Giving a dog mouth-to-mouth, even a rubber version, was far from what I expected to be doing on a Sunday afternoon.
But that is one of the top items on a new course which was rolled out in Inveraldie to a packed Tealing Hall as part of Dog First Aid’s latest lecture.
And I learned from franchise owner and instructor Catherine Phillips that the life-saving move is actually delivered as mouth-to-snout while covering the dog’s mouth.
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The people who turned out, while braving the weekend storms, voted the event a huge success as they picked up vital tips from dealing with a range of dog disasters including seizures, poisoning, burns and even splitting up fights.
Catherine runs the courses all over Scotland and is looking to take on more help while demand grows for the service.
She said: “I worked in the oil industry for more than 30 years before losing my job. I was a project manager and travelled all over the world, so training people is not new to me.
“I started last January and now I’ve delivered more than 50 courses from Lockerbie right up to Alness and Fort William.
“And it has been proving popular in Dundee, Perth and Fife. The course is going to be four hours long from March 1 and I will be teaching students various techniques from breaking up dog fights to spotting signs of illness.
“After my first course last year a friend of mine who was on it noticed the very next day that her dog had been suffering seizures and took it straight to the vet where it was diagnosed with an immune disease called Cushings and put on medication.
“It turned out the dog had had it for a while but the signs were not obvious until she had taken the course.”
The dog first aid training costs £50 and provides a CPD (continued professional development) certificate for those who pass the questions session and has to be renewed after three years.
Catherine told how she turned from delivering projects aimed at multi-million-pound oil companies to teaching people how to save dogs’ lives.
She explained: “After I lost my job when the oil industry hit bad times I wasn’t sure what to do next.
“Then someone I know asked me to look after their dog for the day and at the end of it they gave me money and I refused. But then they said that this was what they would pay their regular dog walker.
“After that I researched a few jobs with dogs and noticed that the company Dog First Aid ran courses and had people coming from England up to Aberdeen to deliver them. So they had nobody based there and I saw it as an opportunity.
“Now I have the franchise for the emergency canine care courses up here and absolutely love my job. You meet the nicest people and it is giving something back.”
Caitlyn Ireland, 21, from Fife, said: “I travelled all the way from Dunfermline and it was a bit of a nightmare with road and bridge closures, but it was well worth it. The course is really good.
“It was interesting and helpful for me and great for my work with Penny’s Paws, a dog and pet service.”
And Ellen Giacchetto, 23, from Broughty Ferry, added: “I am a dog walker with ERG Pet Services and this has been very worthwhile, great value for money.
“It covered lot of areas and was humorous too.”