Would you know what to do if your cat was having a seizure or your dog was choking? What about transporting an injured animal from a road traffic accident safely or advising the vet on an animals condition? What about the symptoms for bloat, or heart disease or heat stroke? If the answer is No to any one of these questions then you will definitely learn something on the Furbabies First Aid course.
The course is taken by Aoife Morrow a local vet who now only works with small animals. She, in conjunction with http://www.dogactivitiesni.co.uk are organising and running courses across Northern Ireland and you can even bring your dog along !
The full course lasts around three hours, that includes a break for the pups and tea and coffee for the owners! If you don’t want to bring your dog Aoife has her own “model” stuffed pup, or Murphy was quite happy to volunteer as patient for some of the other attendees on our course .
The first 90 mins or so focus on the theory, Aoife has helpful handouts that you can take notes on and have the key points around the topics she is discussing. There are also a number of videos demonstrating techniques like the abdominal thrust for choking or CPR which is great as obviously we are not practicing that on our pups!
The handouts are clear and you cover a lot in a short space of time, but there was also plenty of opportunity to ask questions and share stories with the other participants about our own “emergency” experiences and also get some truths from Aoife on the seriousness of things like bloat, poisonings and Diabetes as just a few examples.
Post a perk up cup of coffee and a toilet break for the pups we then started to get into some of the practical learning . Dogs vital signs , finding the pulse and measuring heart rate / breaths / levels of dehydration. I really enjoyed this part, and was pleased Murphy let me poke and prod, check his eyes, his gums etc. I will now feel so much more confident in assessing his condition before making that expensive trip to Vets Now on a bank holiday ( it’s always a bank holiday !) . We also talked about bleeding and haemorrhage and so bandaging class ensued with again some surprisingly willing volunteers !
We had a nice relaxed evening , made some new friends (Hi Valerie and Amy and @bailey_sheprador !), I will be updating my first aid kit in the car with some pet essentials, practicing getting to know what is the “norm” for Murphy’s vitals and displaying my Pet First Aid certificate with pride. If you want any more information the website is www.furbabiesfirstaid.co.ukand on FB / IG its @furbabiesfirstaid .
PS All the dogs enjoyed the session, there was no pressure put on the dogs to take part – they were all willing participants with minimal treat enticement and plenty of play breaks.