It was the crack of dawn early on my day off. I was trying to get into the right frame of mind, but I have to admit I was a bit hostile. Why did CPR training have to be so damn early? And why did it have to be scheduled on my day off? There was no way out of it, trust me, I tired, but being CPR certified is part of my job, so like it or not, for the next couple of hours, I would be saving the lives of weird torso only dummy’s and infants made of tough grey’ish plastic. Having gone through the drills and techniques of listening for breaths, checking heart rates, sweeping air passages and administering chest compressions, I took my test, passed with flying colors, collected my certificate and went about the rest of my Friday, never for one second thinking I would ever have to use my newly acquired skills. Never, until yesterday.
Yesterday while munching on his dinner, Manson started to make weird heaving noises. I figured he was just clearing his throat but I stood watching, just in case it was something more. He continued to heave and was desperately trying to breath through his nose. I’m getting a very bad feeling, so I kneel down next to him, listening to see if he’s still breathing. He heaves a couple more times and then nothing. Silence. He starts to shake, his abdomen swells and there is no air coming in our out. Immediately I grab him and place him between my knees. Something is caught in his throat. At this stage I know he needs the Heimlich, and fast, but how in the world do I administer this to a dog? My mind is racing and I hear myself yelling out his name in complete panic. Instantly I decide that Heimliching a dog or a person is no different, so I made a fist with my right hand, located his rib cage and placed my fist between the ribs. I wrapped my left hand around the fist and prepare to pull upwards, hard. One thing the CPR instructor told us about administering the Heimlich, pull with huge force. There is a chance you might break a rib or 2, but do what you have to do to dislodge the blockage. So I pulled upwards on little Manson, hard, then waited a second. Nothing. I centered my fist again and gave another huge pull upwards and this time a big glob of food shot out of Manson’s mouth. Never in my life have I been so happy to see a big glob of slimy, partially digested food. Never. Trying to take stock of what just went down, I sit on the floor and give myself a second to think. Manson waddles back to his food bowl and continues eating, like nothing ever happened and I take deep breaths, reach for the Skinny Girl Margarita and pour myself a much needed cocktail.
Alive and well, little Manosn poises proudly next to my CPR credentials.