PHOTO COURTESY OF PHILLIP DEPORTO
Phillip Deporto holds his dog Sabrina, who died four years ago. Deporto used Sabrina's death as inspiration to learn and teach animal CPR, or mouth-to-snout.
Students learn the lifesaving animal version of CPR
Four years ago, Phillip Deporto's pet boxer Sabrina died of brain cancer at the age of 7.
"She was going through a very painful death, and I knew that I couldn't help my dog because it's a terminal illness. They don't do chemotherapy on dogs here in Hawaii," Deporto explained. "I could've tried to send her to the mainland, but then I would have to stay with the dog. It was going to be too hard. So I thought, 'If I can't do all that, what can I do as a compensation?'"
After Sabrina died, Deporto felt obligated to do something in his dog's honor. He could give back by saving other lives. His solution was mouth-to-snout, animal cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
"I feel that this is my contribution to help dogs out, and cats, too," Deporto said. "I heard about the animal CPR, and I said, 'That would be a good idea.' I had an intention of trying to do something to help animals."
Animal CPR differs from human CPR and requires special training.
"Mouth-to-snout is where you give resuscitation to a dog or cat by a human being. So it's your mouth to the snout of a cat or a dog," Deporto said.
In mouth-to-snout, a human blows directly into the dog's nose just as a human would do for infant CPR. The most significant difference is the number of compressions. Human CPR requires 30 compressions to one ventilation, while animals only require five compressions to one ventilation.
Deporto's CPR and first-aid class participated in this lesson, and their first reactions were the same. Sophomore Mandee Miyake was among several students who had a bad first impression.
"I felt disgusted at first. I didn't want to do CPR on a dog. But I saw that we had a fake dog to practice on. So, I'm OK with it now," Miyake said. "I thought it was fun and it's good for emergencies."
Although many people said they view the procedure as "weird," Deporto feels it is far more than just another lesson.
"I did it for my dog's sake, but I feel very honored to be able to do it. I'm really more honored that my dog would be more happy that I'm doing something for her," Deporto said.
Because of Deporto's efforts, Waianae High School is the first and only school teaching animal CPR in the entire state.