Chiswick RNLI Helmsman's Skills Save His Dog

Mark Turrell now wants to encourage other dog owners to learn first aid

Hugo wearing Lifeboats bandana from Mark Turrell
Hugo wearing Lifeboats bandana from Mark Turrell

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The skills of a local RNLI volunteer were put to use recently during an incident involving his own pet. He is now on a mission to encourage dog owners to learn how to carry out potentially life-saving CPR for animals.

While walking his dog Chiswick lifeboat Helmsman Mark Turrell’s labrador Hugo, choked on a ball and his heart stopped.

Mark said ‘Hugo’s eyes rolled back and he went completely limp in my arms. He wasn’t breathing, I knew he was dead but I had to do something. Suddenly his muscles relaxed so I could remove the ball from his mouth. I’d learnt how to perform CPR on a dog so I knew what to do. I was desperate and bleeding all over him because he had bitten my fingers while he was still struggling.’

‘It seemed like forever but it was probably just two or three minutes before his paw started twitching. His heart was beating again and he licked his lips.’

Hugo has made a full recovery and Mark is on a mission to encourage dog owners to learn how to carry out CPR on their pets. Along with all the crew on the lifeboat he has extensive first aid trading from the RNLI for his search and rescue job.

Mark expanded this knowledge to deal with dogs at a special event hosted by supervet Noel Fitzpatrick. Mark added “you don’t necessarily need to go on a course, just go on YouTube, everyone who owns a dog should know how to do it.’

Chiswick lifeboat crews have rescued many dogs and encourage owners not to go in after their dog if it is in difficulty in the water, but to ring 999 and ask for the coastguard. The RNLI lifeboat can be on scene in minutes and deal with the situation before it becomes serious.

Chiswick RNLI lifeboat station is the second busiest in the UK and Ireland. Since The RNLI search and rescue service on the Thames started in 2002, Chiswick Lifeboat has attended over 3,500 incidents and rescued over 1,750 people, and dozens of dogs. The RNLI is entirely funded by public donations.

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October 17, 2019

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