Huntington dog trainer part of push for pet health instruction record

  • Jim Helems, owner of Dog Pals Sports Camp in Huntington, works with his own dog Ripley. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 4/20/2022 5:42:19 PM
Modified: 4/20/2022 5:41:02 PM

NORTHAMPTON — Huntington dog trainer Jim Helems will be part of an attempt to set a record this Saturday as he and other Pet Tech instructors around the world aim to train the most people ever trained in a single day in pet CPR and first aid.

Helems will be teaching an eight-hour class called “PetSaver Training,” which covers health issues for cats and  dogs  “from puppyhood to death,” in Northampton. The class is already full, he said.

This class, or a shorter version of it, will be taught Saturday in at least 18 states, and also in Australia and Honduras. After this is done, Pet Tech will send documentation to Guinness World Records, which will determine whether a record has been set.

“They’re the metric that everybody goes for,” said Thom Somes, who cofounded the California-based Pet Tech company with his wife, Cindy Buzas.

Should a record be accepted, it will become the metric that future attempts are judged against.

His company has a larger ambition: “We have a goal of preventing 1 million pet ER visits,” Somes said.

By his rough reckoning, each person trained by Pet Tech prevents one such visit, and he said that more than 200,000 people have been trained already.

Some of the issues that Helems’ class will cover are health and nutrition, euthanasia, and spaying and neutering. It also teaches participants how to do CPR on their pets.

“There’s a lot of dogs that actually do choke to death,” Helems said.

Stopping bleeding and dealing with bee stings are some other first aid components taught in the class, as is recognizing bloating – a condition in which a dog’s stomach is twisted.

“It is a big cause of death in dogs,” Helems said, saying this is  particularly true for larger breeds including German shepherds, Akitas and Great Danes.

Another thing Helems teaches in the course is dental care, which he said can help a dog live up to 33% longer.

“Bad teeth actually kill dogs,” he said.

Additionally, participants are taught to take the vital signs of their pets.

Those interested in taking a future PetSaver Training class with Helems can sign up on the website of his business, Dog Pals Sports Camp.

Bera Dunau can be reached at bdunau@gazettenet.com.

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