Today my brother Matthew Swartz successfully performed the Heimlich Maneuver on an unnamed nine year old girl with an fully obstructed windpipe, dislodging the obstruction with a loud ‘pop’ and saving the girl’s life. The incident took place at a Pumpkin Patch in Virginia.
Klondike has not claimed credit for training Matt in the maneuver, which is good because he didn’t, but like all of us is very, very proud of Matt for his skills and presence of mind.
We’ve worked hard on Klondike’s training and he’s basically done pretty well, but he tested me this afternoon.
I was working out on the porch, putting up halloween decorations. Front door was open. KB stuck his head out of the door. I called him to come with me out onto the sidewalk in front of the house, let him admire my handiwork with me. He refused to move beyond the patio. Strike One.
Ten minutes later while I was cleaning up he trotted through the open door, ignored me as I called him back, wagged his tail as he crossed the street (without, of course, looking for traffic). He did let himself be recaptured almost immediately and maybe, just maybe, looked contrite.
Some recall refresher work is definitely in his future. There is an exercise designed to teach the dog that good things happen with the person. You put the dog on a leash and place a treat just beyond the end of the leash. When the dog tries to get it, pulling on the leash, you call him back and then the two of you walk to get the treat together.
Today felt like Winter. Cold, some drizzle, and dark early. All of these things are probably a plus to a certain four footed friend bred to sleep with the herd in the often snow covered Pyrenees Mountains, and recently in possession of an ultra thick winter coat. The same wagging quadruped who galloped into the media room at around 6:00 in the evening demanding yet another walk.
After a quick stop at Pet Food Express, where the Klon scored some cookies and reminded some kittens at an adoption event that he was in the house, we headed off the Cesar Chavez Park, attached to the Berkeley Marina.
As many of you know, Klon is not a car guy – it was a struggle just to teach him to get in the car and he rarely looks happy while being chauffeured around, but his PFE express experience must have left him feeling pretty good. He started his ride to the park with head all the way out the window and then decided to ride with his front paws resting on the center console – he probably would have moved all the way to the front if the restraint system had let him.
The rest was strangely serene. Forty five minutes of walking around the park’s perimeter, enjoying the crisp air and quiet of the shore. It was pitch dark except for the lights of San Francisco and Oakland, both visible across the bay, the light on Klondike’s collar, and every once in a while the flashlight function on my iphone. I have the feeling Klondike was seeing perfectly, next time I’ll bring a head lamp.