrived home from work last week a neighbor’s dog was hit by a car. She had squeezed out the front door a little girl had opened and darted straight into the path of an oncoming car. The driver and passenger stopped, but they didn’t know what to do. Neither did the other half a dozen people who stopped wanting to help. The owner wasn’t home; no one knew who her vet was or who to call. Should they move her? Give her water? As frightening as the situation was, I took control:
- Did the dog have a heartbeat? Check.
- Was the dog breathing? Check.
- Was the dog in distress and in need of medical attention? Check!
First Aid was needed here. There was no external bleeding, but she obviously had internal injuries and was in shock struggling with each breathe. We slid a blanket under her to keep her from burning on the hot pavement and tilted her head to the side to make sure her tongue wasn’t blocking her airway. She needed to be moved, but not until we knew where we were moving her to. Someone went off in search of a piece of ply board to slide her on to prevent from exasperating her injuries when we moved her.
Among the documents you receive taking the First Aid & CPR pet course is a list of emergency numbers—one that includes Urgent Care which was closed when I called. I called my vet, a full service animal hospital 10 minutes down the road, and fully equipped to treat her. They said to bring her in; a lesson for all that you can take an animal to any vet to be treated in an emergency situation—just try and call first!. The owner came home from work at that point and we slid her onto the ply board and off we went. Unfortunately, she ended up going into cardiac arrest when we reached the vet, at which point the technicians were able to start CPR and inject something in her heart. She was not revivable and it was a very sad situation. The vet said her internal injuries were so bad she had no chance of survival. However, the family was extremely grateful that I was there and knew what to do. She didn’t die on the pavement in front of the little girl who loved her and we were able to make her as comfortable as possible without causing her further pain or injury.
I STRONGLY recommend this course for anyone who owns, cares, and works with animals. You WILL leave feeling in control and armed with knowledge. Materials are sent home with you to practice what you’ve learned and a list of items to build your pet first aid kit. With summer and hot weather now here, pets are at further risk of snake bites, bee stings, dehydration, etc.
If you saw a dog or cat in need that wasn’t your own, would you try to help? Of course you would! Would you know what to do? You will if you take the class. As I learned, it’s truly an invaluable experience.