HENRICO, Va. (WRIC) — You know to feed your dogs and give them water and affection, but would you know what to do if there was an emergency? For May, National Pet Month, 8News takes a look at a growing trend that could help save their lives.
There is a big splash as Labradors Kona and Rosie jump into the swimming pool at Alpha Dog Club. Their owner Elsie Bemiss watches the dogs with a smile. They are her pride and joy.
“They’re my best friends. I’ve got four kids and a great husband, but they’re with me all day long. I take them everywhere,” Bemiss says. “Sometimes we’re on the A.T, The Appalachian Trail. You get in 10, 13, 14 miles. Adults can get hurt and kids can get hurt, so can your dogs.”
It is why Bemiss listens in closely during Alpha Dog’s pet CPR demonstration, which is part of an American Red Cross course.
Alan Douglas uses a pet mannequin to show Bemiss the basics, starting with ABC.
“That stands for airway, breathing, circulation,” he explains that they are the first signs to check once a dog is safely restrained.
Alan’s wife Hermine demonstrates what to do next: mouth to snout resuscitation, starting with thirty compressions near the heart.
“Lock hands, thirty, breathe twice into his nose, go back to the thirty compressions, back to his nose,” she follows the process on the pet mannequin.
Since the Douglases started offering this class, they have heard success stories, including from a woman in Williamsburg whose dog fell through ice.
“The fact that she was able to quickly act rather than try to get the dog into the car and to a vet made the difference in the dog’s life,” Hermine says. “With most dogs, the first ten minutes are critical.”
It is heartbreaking for Bemiss to even think about. “They can’t talk to you either. What’s happening, what’s hurting, so it would be a good idea to know.”
Now that she has seen what to do, she is better prepared to spring into action whenever Kona and Rosie need her the most.
“They are definitely the best part of the family,” Bemiss says about her beloved pets.
If you do not know how to properly care for your pet in an emergency, the Douglases say you can actually for more harm than good. It is why the American Red Cross recommends taking a class and keeping specialized pet first air kids at home and in the car. The Red Cross also offers an app with instructions on how to respond.