The rain and flooding throughout the region today did little to deter the crowd of clients who gathered at Country Animal Hospital in Bethel, Vt. for a first aid class tonight. The vets divided a group of approximately 50 of us up into four groups and rotated us through various stations covering what to include in a first aid kit; dealing with lacerations, the Heimlich maneuver, and CPR; household toxins and poisons and fleas, ticks and other pests. Fun and informative, we learned that prescription meds are the leading cause of household poisonings, how to remove a tick with a nifty little item called a Tick Twister and that a pug and other broad chested little dogs should be placed on their backs to deliver CPR. The office’s mascot kitty, Nitro, was on hand to offer a feline influence and Sunny, a yellow lab, patiently allowed Dr. Keady to bandage and re-bandage her. She was a sport and seemed resigned, but the look in her eyes suggested a sad sort of tolerance. It made those of us in the crowd smile and laugh. We were mostly women and you have to wonder what that says about gender and our relationship with animals. The large turnout in general was also a commentary of sorts – people seem eager for such offerings. It was one of the first of many classes that Dr. Jessica Jones has planned for the practice that she took over last year. I am actually writing a short article on her assuming ownership for an upcoming issue of Upper Valley Life, but tonight I was there as a pet owner, walking away feeling a bit more informed should there ever be an at-home emergency with my pugs.