Jo Ridon had no idea she would ever need the flyer her 92-year-old neighbor gave her about how to perform CPR on a dog, but she stuck it on her refrigerator anyway. But years later, she says, CPR saved her dog.
Puff is Jo’s 12-1/2 year old Pomeranian. According to her, Puff “was given the short end of the genetic stick in her breeding and has many, many health issues.”
Her numerous health problems include:
- Heart Failure
- Pulmonary Hypertension
- Collapsing Trachea
- Enlarged Organs
- Abdominal Fluid
- Luxating Patella
- Syncope (temporary loss of consciousness and posture)
Puff has also had a number of syncope episodes where she passed out for a few seconds. Last Saturday, she had several episodes in a row. After the last one, her heart stopped.
This is how Jo described what happened next:
“I was holding her calling her name and bouncing her like a baby which is how she normally stops the syncope. I took her outside where it was cool, sat her in the grass. That didn’t help I took her back inside because her heart still wasn’t beating and she still wasn’t breathing. I kept telling my husband “She’s gone.” He kept saying at least it was fast she didn’t suffer.
While I was still holding her I told my husband the only other thing I could do was “this” and tapped the pet CPR card on the fridge… I hollered at my hubby cause I couldn’t read it… then I laid Puff on the kitchen floor and began rubbing ad lightly pushing her chest…. She was unresponsive and her eyes were fixed.
My husband started reading the instructions to me and he read “in small dogs tip there head back to clear airway and cover their nose with your mouth and breathe.” I tipped her head back and breathed into her nose… it sounded blocked… no response. Kept rubbing and pushing on her chest and breathed into her nose again, Sounded different and her chest twitched. Did it again and again and she blinked. But she was still lifeless… No body tone still limp I kept the rubbing and pushing and She started to convulse. She was gagging and threw up but went back limp again… It was horrible, her eyes staring and her mouth open but pulled back like in a growl, snarl. what she had thrown up was drain out the side of her mouth and I left her got a wet towel to wipe it off.
As I wiped her face and front chest area she started taking more breaths and I could feel her heart…. I scooped her up and took her to sit in front of a box fan. (My thought is it would push air at her) She was breathing and her heart was beating she had tone back in her body but she didn’t have good rhythm in either her heart beat or breathing… stood in front of the fan and she started struggling in my arms like she wanted down … I took her outside where it was cool and sat her down …She took a few steps and started pooping…”
The entire episode lasted about 15-20 minutes. Jo told me Puff is still a bit wobbly but is otherwise doing fine now. Here she is about 8 hours after the event:
Given Puff’s age and health problems, Jo understands Puff will probably succomb to these issues in the near future, but because of her quick thinking and the old flyer on her fridge, Puff will be around a little longer.
“We know that she doesn’t have a long time left with us,” she told me. “We were blessed with more time with her thanks to CPR. Maybe her story can impress upon pet parents/guardians, even first responders, the need to know CPR for your fur kids… We are so thankful that we get more time and we are going to savor every minute…”
Joy and Puff’s story is the ultimate endorsement on why dog owners should take a pet first aid class taught by a certified instructor.
Metro Dog Seattle has pet first aid classes throughout the year both in Seattle and outlying areas. The next on is May 11 at Trupanion in Seattle.