Father saves dog's life with CPR - Could you do the same?
PUBLISHED: 16:47 15 October 2019 | UPDATED: 16:47 15 October 2019
Jamie Honeywood Archant Norwich Norfolk
A quick-thinking father who jumped into action to save his dog's life hopes to inspire others to be ready for an emergency.
Within minutes of Mark Turrell walking Hugo, a fox red labrador retriever, and Henry, an eight-year-old black labrador retriever, in Lowestoft's Normanston Park, the Gorleston man was giving Hugo CPR after it died in his arms.
The four-year-old, who went into cardiac arrest after swallowing his ball, has since made a full recovery, and his owner hopes others take stock of what could have been.
Mr Turrell, of East Anglian Way, said: "I take them to Normanston Park everyday because it is a much cleaner park to walk dogs in.
"It was the same as any other day. I left the house at 6.45am and when they got to the park they ran out after their balls.
"They came running back and Hugo stopped and started choking. I could feel a big bulge on his fur but I couldn't see anything in his mouth. It was stuck and he swallowed it further down. He was really struggling. I started screaming for help and Henry was running up and down. He could tell something was wrong and he was panicking."
After being unable to push the ball up from the outside, or pull it from his throat, Hugo stopped breathing.
Mr Turrell, a staff helmsman with the RNLI Search and Rescue in London, said: "Hugo's eyes rolled back into his head and his tongue fell out. His body went completely limp in my arms.
"He wasn't breathing and I knew he was dead but I had to do something. All of his muscles relaxed so I could knock the ball up enough to yank it from his mouth. Because I'd taken the time to research how to perform CPR on a dog I knew what to do.
"I was hysterical and crying and bleeding all over him because he bit my fingers by accident when he was struggling.
"It seemed like forever but it was probably two or three minutes and eventually his foot started twitching.
"His heart was beating again and he opened his eyes and licked his lips.
"I bundled him up and rushed him to the vet."
Thanks to his owner's quick reactions, Hugo has made a full recovery from the incident, although had to be closely watched in the days following.
Mr Turrell said: "The fact that he had been running around meant his heart had been pumping enough oxygen for his brain when he stopped breathing.
"It is not a case of being fine once they start breathing again. Like people, they can rearrest so the next 72 hours were vital.
"I was trying to calm people down because we weren't out of the woods.
"That weekend was intense. I didn't sleep that night and I woke him up three or four times because I wasn't sure he was breathing, which he didn't appreciate.
"We have always been close, but since then he has been following me around and getting under my feet. It is almost like he knows what happened.
"They are a massive part of the family and have got us through so much. I owe it to them.
"I take them every morning come rain or shine and it is the best part of the day.
"Next to my children being born it was probably the best moment of my life seeing him start to move again, because watching him die was horrific."
Mr Turrell first learned about giving the lifesaving technique to dogs during an event hosted by the Supervet Noel Fitzpatrick, which he attended through his work with the RNLI in London.
He said: "This isn't about me. It's about the fact that no one I have talked to since had any idea of how to give a dog CPR.
"For me, it is a crusade. Time is of the essence. The time it takes to make a phone call or get to a vet is too long.
"People don't need to go out their way to attend a course, just go on YouTube while having a cup of tea in the morning.
"Everyone who owns a dog should know how to do it.
"It is so simple to do once you know about it.
"It was what needed to be done. Either you start it or you leave them dead.
"When it is your dog it is even more stressful and upsetting but I would do it for anyone's pet."