CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — On Sunday morning, one of our own members of the WCIA family had quite a scare. WCIA staff person Emily Ramey and her boyfriend, Alex Huber, were put in a tough situation when one of their dogs fell down their stairs.

“All we heard was a yelp and him hit the floor and immediately his body seized up a little bit,” Ramey said.

The dog, Oati, is only four pounds. They knew they needed to act fast. As they raced to U of I Vet Med, Oati’s heart stopped and so did his breathing. Huber, who’s CPR certified, took it upon himself to help the dog.

Ramey said that Huber “took two little fingers and like pushed on his chest a little bit and then blew into his nose really lightly since he’s so little, he just did a couple little, quick little blows in his nose and he just did that a couple times and he responded pretty quickly.”

She says Oati’s eyes opened and he started breathing again. Oati was admitted overnight and observed for about a day.

As he continues to recover at home, Ramey wants to make sure other pet owners know they can perform CPR on their animals.

She says she’s talked to a lot of people who didn’t know it was an option. We talked with a veterinarian who has performed CPR on animals a few times. Doctor Sally Foote says if you have an emergency with your pet.

“It’s good to always think of the three initials, ABC, airway, breathing, and circulation,” Dr. Foote said.

Foote says one of the first things you can do if you’re concerned about your pet’s breathing is roll their lips over their teeth to check their reaction. Another step would be to elevate their back legs and tap them in between their shoulder blades to dislodge anything that might be blocking their breathing.

She says if you’re not sure where to start you could try this option.

“Take the old fashioned mirror trick which is like you take a compact mirror, stick it right in front of his nose and see if it’s fogging up,” Dr. Foote said.

In the case of small dogs like Oati, Foote says it’s important to not panic and not waste time.

“Because one minute of time of not having air is not really that damaging, it’s the 10 minutes, the 20 minutes, it’s the 30 minutes that really does damage,” Dr. Foote said.

Ramey says if it wasn’t for Huber’s immediate response.

“My boyfriend wouldn’t have performed CPR then Oati wouldn’t probably be with us today,” Ramey said.