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Youngsters learn how to administer CPR to their dogs

By Staff | Jun 17, 2015

Jillian Cajigas, 11, checks the dog for its pulse during a summer camp at the Sanibel Recreation Center that taught pet first aid. MEGHAN MCCOY

One by one, youngsters breathed into a dog’s nose on a stuffed animal while holding its mouth closed, all while counting one one thousand, two one thousand in an effort to save their pet’s life during a summer camp.

Kaia Miller, 11, said she wanted to take the summer camp because she has two dogs at home.

“We have a little dog and I’m always worried she will get hurt,” she said, adding that she wants to help her dog if a situation rises.

Before the youngsters practiced breathing techniques and life saving skills on the stuffed animals, they watched a few short videos that explained how to administer breathing for their pet. The videos also explained what a dog’s normal temperature should be and what signs to look for if the pet is not feeling well.

Sanibel Recreation Center Aquatics Supervisor Natalya Maddix told the campers that instead of putting their mouth around the dog’s nose, they can create a breathing aid from a plastic bottle. The top portion of the bottle is cut and the edges are taped to eliminate any sharp edges.

Kaia Miller, 11, practices Heimlich maneuver on a stuffed dog Tuesday afternoon during a pet first aid summer camp at the Sanibel Recreation Center. MEGHAN MCCOY

The breathing aid is placed over the dog’s nose before an individual should breathe into it with two to three seconds between until it breathes on its own.

The class also taught the youngsters how to find their animal’s heart beat by placing their finger on the dog’s hind legs. Once the pulse is found, Kaia said she learned that she should squish her dog like a sandwich to help it start breathing again.

In addition to rescue breathing, the camp also taught the youngsters how to help an animal if its choking and how to control its bleeding.

The youngsters were also instructed to have a first aid kit for their animals that included such items as gauze pads, peroxide, eye wash and a muzzle.

The weeklong camp at the Sanibel Recreation Center, which is aimed for 11 to 15 year olds, also touched upon babysitting techniques and junior lifeguarding.

Sanibel Recreation Center Aquatics Supervisor Natalya Maddix taught 15 youngsters babysitting techniques, pet first aid and junior lifeguarding during a weeklong camp at the Sanibel Recreation Center. MEGHAN MCCOY

Kaia said she is now a little more equipped to watch her 5-year-old brother after taking the babysitting course. She said she learned that she has to watch her brother to make sure he does not get into anything, especially after watching a video on hazards around the house.

The summer camp also taught Kaia how to change a diaper, which will come in handy when watching her cousin.

Maddix said the camp also teaches the youngsters about the business of babysitting, how to build a resume, what to do when working with different age groups, learning how to properly pick up a baby and a toddler and how to properly feed a child.

She said they like to hold the camp at the beginning of the summer, so the youngsters can start babysitting and dog sitting. She said since there are a lot of seasonal people on the island, dog sitting has become a booming business.

“A lot of people don’t like kenneling their dogs,” Maddix said.

The junior lifeguarding portion of the camp also focuses on AED training, a piece of equipment that delivers shocks and restarts the heart.

Kaia said she was looking forward to learning how to use an AED.

By the end of the camp, the kids learned how to give CPR to infants, children, adults, cats and dogs.

Maddix said they set a new attendance record this year with 15 kids for the weeklong camp. In the past, they have had seven to eight kids register for the summer camp.

Throughout the year, the pet first aid course is taught as a standalone class, which many adults take.

“So many people have animals,” Maddix said.