What do you do if you give your dog a bone?

By By BEN RAYMOND LODE / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- Have you ever wondered what to do if your pet chokes on a bone, or experiences other health related problems?
A group of students at Ring Lardner Middle School, who had their last flex class on Wednesday, don't have to wonder about that anymore.
Retired Red Cross emergency services instructor, Dorothy Haag, introduced the students to Pet First Aid, which is a new program developed by Red Cross in South Bend, Ind.
Haag, one of several Red Cross staff involved in the program, which has been on the road since June, showed the students how to do pet CPR, including pet mouth-to-mouth, and how to transport injured pets.
The program, which uses its own easy-to-read illustrated teaching book, targets children 12 years of age and older.
Eight grader Sierra Gonzalez didn't know anything about pet first aid, but found Haag's presentation interesting.
Especially the part on what to do when a pet chokes on a bone.
Melissa Jones also enjoyed the little over an hour long session.
Jones, who has two dogs and a cat at home, has never had to take her pets to a veterinarian.
Having experienced pet first aid up close, however, Jones thinks she will be better prepared to act if something does happen to her pets in the future.
Flex classes give all teachers a chance to focus on subjects they otherwise wouldn't be able to present to the students during school.
Alicia Ruff, a Ring Lardner eight grade science teacher, has been in charge of the eight graders who had their last flex class on Wednesday.
This time Ruff chose to focus on the importance of community involvement, and what students can do to get involved in the community themselves.
To show the students how many options there are to get involved, Ruff cut her own hair, which she donated to Locks of Love, an organization that works to collect hair which is made into wigs.
The wigs are then given to children who loose their hair due to illness, such as cancer, or because of medical treatment they have been exposed to.
Ruff said in addition to pet first aid, the students have also been introduced to the work firefighters and police officers do.
Focusing on community involvement during flex class, the students were also required to volunteer one hour of their own personal time.
Ruff said the class visited Twisted Oaks animal shelter, where some of the students did their required volunteering.
Others did their volunteering outside of school, she said.
Ruff said it seemed as if the students enjoyed Haag's presentation on pet first aid.
When doing a bigger class, the Red Cross has 14 dog and some cat mannequins participants can work on, said Haag.
She said the program typically focuses one what to do if a pet has been bitten by an insect, is having seizures, or vomits.
The illustrated book is sponsored by the Humane Society, the Red Cross and the Veterinarians Association.

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