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From the NY Daily News

If you fly very often, you might remember back to the pre-9/11 days when Southwest Airlines had a sense of humor.  To keep passengers chuckling during their few-frills flight, flight attendants kept up a patter worthy of the best stand-up comic:

  • We’re full today, folks, so you’re going to have to sit next to somebody. Make eye contact, sit down, and invent a whole new personality for yourself.
  • Give up, ma’am– that home stereo set is never going to fit in that overhead bin–that’s why it’s called a HOME stero.
  • [from the pilot after a long flight] We’re here. Get off.

But my favorite of all was from an attractive young male flight attendant on a trip from Providence to Nashville. It went like this:

In the event of a drop in the cabin’s air presser, an oxygen mask will drop down automatically. Grab it, strap it over your big old ugly nose and mouth, and breathe normally. If you do not normally breathe normally, breathe the way you normally breath. If you are traveling with a child, put on your mask first, then take care of them. If you are traveling with two children, decide which one you love the best.

There is a reason why I recall this and retell it here.  A story in yesterday’s New York Daily News tells of a 6 week-old pup (the very pup in the photo above) rescued from freezing after making a flight in the cargo hold of a plane traveling from Mexico to New York’s JFK Airport. It’s my sad duty to tell you that another dog didn’t make it, but this little guy did, because of a stroke of remarkable fortune: one of the baggage handlers was also a student of veterinary medicine, and knew how to give the puppy mouth-to-snout resuscitation.  After being examined by security officials who feared the dog might have been being used as a drug mule, he was cleared and released to his unnamed owner.

I have three questions:

Why did the airline put dogs in the freezing cold cargo hold of an airplane?  Do we really still do this?

Why was the pup returned to the owner, who must have been at least partially responsible for the dog’s poor treatment? Also, this little critter was only 6 weeks old–why was he even apart from his mother yet? I’m guessing the owner had never laid eyes on the dog before yesterday.

And, finally, is there a lot of human-animal mouth-to-mouth resuscitation going on?

The answer to the last question turns out to be yes.  A search for mouth-to-snout turns up any number of heartwarming stories:

  • “Pig Pig,” a farm pig in Pennsylvania, was rescued in this way by his owner after his mom (the piglet’s mom, not the farmer’s) rolled over on the baby and nearly flattened him.  To acknowledge this act of bravery, the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs baseball team sent the farmer an Iron Pigs sweatshirt, free passes to an IP game, a bottle of Listerine, and a tube of Chapstick (Southwest Air, call the Iron Pigs–they found your sense of humor).
  • One  devoted dad saved his daughters’ kitten by giving it mouth-to-mouth after it got stuck in an automatic garage door.
  • An intrepid hiker saved a bear in this way after the animal (stopped by a tranquilizer dart) fell face down into a puddle. Both apparently lived to tell the tale.

But the most interesting thing I found were several stories, like this one, about devices designed to pump lifesaving air into animals who need resuscitation after an accident or exposure to smoke and fire. It includes a selection of plastic masks that fit over a dog’s snout, a kitten’s face, a ferret’s muzzle, or a bird’s beak.

Does your local fire department have one? And do you suppose they tell the critter in question, “Breathe the way you normally breath”?


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