I never used to be a pet lover, until Daniel came into my life. A little white mutt, who was given to my wife by the gas station owner. A small dog, Daniel weighte only about 10-15 pounds soaking wet. But, that little dog had such a personality, that he would make everyone laugh everywhere I took him. .We bonded right away, and he would go everywhere with me...the grocery store...post office...on errands...whenever I went jogging, he came along and he loved it.
One day, I was doing a little surfing on the computer, and out of the corner of my eye, I was watching a television talk show in the middle of the afternoon. The show was about a variety of things, but what caught my attention was the part where they were talking about something called the Heimlic maneuver, which the dictionary describes as:
An emergency techniue used to eject an object, such as food, from the
trachea of a choking person. The technique employees a firm upward
thrust just below the rib cage to force air from the lungs.
I had heard about the technique before, but I had never used it and I have never seen it used by anyone. But, what was interesting on the show, is that they were talking about the technique could not only be used on humans...but, how the technique could be used on pets, too. This fact caught my interest and I stopped what I was doing on the computer and watched and listened to what was being said, etc.
I was hoping I would never have to use this technique on Daniel, but you never know...dogs are so unpredictable in their behavior. A further description of the technique, as I would describe it, is to grab the person from the back-side in a bear-hug and apply pressure in the stomach area to force the object choking the person out...and to force air in, etc. I didn't know the technique could apply to a pet as well, so I learned something new! I made a few notes during the show, that may come in handy for the future.
When it came to walking and jogging, I had been doing it for over 15 years at the time, jogging about 10-15 miles per week. I would take Daniel with me, and he loved to get out in the open spaces and run. I would take him off the leash and let him run to his content. But, I would always keep a close eye on Daniel...he took off after a rabbit once, crossed the highway and almost got run over by a car. Dogs don't know anything about looking both ways before crossing a busy street.
On this day, it was a hot August afternoon, when Daniel and I were doing a little walking and jogging. As I said earlier, I don't have a lot of experience with dogs, but it seems like they're always hungry...always looking for something to eat! Even if they have just finished eating, they're still in the bushes looking for something to eat...and if they find something...they'll eat it! There are a lot of dangerous things out there that will kill a dog like anti-freeze; sharp old bird bones, and other objects which they may swallow.
Instead of naming him Daniel, I should have named him "Hoover," because he always sucks up everything in sight, and I have to watch him like a little baby! Anyway, as we were out in the field walking and cooling off, Daniel was behind me about 20 feet or so, and I would check on him from time to time to make sure he was okay. And, then it happened...
I looked back to check on Daniel and he had something in his mouth! It looked like an old piece of hamburger meat in his mouth. I screamed at him to DROP IT...DROP IT...I yelled...DROP IT DANIEL...I screamed at him as I ran up to him. But, instead of dropping the object...he swallowed it! In an instant, he was upsidedown on the ground and choking...suffocating! His little legs were going a mile a minute as he struggled to get air!
As I saw this happen, I came apart! I had no idea what to do! I raced up to Daniel as fast as I could get there, but what was I going to do to save his life? Daniel was going to die in seconds if I didn't help him! And, I had to do something FAST...it was PANIC TIME, and there was nobody around to help! I only had seconds to act...and very quickly, I remembered the television show about the Heimlich maneuver...but, how would I do it to Daniel...he was so small. I couldn't get him in a bear-hug to force the object out of his throat. Daniel was dying, and tears were streaming down my face, and I was terrified he was going to die im my arms!
Sweat was pouring down my face and neck by the gallons, as I thought of what to do! I picked Daniel up by the fur on the back of the neck, and punched him in the stomach...NOTHING HAPPENED! I paniced even more when nothing happened! Thinking I did not hit him hard enough, I was going to have to punch him in the stomach harder, even if I hurt him! Better to have a live dog, with broken ribs...than to have a dead dog!
I had never been so frightened in my entire life...as seconds were ticking away...sweat and tears were pouring down my face and getting into my eyes. I quickly decided to give Daniel one of my best Mohaamed Ali punches just below the rib cage! POW! I hit Daniel HARD...and to my surprise, the object came flying out of his mouth and landed about six feet away! Huffing and puffing...and sweat coming down my face...I could see Daniel could breath now, and I didn't care if I hurt him or not...this was a matter of life and death!
Huffing and puffing...I laid Daniel on the ground...he was going to be okay...and I let him rest up for a while. Tears and gallons of sweat poured down my face and neck! I was soaking wet in just a few minutes in the hot August sun! Daniel laid on the ground, and he looked up at me with those big brown eyes as if to say "thanks."
I must have lost 30 pounds in 30 seconds that awful day, and I cannot express the relief I felt as I knew Daniel would be all right. Both of us were exhausted! I let Daniel rest on the ground for a few minutes, but I didn't want him in the sun too long, so it was time to get back to the car and go home! I got him up on his feet, and he seemed a little wobbly, and I put him over my shoulder where he liked to ride...and we headed back to the car! I have to say that those were the most terrifying 30 seconds of my life...but it all had a happy ending after all.
* * *
A few days later, I told one of my neighbors about the incident with Daniel, because, he too, has a dog and the story about Daniel was interesting to him. Amazingly, an incident with his dog happened to him a couple of weeks later.
The neighbor's dog must have eaten something that didn't agree with him, and the dog got violently sick! The dog was laying on it side...throwing up and was having trouble breathing! The neighbor remembered the story I told him about Daniel, so he punched the dog in the stomach, between the ribs, and the dog threw up! But, the dog was still having trouble breathing, and he thought the dog would choke on his own vomit! So, he punched the dog in the stomach again, and now, the dog was able to breath on his own! The dog's life was saved, and it was another happy ending!