NEW YORK (CNN) – If you saw a drowning squirrel floating in a swimming pool, would you attempt resuscitation?
Rick Gruber is an animal lover and a pool repairman in Phoenix, Arizona. He fished this guy out of a pool he’d been working near, draped him over a plastic pipe, and tried to remember what he’d learned in CPR classes.
“I just gently pushed on his rib cage then squeezed his sides, thinking at some point I’m gonna find his lungs.” Technically, it’s a round tailed ground squirrel, a sort of miniature prairie dog.
Within a minute or two he got the squirrel breathing and transferred it to a nice soft kneepad. Rick was thrilled to see his patient twitch. Soon, it opened its eyes, “I know you probably feel like crap. You were just dead.”
No wonder his coworkers have been calling him, “‘Hey, it’s the squirrel whisperer!’ or ‘hey, it’s the squirrel hero.'”
The story had a local news anchor in stitches. “Now, vets tells us the best way to give a squirrel CPR is to put it on its side, give 10 chest compressions gently using thumb and forefinger, then breathe twice into the nose. Repeat as necessary until the squirrel revives.”
Rick wasn’t putting his mouth anywhere. “I thought, ‘no, I don’t want to get bit. I don’t want to catch anything from him.'”
Rick stayed with the squirrel for an hour, recording what he thought would be a cool video to show his friends. “Just think, little guy. About 35 minutes ago, you were floating in a pool.”
Rick coached the squirrel as if it were a buddy who’d had a few too many. “Can you throw up? Can you give it a heave ho? Give it the old ughhhhh.” It did spit up some water, though, Rick’s camera mercifully missed most of that.
Finally, the resuscitated rodent walked. Off it scurried into the desert, leaving the squirrel whisperer behind to utter a final thought. “Pool guys aren’t so bad; are they?”
If it weren’t for the pool guy, this guy wouldn’t have pulled through.