When we first get a pet we don’t necessarily think of all the things that can go wrong. Sure, we might do some research into breed specific health problems, maybe we look into pet insurance, and hopefully when we get a kitten or puppy we proof the house to make sure their curiosity doesn’t get them in trouble. But we certainly don’t lay awake at night trying to come up with various scenarios of things going haywire. Well, maybe some of us do…
After Rocco’s bizarre accident, sitting at the vet’s, my mind was going miles a second storming through all the “usual” mishap: dog gets its tail caught in the door, cat falls off the balcony, dog gets hit by a car, dog twists its paw, cat gets its eye scratched, poked, stabbed….and so on….ad nauseam
That’s when I realized that even though I have years of experience living and working with animals, I am not fully prepared for potential accidents. I decided to do some research and that’s when I found about Lisa and her pet care business Walks’n’Wags. Amongst many other excellent services, she also offers Pet First Aid classes. Not giving it a second thought, I signed up right away, and believe me that was money well spent! It does not matter if you work in the pet industry or you’re simply a pet owner, I highly recommend taking a pet first aid class. You can ask your vet or do a search on the internet to find classes offered outside of Vancouver.
I had a very general idea of what pet first aid is going to be about, but it turned out to be so much more than just CPR and securing a broken tail. Most of the class we discussed how to PREVENT accidents from happening, how to recognize and avoid dangers and how to look for symptoms of conditions that that can be easily treated before they turn into something more serious.
The class offers something interesting to all pet owners as it is not divided into cat or dog blocks. Issues are discussed as they apply to both, and it should be kept in mind that what applies to a cat is often true for a small dog. There was, of course, a practical component to the class. We started out practicing on plush toys:
After mummifying our little plush buddies, we moved on to the live subjects who graciously allowed us to touch, poke and probe them. We had Lisa’s dog, Buddy, and Rocco to test our skills on.
Rocco was very patient with our attempts to save his life. A bit confused…but patient.
After passing a practical life saving, attending to injured animal test, we had just under an hour to complete a written exam (multiple choice, easy-breezy). I am happy to report that all participants passed and are out on the streets, ready to assist a pet in distress. And as to Rocco: he survived!
I must say that having these skills and resources (first aid kit and a book and pamphlets) made me feel much better prepared to handle an emergency situation. It is empowering to know the proper steps and actions rather than trying to make educated guesses in an already stressful situation.