Orcas Fire saves choking dog

Firefighters do more than rescue a cat stuck in a tree. They also dislodge vegetables from a dog’s throat.

When Chantelle Hildreth’s 9-pound toy poodle Tuffy started choking on a piece of broccoli late in the evening on March 22, she knew exactly what to do: the Heimlich. She had recently seen on Facebook how to do the maneuver on canines, so she gave it a go.

“He’s so tiny, it was weird doing it,” Hildreth said.

Unfortunately, the broccoli stayed in his windpipe, and Tuffy was starved for air. He was limp and his tongue was turning purple. With the vet’s office closed, Hildreth and her daughter Stormy jumped in the car and drove straight to the Orcas Fire Department, which is just a few minutes from their house.

On their way there, Stormy continuously thumped Tuffy on his back, and the broccoli moved just enough for him to take shallow breaths. When they arrived, firefighter and EMT Cory Harrington immediately set to work assessing the dog’s condition. He was joined by paramedic Patrick Shepler to further dislodge the obstruction, which was already on its way out. Harrington said it was his very first canine save.

“Tuffy was so grateful,” Chantelle said. “He doesn’t love everybody but he was right there with Corey doing his wiggly dance. He was so happy when he could really breathe again.”

Tuffy, who is an 8-year-old rescue, was very grateful to return home in better health than when he left.

“He didn’t move from my arms for the entire night,” said Chantelle.

Heimlich maneuver for canines

For information on how to help your choking dog, visit https://www.petmd.com/dog/emergency/common-emergencies/e_dg_choking.

There are different ways to perform the maneuver depending on the size of the dog.