Dog Hero Performs Heimlich

by Rebecca on May 12, 2011

in Animal Stories,Animals in the News

(Photo: Adelma Gregory-Bunnell / Cecil Whig)

Debbie Parkhurst rescued “Toby” from a dumpster. Toby repaid the favor by saving Debbie’s life when her windpipe became obstructed by a piece of fruit.


She was home alone with the dogs Friday afternoon when she decided to snack on an apple. Suddenly, she said, a chunk of the fruit became wedged in her windpipe. “It was lodged pretty tight because I couldn’t breathe,” she said. “I tried to do the thing where you lean over a chair and give yourself the Heimlich, but it didn’t work.”

Parkhurst said she then began beating her chest, an action that might have attracted [2-year-old golden retriever] Toby’s attention. “The next thing I know, Toby’s up on his hind feet and he’s got his front paws on my shoulders,” she recalled. “He pushed me to the ground, and once I was on my back, he began jumping up and down on my chest.”

Toby’s jumping apparently managed to dislodge the apple from Parkhurst’s windpipe.

…”I, literally, have pawprint-shaped bruises on my chest,” Parkhurst said. “I’m still a little hoarse, but otherwise, I’m OK. … I know it sounds a little weird, but I think he had a sense of what was happening. Of all the dogs in the world, I never would have expected this goofy one here to know the Heimlich.”

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