As a young mother, Virginia Marchetti decided to learn first aid so she'd know what to do in case one of her children got hurt. As her children grew older, she took two refresher courses in CPR and first aid from the American Red Cross to make sure her skills were up to date.
"I wanted to be prepared for any emergency, and it seemed like the cautious thing to do," she says.
In November 2007, her Red Cross training paid off. Marchetti saved the life of a family member – one with four legs, not two.
The day began like any other. After the children left for school, Marchetti fed her two dogs and was going about her routine chores. All of a sudden she saw her four-year-old dog, Gryffin, lying on the rug beside her, looking like he was about to throw up.
“His eyes were bulging and his neck was extended in a funny manner,” says Marchetti. “He looked like he would vomit, and I realized he was choking.”
Quickly moving into rescue mode, Marchetti lifted Gryffin’s front paws, put her hands under his stomach and gave him a quick upward thrust. Nothing happened, so she did it again, a little harder this time. Out flew a couple of pieces of dog food.
Marchetti says she owes her lifesaving skills to the Red Cross First Aid classes she took 27 years ago. “I’m glad I knew what to do the day Gryffin choked,” she says.
About 60 percent of all households in the United States have a pet. (Source: American Veterinary Medical Association)
About 60 million dogs and about 75 million cats are owned in the United States alone. (Source: Pet Food Institute)
One in four pets that died could have been saved with the use of appropriate first aid procedures. (American Animal Hospital Association)
Preventable accidents are the leading cause of death in pre-senior dogs and cats.
More about pet first aid
Pet CPR First Aid
Pet First Aid Kits