Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Mouth-to-Snout Resuscitation

CHICAGO - If a dog is man's best friend, a disabled U.S. Air Force veteran showed the feeling is mutual by saving his drowning pet with mouth-to-snout resuscitation and CPR.

Lucy, a 10-month-old English bulldog, chased ducks into a partly frozen lake near Randy Gurchin's home in Papillion, Nebraska, but quickly became paralyzed in the icy water and briefly went under.

The 50-pound (23-kg) dog was unresponsive and had a blue face and bloody foam around its muzzle when Gurchin, who flew combat missions over Iraq and Afghanistan, edged onto the ice.

"The ice started to crack under me. I just picked her up," he said. "I thought she was dead."

But Gurchin, 51, put his military first-aid training to use. He closed Lucy's mouth, put his mouth over her nose and started forcing air into her lungs and pushing on her chest.

Within minutes, the dog began breathing shallowly and was rushed to a nearby veterinarian.

Doctors soaked Lucy in warm water, injected steroids and muscle relaxants and put her in an oxygen chamber. She has since made a full recovery.

"Our little Lucy is back," said Gurchin's wife Kelley.

Her husband, who retired from the military with a back injury in 2005 and walks with a cane, has vowed not to let the dog out of his sight, she said.

"He would never say he loved her until this rescue mission," she said.

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