Lars aces kiss of life

WITH five tennis balls in his mouth, my rottweiller Lars last week managed to equal the world record for the feat.

But when, a few days later a tennis ball blocked his airway, nearly killing him, Dave and I decided his ball-in-mouth days are at an end.

Lars is still with us thanks only to Brigitte Rieder, a Parmelia dog-park friend who wasted no time in gripping his mouth shut, encasing his wet nose in her mouth and blowing life-giving oxygen into his air-starved lungs.

She did this repeatedly for what seemed to those of us on the scene an eternity. Slowly, Lars began to breathe and Ms Rieder — her face covered in slobber and hair — sat back, exhausted and shaking.

• Brigitte Rieder with Lars and Nestor (left), and Rosie (pink pants).

• Brigitte Rieder with Lars and Nestor (left), and Rosie (pink pants).

It was park youngster Beau who’d first sounded the alert that all was not right with our popular, boofheaded pooch. Kids and adults immediately converged as Lars gagged, salivating copiously in his vain attempt to dislodge the ball.

“Get it out! Get it out!” Ms Rieder shouted, her hand down Lars’ throat as she took over from my miserable, panicked efforts.

Sue Ashford held Lars’ mouth open with a lead to avoid involuntary biting, although pretty soon it wasn’t needed, his body limp, his huge tongue a distressing shade of blue.

A neighbour rushed to get Lars’s other ‘parent’ Dave, who raced to the park with a pocket knife, ready for an emergency tracheotomy. Thankfully, it wasn’t needed, and soon Lars was gingerly slurping water and receiving pats from relieved, shaken youngsters.

“I almost fainted,” a wide-eyed seven-year-old told me.

Hilton vet Amit Setia says it’s rare for dogs to choke on tennis balls but it does happen, and with plenty of safer toy options, “why take risks”. “Kongs feel nicer and have a hole that will let the dog breathe,” he says.

But stick-throwing should never be an option: “We see a lot of animals die from that.”

Lars was back at Parmelia Park the next day — without balls.


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