For the first time, East Texas pet owners had the opportunity to learn how to take care of their cats and dogs in an emergency situation. Saturday morning, the American Red Cross held a Pet First Aid Course, which is designed to teach pet owners how to give immediate care to injured animals before they are taken to a vet.
Has your cat or dog ever swallowed something it shouldn't have? Has your pet ever got in a fight with another animal, or been hit by something? If you answered yes, then this first aid class might be for you.
"We've all experienced that panic feeling when we know something is wrong with our pet, and you know what's normal for your pet," said Pet First Aid Course Instructor Susan Allen. "It gives you the opportunity to hopefully administer first aid to help your pet until you can get professional care."
Saturday, a group of East Texans learned everything from how to carry an injured pet, to helping an animal who's choking, to yes, even CPR. "There are a lot of similarities between pet first aid and CPR and first aid for people, so this allows you to know the differences and what you can do for your pet to give aid," said Allen.
Pet owner Susan McLain of Athens says she had to perform CPR on her dog, and is happy a first aid course for pets is finally being offered. "She had gotten hit in the head, and she had quite breathing and was unresponsive," said McLain. "I'm glad they are finally focusing on animals that are injured because I have always wondered if I had done the right thing."
For Ken Vogel, an Animal Control Officer in Longview, the class is an opportunity to learn skills he can use everyday. "A lot of times we are the first one on the scene, so we need to know what to do to minimize the injury to the dog by giving the first aid," said Vogel.
It's knowledge these East Texans say every pet owner should know because like people, anything can happen at anytime.
The American Red Cross says it hopes to offer the course every month. The next Pet First Aid Course will be Saturday, April 21st from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. It's being held at Pets and Friends located on Highway 110 North in Tyler. It costs $35.00. To register call 903-526-7400.