Glen Helen hosts pet first aid workshop and more

By Erin Callahan

Photo: Glen Helen’s Nov. 19 workshop aims to help pets, like this Boxer, and their owners in times of crisis

First aid kits, CPR training, and preparedness classes exist to help individuals and families prepare for emergencies, natural disasters, or even simple, everyday accidents. Accidents like when a preteen falls and sprains her ankle while playing soccer in the yard, or when a curious toddler finds something off limits, quickly pops it in his mouth, and ingests a poisonous substance while his parent’s back is turned.

In these moments, every action can be crucial to protect your family. For families who consider their pets to be part of the family and just as deserving of proper care in dire situations, that’s why pet first aid and CPR training exists.

On Saturday, Nov. 19, the Glen Helen Ecology Institute and certified instructor Bob Weisenberger will host a First Aid and CPR Workshop for pets at Glen Helen’s Camp Greene Lodge in Yellow Springs from 12–4 p.m. The workshop will primarily cover dogs and cats, and Weisenberger will review how to detect an injury or recognize an emergency and address it appropriately.

The CPR lessons will include hands-on demonstrations and exercises using dog and cat mannequins. Weisenberger will also review other emergencies such as broken bones, sprains, muscle injuries, illnesses, environmental situations such as heat or cold or how to handle an animal during a disaster. In terms of the most common injuries, he says it’s best to be prepared for anything.

“We cover just about everything that could be covered, because you never know,” he says. “Snake bites, if an animal got into electrical wires, going into certain weeds, and getting things in their eyes. There was one cat that someone was able to help after it had eaten four feet of string. Another dog had gotten hit by a car, and it was dead for all practical purposes. But someone who had taken a course with me stopped, checked the dog over, gave it mouth to mouth—and it came back. We didn’t get any follow up on it, but the owner put the dog in the car and it was responsive when they left.”

What’s important to remember is animal first aid is not the same as human first aid. “You can’t treat these animals like you do humans, because there are things you might try to do to help them, but they don’t understand it,” he explains. “So, they could actually do more damage to themselves. What we’re trying to do, by covering everything that we do, is to cut the timeline between when an animal is injured and when it can be seen by a vet, and then during that time, doing the proper things so that you help instead of hinder. The more you’re able to do, the greater the chance that you and the vet can come out the heroes.”

The Glen Helen Ecology Institute invited Weisenberger to host the workshop and teach from his own experience. Weisenberger is the owner of Dogtors, a nonprofit organization he began in 2003 that trains and facilitates animal assisted therapy teams—but his love for animals runs deeper and began earlier than just 13 years ago.

“I grew up with animals around me all my life; my family seemed to be quite involved with animals in one way or another,” he says. “I worked with the HSUS [the Humane Society of the United States] with their regional and national disaster teams. During the disasters, we’d go out and rescue the animals, and the last time I worked with the HSUS was with Hurricane Katrina. There were so many people and animals displaced. The numbers were astronomical—in one week’s time, I worked with 2,500 animals.”

In addition to working with the HSUS, Weisenberger was a professional firefighter in heavy rescue and says he ended up saving more animals out of fires than people. Because of this experience, he was approached by the Red Cross and served as a pet first aid instructor for them for over a decade. After they stopped offering the program this year, he put together a class of his own.

Weisenberger emphasizes the class isn’t just for pet owners. People who work in boarding, grooming, pet sitting, in shelters—or in any situation involving animals—can all benefit from this workshop and will receive a certificate upon completion.

In addition to this workshop, Glen Helen will also be hosting a few other Fido-friendly events. On Sunday, Nov. 20, Kyle Adams of Captain Spish Dog Behavior will lead a trail training workshop, which will cover dog behavior while hiking, leash etiquette, safety, and socialization, followed by a hike through the Glen. Also on Nov. 20, you can join Tails on the Trail and enjoy a hike through the park with adoptable dogs from Paw Patrol of Dayton

“The event is really good for our dogs because it allows them to get socialized with the other dogs as well as other people they don’t know,” says Brandi Hutchison, executive director of Paw Patrol. “And then, of course, the people, even if they’re not interested in adopting, maybe they can’t have a dog where they live so they come out and socialize with the dogs outside of a shelter environment. Or, they can bring their own dog, too!”

So whether you’re looking to take home a new furry friend, train them as they grow, or learn to care for them throughout their life, Glen Helen has an event for you this weekend.

The Pet First Aid and CPR event will be held Saturday, Nov. 19 from 12–4 p.m. at Glen Helen’s Camp Greene Lodge, 3450 Grinnell Rd. in Yellow Springs. Cost is $40. The trail training workshop will be held Sunday, Nov. 20 at 1 p.m. at the Trailside Museum, 405 Corry St. in Yellow Springs. Cost is $6 per pet. The Tails on the Trail will be held Sunday, Nov. 20 from 10–11 a.m. also at the Trailside Museum. Cost is $5. For more information please visit
GlenHelen.org.

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Erin Callahan
Reach DCP freelance writer Erin Callahan at ErinCallahan@DaytonCityPaper.com

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