Last Sunday afternoon, with the prospect of the Spring Bank Holiday and a day off work the next day, Emma Harris was relaxing in her garden in Plymouth, UK, enjoying the warm, sunny weather while her beloved dog Lola was having fun playing.
As Harris watched, a bee flew into the mouth of her 7-month-old boxer, got trapped there and stung the dog. Almost immediately, Lola suffered an allergic reaction: her eyes rolled back and she began throwing up before keeling over onto the ground. Harris checked, but couldn’t find a pulse on the dog.
Some people know exactly what to do in an emergency. Harris, who is just 20, is one of those people. While her parents panicked and assumed the puppy must be dead, Harris remained calm and began pounding on the dog’s chest. She had taken a course in first aid training for her job at Curious Kittens Nursery, which is why she was able to react so quickly.
How many of us would have acted as swiftly as Harris did?
To the young woman’s delight, within a few minutes Lola started breathing again. But that wasn’t the end of it: five minutes later Lola collapsed all over again. Once again, Harris was calm and ready to perform life-saving CPR on her dog.
From The Telegraph:
“After she collapsed and we couldn’t feel a pulse, my Dad was shouting ‘She’s gone, she’s gone!’.
“My mum was a mess and my dad didn’t know what to do. I don’t know what came over me but I jumped on top of her and started to pump her heart with my fists to give her CPR.
“I was pumping for a good couple of minutes. My dad said she opened her eyes and started breathing again.
“My mum was on the phone to the vet and he said to get her to them as soon as we could.”
Neighbour Jim Ness, a retired nurse, leapt over the fence to help Emma perform the life-saving procedure in Plymouth, Devon on Sunday afternoon.
How many pet owners know how to perform CPR on their pets? As a high school teacher, I am required to keep up-to-date on my CPR certification, even though I have yet to use it. Maybe the same should hold true for those of us with pets.
The chances of finding your dog or cat not breathing, or with his heart not beating, are pretty slim, but shouldn’t pet owners know how to respond, just in case?
In fact, if you know anything about CPR, you already have a good start, since CPR for cats and dogs is similar to CPR in humans. The ABC method applies to our pets too: after checking for responsiveness, secure an Airway, do rescue Breathing, and apply Chest compressions.
In 2012, the University of Illinois Veterinary Teaching Hospital came out with a new set of pet-centered CPR guidelines offering more specifics.
CBS Chicago explains a few of these:
With the animal lying on its side, compressions are to be done at a rate of 100 to 120 chest compressions per minute.
Breathing in a dog or cat is done through a tube and, under the new guidelines, at a slower rate than has been done in veterinary practice.
The new guidelines also call for how to do CPR on dogs of different breeds and sizes, how to train clinicians and which drugs to administer.
In Lola’s case, apparently the chest compressions were enough. She was taken to a vet and given steroids to counteract the bee sting and now she is back to her usual happy, playful self.
I grew up in Plymouth, a beautiful city in the south west of England, which makes me especially thrilled to share the story of Emma Harris and her quick actions and ability to stay calm. Quite simply, she saved Lola’s life.
Photo Credit: thinkstock