While walking his dog Chiswick lifeboat Helmsman Mark Turrell’s labrador Hugo, choked on a ball and his heart stopped.
‘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.’
Image credit: Mark Turrell
‘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 do CPR on their pets.
Along with all the crew on the lifeboat, he has extensive first aid training from the RNLI for his search and rescue job. Mark expanded this knowledge to deal with dogs at a special event hosted by super vet 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 the scene in a matter of minutes and can deal with the situation before it becomes dangerous.
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.