Vet Talks Animal Emergencies with Jr. Corps

"People come first," said Dr. Brian Green, but he was happy to dispense some knowledge on emergency animal care to young Junior Ambulance Corps Members in Tarrytown.

This weather has not been kind to pets.

First of all, dogs very reliant on Kingsland Point dog park for fun and friendship have been rerouted until further notice as, since Sandy hit and attacked our trees, Police Chief Gregory Camp has ruled many of our public spaces too dangerous.

Then there was the missing dog Wednesday night, just in time for the Nor’easter, that pulled at people’s heartstrings and had some out with flashlights in the woods. Luckily, Duffy has been returned to his owner and did not have to stay overnight outside.

Dr. Brian Green, veterinarian to so many local pets at the Sleepy Hollow Animal Hospital, seems to know them all by name and truly care for their well-being – he’s often listed in the police blotters as taking some animal in until their owner is found.

Several weeks ago, he visited the second floor conference room of the Tarrytown Volunteer Ambulance Corps to talk to Junior Corps members about animal emergencies.

Though of course the Jr. Corps doesn’t respond to specific animal emergencies – in fact the junior corps can’t ride in ambulances yet at all – they might see situations involving animals as they rise up into regular corps membership.

Animals are often victims of events that hit humans, said Dr. Green, like house fires, flooding, exteme cold.

Since Hurricane Sandy, many homes have experienced many days without power. He’s gotten many questions on how cold is too cold for our little friends.

“I didn’t see or hear anything other than personal requests concerning how low temperatures could drop safely in homes with various types of pets," Green said. "I essentially answered the individuals, but dogs and cats can handle pretty chilly environments, birds, reptiles, amphibians, not so much.”

With the corps, things the doctor recounted were much more dramatic, including tales of Jr. Corps co-leader Nicole Regan's epileptic Rottweiler (another one he knows well), a cat impaled on a fence in Sleepy Hollow, dogs with heat stroke or hit by cars (there was one small white dog this happened to as reported in the police blotters few week’s back).

People are generally advised to call his office in case of animal emergency rather than the police. After hours they will be rerouted to the nearest open facility. The number is 866.240.5543.

“We used to have an animal control officer in Sleepy Hollow, now it’s my problem,” Green said. Greenburgh and Mt. Pleasant animal wardens deal mostly with coyotes, deer, raccoons, wild things.

There are about 17 members of the Junior Corps, age 14 through 18, and there is always room for more. They learn how to test blood pressure, administer CPR, basic first aid. And on this afternoon they were talking about the same things in terms of animals, which aren’t necessarily all that different save for the communication problem.

EMTs are used to asking victims if they are okay before they rush in to help, but you have to assess an animal’s status yourself. And if they are wounded and stressed they are all the more apt to bite, scratch. Green stressed the importance of muzzling dogs and wrapping cats. Often, the best help you can provide, including emergency responders, do is get these animals to a professional facility.

Cats, described Green, “have a phenomenal amount of weapons and speed. They’re like little ninjas.” However tenacious they may be, able to fall from many stories up and survive, cats rarely survive after being struck by a car, said Green.

There was an attentive group of seven teens around the U-shaped table, armed with questions. Though the group participates in fun things like fairs and the annual car show, they are also eager to learn.

Diego, 16, of Sleepy Hollow said, “I was interested in the medical field and wanted to get more involved, and also getting community service.”

For Devin, 15, this corps runs in the family – his dad was downstairs manning the phones. He doesn’t intend to go into the medical field and even if he never gets in an ambulance, he says he’s acquiring “good skills for real life applications. The ambulance isn’t there first,” he said. “People are there first.”

We saw this play out in vivid detail when citizens came to the aid of a man who collapsed during the Rivertown Runners 10K in Sleepy Hollow. One woman said after that experience that the first thing she would do was sign up for a CPR course, recommending everyone else do the same.

As for our animals, Green knew they weren't the priority here, but he was happy to spread some additional information. “You’re not dealing with animals, but at least you’ve heard. People of course come first.”

Interested in joining either TVAC or its junior corps? You contact Kathie Goldstein at 914-631-5588 for Jr. Corps and Pat Evans at 914-366-0812 to join the general membership. The juniors will be at the Pilgrim Run on Sunday, Nov. 11 applying their knowledge of sports injuries and basic first aid.

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GESRGD November 10, 2012 at 01:00 AM
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