Editor’s Note: This news story was written for my Media Writing class at Southeast Community College and so it has a different style than my regular articles. I’ll follow-up with a second article in June that focuses on Arden Moore herself.
National Pet Health and Safety Coach Arden Moore helped Sadie Dog Fund celebrate its tenth anniversary in a unique way this past April.
Moore taught two four-and-a-half-hour Pet First Aid classes over the April 21 and 22 weekend, at the completion of which twenty-one students received a two-year certification.
Participants learned the items that should be included in a pet first aid kit, three different CPR techniques, handling tips in the event of bites, burns, bleeding, choking, broken bones, poison, and severe weather, and how to give a nose-to-tail wellness check.
Sadie Dog Fund was founded in 2007 by Pam Hoffman to help families keep their pets with emergency funds.
After Moore appeared on Cathy Blythe’s Problems and Solutions show on KFOR-Radio as a guest, Hoffman contacted her about holding Pet First Aid classes in Lincoln.
Hoffman wanted to bring Arden to Lincoln out of the belief that knowing pet first aid may empower pet lovers with knowledge to save their pet’s life in emergency situations before getting them to a veterinarian. To her, helping people “learn to save their own pet’s life goes hand in paw with what we believe in.”
Moore’s visit to Lincoln trip took over six months to plan.
Interviewed participants described the class as useful, fun, and worth the cost and time.
“I hope I never have to use my newly-learned skills,” said participant Melissa Ripley, “but I feel very prepared if I do. Ripley is an officer with the Lincoln Police Department and the volunteer coordinator for Second Chance Pups, a rescue group that pairs unwanted dogs in need of training with inmates at the Nebraska State Penitentiary.
Participants were able to practice pet first aid skills on a real dog and cat. Moore brings her safety dog Kona and safety cat Casey to assist in her classes.
One skill that a few participants have already put into practice is the wellness exam.
In this exam, pet owners check a pet’s vitals including pulse and temperature. They also perform a head-to-tail check for bumps, lumps, or other irregularities.
Hoffman said that she specifically uses the exam when camping to check between her dog’s toes for ticks.
The skill that participants said they’re most likely to use in the future is cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
Proper CPR increases the chance, Moore said, that pets will survive a cardiopulmonary Arrest, which occurs when a pet has stopped breathing and its heart has stopped.
Participants took turns giving CPR to Moore’s teaching pets. They each pulled the pet’s tongue forward, finger swept the pet’s mouth, gave 30 chest compressions and two mouth-to-snout breaths, and reassessed by checking the femoral artery for a pulse.
“I can use CPR in the future if ever on a call for service where an animal needs it,” said Ripley. “As a cop, we also respond to fires with Lincoln Fire and Rescue, and often the pets need assistance too.”
The director of the Second Chance Pups program, Kim Ostermann, said that sometimes one of the dogs in their program will have a minor injury, and she’s now better-prepared to handle the situation.
In other emergencies, a pet may have a heartbeat and still be breathing but still need help.
Professional pet sitter, Collette Schwindt, said now she knows what to do if a pet starts to choke.
Participants took turns mock practicing the Heimlich on Moore’s teaching pets. It’s basically performed the same way as it’s performed on people.
For small dogs, people should stand and hug their pet with the pet’s back touching their stomach. Then hold the pet with one arm around the pet’s abdomen. Make a fist with the other hand and thrust inward and up three to five times to dislodge the object. Give rescue breaths.
For medium and large dogs, people should stand behind their dog and place both arms around the dog’s waist. Then interlock hands and make a fist. Place thumbs against the spot beneath the ribcage and thrust inward and upward three to five times. Give rescue breaths.
Moore had focused on health and behavior in pets for much of her career, when in 2011 she realized she was missing the critical component of pet first aid.
After she completed a couple of pet first aid/CPR courses, she taught classes herself, and then became certified as a master instructor in pet first aid/CPR.
Moore stays current in pet first aid by shadowing Dr. Mike LoSasso, a board-certified emergency/critical care veterinarian in Texas. In addition, she consults top veterinarians who serve on her Pet First Aid 4U advisory board.
“I also continue to take classes taught by leading pet first aid experts,” Moore added, “I feel it is important to always be both a student and a teacher. It is important to stay current on the latest pet first aid/safety protocols and share them with my students.”
Participants who registered for Moore’s April 21-22 Pet First Aid Class had distinct reasons for wanting to attend.
Osterman felt it was the right time and place. “I’ve always wanted to take this,” Ripley said, “but wanted to take it from a reputable person, and never found one in this area that I liked.” Schwindt believes that as a pet sitter she might need to save a pet someday.
On the Friday prior to the pet first aid classes, Moore also gave a Pet Behavior Talk. Proceeds from the entrance fee of $10 were donated by Moore to Sadie Dog Fund.
All three classes were held at the Woodsmen Life building, a location secured for Sadie Dog Fund by Schwindt and her sister, Colleen Kadavy, who serves as a board member on Woodmen Life.
Participants won pet-related prizes collected from donors by Moore, Hoffman, Schwindt, and Kadavy.
“Sadie Dog Fund is very happy that we could bring Arden Moore to Lincoln, Nebraska, for all of our pet loving friends,” said Hoffman. “If pets can be kept alive and at home with their families because of these classes, Sadie Dog Fund has accomplished our mission.”
Moore expressed appreciation as well to all the people who made her visit possible. “It was wonderful to be able to donate all admissions to my pet behavior talk to Pam Hoffman’s Sadie Dog Fund,” Moore said. “We estimate we raised about $500 or more for that non-profit. I loved meeting the pet people of Lincoln! People came ready to learn practical info on how to improve the lives of their pets.”