By Kathy Antoniotti
Beacon Journal staff writer
The love of pet owners for their beloved Fidos and Fluffys is proving popular for courses offered by the Summit County Chapter of the American Red Cross.
Dog and cat owners are eager to learn how to care for their pets should they get injured, said Cyndi Loe, authorized first aid provider specialist for the agency.
Loe, who has taught human first aid classes for 17 years, taught a pet first aid class Monday evening on West Market Street in Akron.
''The most important thing you will learn. . . is to find out what's normal for your pet so you don't rush to a vet's office before you should,'' she said.
Loe, who once worked in a veterinary office, said when she started teaching pet first aid 10 years ago vets were up in arms because they thought people wouldn't seek professional help when their pets really needed it.
''After learning about the program here, one vet bought 30 books to give his clients,'' she said.
Susan Rollings of Akron learned about the class at the Akron Pet Expo in June at Hardesty Park.
''I asked my vet what to do in an emergency and he said to call him. So when I saw this, I jumped at the chance,'' said Rollings, the owner of two dachshunds — one a rescued dog named Henry Ford.
The students practiced CPR skills on dog mannequins with inflatable lungs and a compression box that simulates the dog's response when CPR is administered. The mannequins were recently purchased with a donation from Ravenna resident Mary Champers.
''Dog CPR is not that different than what we do with humans,'' Loe told her students.
Loe used to bring in her own dogs, a schnauzer named Charlie, and Sam, an Irish wolfhound mix, to help with the course.
''We no longer use live animals. They could only stay for the first half hour because the students were so busy playing with them they wouldn't listen to me,'' she said.
Jennifer Miller of North Canton said she won a spot in the class at the Bark in the Park event in Akron.
Miller owns a silken windhound, a relatively new breed of dog that is a cross between a borzoi and whippet.
Miller's dog, Dasher, was one of nine puppies born in a litter her mother bred in 2005.
''Each puppy was named after Santa's reindeer, including Rudolph,'' she said.
Donna Taylor of Green attended the session with her husband, Mike Taylor, director of communications and marketing for the Red Cross.
She said she wanted to learn more about pet first aid because the couple frequently rescues animals they find wandering alone.
''We just never know when we'll find an animal and take care of it,'' she said.
Loe said at the end of the course most participants say these are skills they hope they never have to use.
Details about classes
Pet first aid and CPR classes are held at the Summit County Chapter of the American Red Cross, 501 W. Market St. in Akron.
Dog first aid classes are scheduled for Aug. 21 and Sept. 12.
Cat first aid classes are scheduled Sept. 9 and 26.
Combined classes for both cats and dogs will be held once a month from October through December. Dates will be scheduled based on the preferences of those who register.
Classes are limited to eight.
Cost is $45. The class lasts about three hours.
Students receive a handbook and a DVD.
To enroll, call 330-535-2455 or register online at http://www.summitcounty.redcross.org.