Island resident rescues dog with CPR

When Daniel Island resident Tricia Peterson realized that what she thought was a palm frond floating on top of her pool was actually Macie, the bulldog she was dog sitting for a friend, she immediately went into panic mode.

Once she removed Macie from the pool, Peterson explained she thought there was no hope. A retired medical professional and willing to do anything to save the dog, she quickly began performing CPR.

“At first, I started shaking her, trying to get her to come to,” she said. “She was not responsive at all. Her tongue was purple and her eyes were open. All I kept thinking was that she was dead. I knew that she hadn’t been in there very long, so in my mind a part of me was like, ‘She can’t be dead. There’s no way.’ I started doing compressions and then I started doing mouth to mouth.”

When Macie was unresponsive to the CPR, Peterson quickly called her husband, who advised that she take the dog to the Daniel Island Animal Hospital. She followed her husband’s instructions and when she arrived at the vet’s office, a miracle happened.

“I kept doing compressions until we got to the Daniel Island Animal Hospital,” said Peterson. “I literally pulled up front and as soon as I got up there, she blinked and all of this water came out of her mouth.”

After Dr. Matt Hosking, the veterinarian that was on the case, hooked Macie up to oxygen and stabilized her, she was transferred to the local Emergency Animal Clinic, where she would receive various tests and monitored care through the night, added Peterson.

“Although Dr. Hosking said she was going to be fine, I was still worried,” she said. “Bulldogs have a lot of respiratory issues, so I was worried about pneumonia and other things happening. Her parents were out of town, so we had taken her into the emergency vet for them to monitor her that night, just to make sure she didn’t show any signs of developing pneumonia or anything. They did every test known to man and didn’t find any water in her lungs or anything. She is completely fine.”

According to Hosking, if it were not for Peterson’s quick thinking to conduct CPR, Macie may not have made it. When freak accidents such as a drowning happen, the first and most critical thing to do is recognize if there is a need to resuscitate the animal, he added.

“I’d say number one is realizing the dog needs CPR, because in the moment when you’re freaking out, it can be easy to do it on a dog that really doesn’t need it,” said Hosking. “…If the dog is unconscious and you are able to perform CPR, you can start doing that. If the dog is conscious, then just rush them in to a veterinarian, which is what Tricia did. She performed CPR and got the dog awake and brought her over here.”

The way one conducts CPR on an animal is much different than it would be done on a person, added Hosking. Although this is true, the basic concepts are the same—chest compressions and rescue breathing.

“The chest compressions are actually more important,” said Hosking. “If it’s just one person there and you feel like you can’t do both, just focus on the compressions. If it’s a small dog or cat, you can just do it with on hand around their chest. You just squeeze your hands together. If it’s a large dog, you can lay them on their side, put both hands on the largest part of their chest and push.”

If this ever happens, a good tip to remember is to do chest compressions to the beat of the Bee Gee’s song, ‘Staying Alive,’ Hosking continued.

“If you do it to that beat, you are doing it at a good pace,” said Hosking. “If you do decide to do rescue breathing or there are two people there, definitely do both. For that, you just want to extend their head and neck, check their air way to make sure there is nothing blocking, try to pull their tongue out a little bit so that’s not blocking. Then, depending on the size of the animal, if you can fit their snout into your mouth, you can do it that way. If not, you can try and close their mouth and breathe through their nose.”

When doing rescuing breathing, he added, it is important to give a full breath until you can visually see the animal’s chest rise.

“Do like three to five breaths and wait a few seconds to see if they start breathing, then kind of repeat that until hopefully they start breathing again,” he said.

While conducting CPR on a furry friend may seem intimidating, it could be what saves their life, explained Hosking. In order to educate the public on proper life-saving techniques and hopefully prevent any freak accidents, the Daniel Island Animal Hospital is currently trying to coordinate with Trident Technical College to hold a Pet Emergency Course on the island.

“One of the things they go through is how to do CPR, but they also assess choking, heat stroke, different types of injuries and different types of situations,” said Hosking. “We’re not sure on a date or place yet. It’s great, even as us as vets. We don’t see a ton of emergencies in our general practice and don’t typically look for them. It’s always a good refresher.”

The course will be $49. Anyone who is interested in taking the course in the future should contact Daniel Island Animal Hospital Practice Manager Abby Suiter at for more information.

Daniel Island Publishing

225 Seven Farms Drive
Unit 108
Daniel Island, SC 29492 

Office Number: 843-856-1999
Fax Number: 843-856-8555


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