The Bee Gees ‘”Staying Alive” stars as three adults pumping stuffed Dalmatian chests to the beat of the’ 70s disco hit.
“It’s hard, right? “Humane Society educator Kim Ferris-Church asks.” Consider doing this for 15 minutes. It’s a lot of energy that you are using. “
This is a pet CPR and first aid course offered at local humanitarian society, Lollypop Farm, just in time for the holiday season – a time when animal experts are warning animal emergencies. companionship related to things like decorations, human food, and gatherings can occur.
Ferris-Church leads the small group through CPR, first aid, and Heimlich maneuver techniques on life-size stuffed animals – one dog and one cat for each student.
Audrey Kramer, specialist in feline behavior, has experienced this before – both during previous training at Lollypop, where she works, and in a real emergency.
“I had to help one of my cats who was choking once,” Kramer said. “It was right after taking the first class years ago. He choked on a treat and I did kind of like a Heimlich and he came out of the cat’s mouth and it was okay.
The Heimlich maneuver used by Kramer was similar to the technique intended for infants. While CPR methods for cats and dogs resemble CPR for humans, Ferris-Church said there are significant differences.
“Usually with humans we lay the body on their back and you do the compressions in the middle of their chest, but with animals you actually lay them on their side. Ferris-Church said during a demonstration on a life-size Dalmatian stuffed animal.
“Then you find where their heart is by moving their leg back and where their elbow meets their torso. This is where their heart is,“she said.” So you do the compressions on their own. And then you try to get to the hospital as soon as possible.
She stressed that these skills do not replace those of a veterinarian, but can save an animal in crisis before it arrives at an animal hospital.
This is something to be prepared for because it can happen in a fraction of a second, Ferris-Church said. The earlier a person reacts and the more competent they are at responding, the better the chances of getting a positive result.
“It could be as simple as having your dog out in the yard playing and chewing on a stick and then all of a sudden choking on it,” Ferris-Church said. “It might be, you know, that you’ve got an old person, and you know one day they fall down and have a fit. You know, what are you going to do in this situation? “
Holidays can present other risks, but they can be avoided with preparation and awareness.
The FDA warns that things like poultry bones can shatter into sharp pieces and cause internal injuries. Table scraps full of chunks of fat from, for example, turkey meat can lead to life-threatening pancreatitis in dogs.
And the American Association of Veterinarians says things like sparkling garlands, string lights, and unattended candles can harm curious cats.
However, accidents can happen in any season. Years ago, Kramer was the first responder to another pet emergency near his home.
“It was a neighbor’s outdoor cat that was bitten by their dog,” Kramer explained. “I actually had to stop the bleeding in my ear, and the ears are bleeding like crazy. So I had to press this until we got to the vet’s office.
In this incident, she used her hands and fingers to apply pressure to the ear to stop the bleeding. It was something she hadn’t expected to be able to do.
“I thought I couldn’t handle these situations, but when you get thrown in you’d be surprised what you can do,” she said.
Cyndy Harnett, a 4-H volunteer in Yates and Ontario counties, takes the course to prepare for an emergency. For more than 20 years she has worked mainly with rabbits and owns four domestic rabbits herself. She keeps a handy pet first aid kit, but this is the first time she has learned rescue techniques, which should be greatly modified for rabbits, who have fragile bones.
“I had a rabbit that broke a leg years ago where it jumped wrong and landed,” Harnett said. “I think if we had done a better job immobilizing the limb in the way to the vet it might have helped this rabbit.”
Harnett plans to use what she learned about pet first aid at Lollypop and pass it on to the children she volunteers with. Many of them have pets of their own.
“I always believe in education, and even though I’ve been a pet owner for a long time, you never know when emergencies are going to arise,” Harnett said. “I want to be able to train, so if something happens I can think a little more clearly than just panicking at the last minute.”
The course is offered monthly at Lollypop Farm in Fairport.
No good pet owner wants to see their pet in pain or imagine the worst-case scenario, but taking care of their pet also means being there for them in a crisis.
This is something that Ferris-Church says can make all the difference.
“Being able to help your pet when he’s injured and get him to the emergency vet will help save his life. “