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Pet parents, professionals take pet CPR, first aid class

Episode Date: April 9, 2018
(DOVER, Del.) - At a time when seconds feel like minutes, Tom Rinelli – a seasoned veteran of pre-hospital emergency medical services for over 25 years – says it’s important for pet parents to always remain calm. 

“Try not to panic. It’s easier said than done. Just take a breath and say ‘OK, what’s going on and what do I need to do to fix the situation?’ Sometimes it might be just as simple as giving them a couple quick chest thrusts and force the object that they’re choking on out," said Rinelli.

Rinelli, owner of Paws N Class 911, has been a medic and an educator for 28 years. He’s been teaching pet CPR for five years and recently hit a milestone of training 700 students.

"We teach all over the northeast,” said Rinelli. “It’s a different concept and sometimes people think ‘Oh, do I really need this?’...But you don’t want to be in that situation going, ‘I don’t know what to do.’ You feel helpless.”

During the class, students perform various life-saving techniques, including CPR, bleeding control and emergency muzzling. The very skills that Rinelli says are needed when every second counts. 

"There’s no pet 9-1-1. You can’t simply call 9-1-1 for your pet. If we show up in a human ambulance and it’s a pet, we’re legally not allowed to transport them,” explained Rinelli. “We’re trying to fill the gap, because normally you have the emergency, you throw the dog in the car, you sprout wings and fly and go to the vet hospital, but that doesn’t always work because if the dog’s not breathing they’re still without oxygen for those 5, 10 minutes or however long it takes you to get there, and depending where you’re at you could be a considerable distance."

More than 60 pet parents and pet care professionals traveled near and far to attend this particular class in Dover, including Melissa Rodriguez, owner of The Pampered Pet Grooming Salon in Rehoboth Beach.

"I have been in business 18 years and I thought I knew everything and obviously I needed a refresher,” laughed Rodriguez. “I do dog grooming but I’m opening a doggy daycare and I need to be able to get my staff to feel comfortable if there’s some sort of emergency.”

"They eat it up — the pet parents, pet care professionals — because who doesn't want to help their pet? They're our four-legged furry kids, basically,” said Rinelli.


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