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18th Feb 2013

An Unusual Rescue: Quick-Thinking Irish Coast Guard Volunteer Saves Dog By Performing CPR

Gary Creighton has been dubbed a hero after his quick-thinking saved the life of a three-year-old dog named Hector.

An Irish coast guard volunteer has been dubbed a hero after saving the life of a dog by performing CPR on it.

The Irish Independent reports that Hector, a three-year-old collie, stopped breathing when a ball got stuck in his throat. However, Gary Creighton, a volunteer at the Skerries Coast Guard, carried out CPR on the dog and brought him back to life.

“If it wasn’t for Gary and the Skerries Coast Guard, there is no doubt that Hector would be dead,” said Colette Connolly, Hector’s owner.

Every single morning, Colette and her two dogs (Hector and Libby) go for a run on the south beach at Rush in county Dublin.

“We were playing ball and it bounded high and as he jumped up to catch it he twisted and landed badly on his back legs. The ball went way down the back of his throat,” said Colette.

“I could feel it in his throat with my hand and I started trying to push it back up his throat. He was getting short of breath and collapsed on to the sand. I was trying to stay calm and must have spent eight miutes trying to push the ball back up out of his throat,” said Colette.

Every morning Colette takes Hector for a run on the beach

Colette said she was just about to give up, when she saw a jeep on the beach. Luckily for Colette and Hector, it was Gary, a Skerries Coast Guard volunteer.

Gary, who is a fully trained ‘cardiac first responder’ and an officer in the Order of Malta in Balbriggan said: “I just thought okay, what would I do to relieve choking in a person – he was a pretty big dog so I started doing chest compressions.”

As Gary did chest compressions on Hector, Colette kept trying to push the ball up the dog’s throat. Eventually they were successful and Hector coughed up the ball.

“His heart started to beat and he began breathing. I just threw my arms around Gary. He was like an angel coming from heaven to our rescue,” said Colette.

Vanessa Gaffney, the officer in charge with Skerries Coast Guard, said it was the first time in living memory that an animal was rescued using advanced first aid.

Hector is one lucky dog and, if anything, the story of his rescue just shows how versatile and amazing Irish rescue workers are, especially during a crisis.