Suzy the toy poodle got life-saving CPR, and it brought her back from wherever good dogs go in the end.
“This is the craziest week I’ve ever been a pet owner,” said Margot Olah, who owns the recovering canine.
Her 20-year-old son Jarek found 15-year-old Suzy asphyxiated to the point where her tongue was lolling out of her mouth, and it had turned blue.
Olah’s cousin, Terry MacPherson, who lives downstairs, was called to help free the senior dog.
Suzy had been wearing a plastic bell over her head, to keep her from licking and chewing at a hot spot.
As the little dog passed a brassiere that was hanging off a doorway, the holey cheesecloth that attached the bell got caught on the bra hooks.
They can only surmise that Suzy struggled to free herself, but only succeeded in tightening the noose around her neck more as she pulled.
By the time MacPherson and Jarek found her, it was so tight they couldn’t get it off.
Frustrated, panicky and crying, MacPherson tried to pull the whole door off its hinges.
“I thought ‘Me, the dog and the door are all going to the vet.’”
But the door held firm. Instead, they cut the dog loose.
MacPherson couldn’t find a pulse in the lifeless pet.
She had some recent knowledge about reviving a dog that wasn’t breathing.
Two weeks earlier, one of her dogs was sick with a cough, and in the course of seeking some online remedy she had come across an online video about how to give canine CPR.
“It’s amazing the crap I know,” she observed.
She put her mouth over her canine patient’s nose and muzzle and blew.
It was hard to get a good puff into Suzy’s body, because the protruding tongue was getting in the way of a good seal. But she was able to blow some air in.
She saw Suzy’s narrow chest rise.
Then she did chest compressions, pressing on the side of the dog’s chest.
Suzy gacked up blood and foam.
“It was awful.”
But she was slightly revived, if still struggling.
Jarek’s friend arrived at that time.
They jumped into his car, and he drove like Ricky Bobby to the vet clinic.
Suzy went directly into an oxygen tank, and was given medication to help her recover from oxygen deprivation.
Within two days, she made a full recovery, and Olah was told her pet could live a healthy life for another five or six years, easily.
“She’s back to her usual self – eating, drinking and happy,” said Olah, best known as the president of the Ridge Meadows Minor Ball Hockey Association.
“I have a group of happy kids in the house, because the dog is alive,” she added.
“Now she’s ‘The Dog with Nine Lives.’”
Olah and her family learned a bit about pet safety – there is no more hanging brassieres – “the weapon in question” – or other clothes off doorknobs at their home.
They also want to share what they now know about canine CPR, in case other dog owners can someday use the information.
Local veterinarian Dr. Adrian Walton of Dewdney Animal Hospital said canine CPR is standard operating procedure in vet clinics.
The human mouth goes over the animal’s nose and mouth and you blow in while holding their mouth closed.
“It tastes disgusting,” he opined, but said it can be effective.
In the clinical setting there are oxygen masks, so vets can save their palate.
Chest compressions on the animal’s side should be between 60 and 120 beats per minute, which is “basically as fast as you can go.”
Walton said people should learn about cardiopulmonary resuscitation for humans, which is offered through St. John’s Ambulance, and the same principles can be applied to pets.
There are numerous online videos about canine CPR.