Professional pet sitter Connie Wetzler lounges with her charge Brodie, a mastiff/lab/husky mix. Submitted photo

Be your own pet 9-1-1; professional pet sitter teaches CPR, first aid

461-4103

www.connieonthespot.com

Ebullient and effervescent, Connie Wetzler sits town to talk about her favorite subjects — pets and their well-being.

A Sequim native, who left in 1994 and returned in 2014, Wetzler is sniffing out success as a professional pet sitter and certified pet CPR and first aid instructor with her business Connie on the Spot. She started the business in Palmer, Alaska, in 2006, and runs it with her daughter Hannah Wetzler. The business is licensed, bonded and insured.

“I do full-service pet sitting — I’m like a surrogate pet parent — doing sleepovers, dog walking, bedtime stories, whatever’s required,” the 47-year-old Wetzler said. “I also manage people’s homes while they’re away and if something goes awry, I contact the right service people.”

In 2014, she was inspired to be-come a certified instructor through Pet Tech, the first international training center dedicated to CPR, first aid and care for dogs and cats, by completing four days of training in Tacoma. Wetzler continues to maintain an affiliation with the group. She explained the following incident motivated her to become certified.

“Years ago I saw a man rush in to my vet’s office with a Corgi barely breathing — it was in stridor (labored breathing) — and nobody in the (front) office knew how to help. The man was saying, ‘Help me! Help my dog!’ They did put the dog in the back but I never knew what happened to it. I was told it had a mini-tennis ball in its throat,” Wetzler recounted.

“When I pet sit, I think about all the what ifs, I don’t take any toy for granted, I scout the area for any potential hazards and I go over in my mind the protocols just in case.”

Lifesaving classes

Wetzler just completed teaching a CPR and first aid class on April 15 and plans another one from noon-2:30 p.m. Sunday, April 23, at Fit4Life Studio, 1245 W. Washington St. Sequim. Register at www.pettech.net and also download its “Pet Saver” app that can walk owners through emergency care, including how to take and interpret vital signs.

“I teach everything for emergencies with dogs and cats and I like to focus the class on the most important points — such as what to do if the pet is choking or unconscious and first aid like bleeding, shock, hypothermia/hyperthermia, insect and snake bites,” Wetzler said.

“I teach you how to know within 12 seconds if you need to begin CPR — that’s about the amount of time that you have to work with it in order for the pet to have a better outcome. There’s no doggie 9-1-1,” Wetzler stressed.

“You don’t have time to get to a vet or even get into your car — you have to know what to do — and it’s so easy to learn.”

Above all, don’t hesitate: “You can perform CPR incorrectly or in a manner that’s not current with veterinary hospital standards and you still have a chance of saving a life,” Wetzler said.

She’ll teach the three methods of CPR based on the breed and size of a dog or cat and demonstrate the “Snout to Tail” assessment.

“You should do the assessment two or three times a week as an overall exam so you know when something is not normal with your pet,” Wetzler said. “I’ll also teach about the 10 points that warrant a visit to the vet.”

She said faced with a pet emergency, the owner’s or caretaker’s instincts must kick in automatically.

“When their animal goes down, the question is what to do first. The first thing is to stay calm and the second is safety first — look around at the surrounding area for threats,” Wetzler advised, then put their CPR and first aid training to work to save their pet’s life.

“I’ve found Sequim to be very welcoming,” Wetzler smiled. “Pet lovers are the most wonderful people and the people here are great. I couldn’t ask for better clients.”

To schedule pet sitting services, call Wetzler at 461-4103 or visit her website at www.connieonthespot.com.