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Sorry to tell you, but that viral CPR dog actually has no idea what he is doing

By Lindsey Bever Washington Post

Yes, it’s unmistakably adorable – a pup attempting to perform techniques used in CPR, pouncing on a fallen police officer’s chest.

In a video, which was released on Twitter last week by the Municipal Police of Madrid, an officer drops to the ground, landing on his back. Then as an announcer called out for immediate medical intervention, a K-9 responder named Poncho ran to his side, jumping up and down on the officer, mimicking chest compressions.

At one point, the pooch even paused, appearing to listen for the officer’s breath as he lay his head on the man’s neck – a pro move. But, in case it’s not clear, it’s unlikely that such a maneuver could save lives.

Cue the boos.

The Municipal Police of Madrid wrote in Spanish that the “heroic” dog “did not hesitate for a moment to ‘save the life’ of the agent, practicing the #RCP in a masterful way.” The video has been viewed more than 2 million times.

Question: Can a dog really perform CPR? Better question: Do you really need to ask that question? Well, we’ll humor you anyway.

Poncho’s performance was a well-done “trick” but not really a first-aid technique, said Ronnie Johnson, lead trainer at Global Training Academy, a training center for K-9s in Somerset, Texas. Police dogs can be taught to do a variety of things such as sniffing out drugs or explosives or other contraband, tracking missing persons or even apprehending criminals. But he told the Washington Post on Tuesday, “I don’t think a dog could actually do CPR,” explaining that the lifesaving measure requires precision and strength.

Do you need more explanation? Fine.

CPR, or cardiopulmonary resuscitation, is a technique used on people suffering from sudden cardiac arrest to help keep oxygenated blood flowing to the brain until medical professionals can intervene.

Jonathan Epstein, senior director of science and government relations for the Red Cross, said the video is “cute” but “from a medical perspective, it’s not truly providing CPR.”

Epstein said there are two types of CPR: traditional CPR, which uses chest compressions and mouth-to-mouth, and hands-only CPR, which uses only chest compressions. (It appears the dog in the video was attempting to perform hands-only CPR.) In either case, Epstein said, a person must ensure the patient is unresponsive, calling out “are you okay?” and then check to see if the patient is breathing.

When performing hands-only CPR on an adult, Epstein said, the person must push down using his or her hands about 2 inches into the patient’s chest at a rate of 100-120 compressions per minute until someone else can take over or until the patient regains consciousness. Traditional CPR is a bit different – with 30 compressions, then two breaths, then 30 compressions and so on, he said.

Indeed, a tough task for a first-responder with paws.

Don’t worry, dogs are still incredible creatures – they have been known to rescue each other from drowning and save soldiers at war. They comfort children. Guard airports. And steal our hearts. They just can’t restart them.

So just enjoy the video for what it is: adorableness.

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