updated 03/26/2014 AT 5:30 PM ET
•originally published 03/25/2014 AT 5:00 PM ET
Alicia Pederson knew her skills as a CPR instructor could save a life one day. But she never could have predicted that life would belong to a puppy.
When the Talty, Texas-based American Heart Association employee noticed that her dog Izzy’s newborn pup was cold, gray and lifeless shortly after her birth in early March, Pederson’s “instinct kicked in,” she says in an AHA blog post.
“It’s limp and cold and my heart’s breaking,” she says. “So I tried to stimulate the puppy. I cleared its airway. I’m even giving it little back blows. And then I start thinking, ‘I am a CPR instructor, I’ve got to try this.’”
Pederson, who had only performed CPR on manikins before, modified the techniques she learned in training and cleared the puppy’s airway by aspirating its mouth and snout. Next, using her thumb, she pressed firmly just under its ribcage to perform chest compressions. After five minutes of trying, she and her boyfriend, Kenneth, and his daughter Caytee, began to assume the worst. But five or six compressions later, the puppy made a gentle gasp and color soon returned to her nose and paws.