To what length would you go to save your pet? One British man answered that question resolutely this week by giving Freda, his 45-year-old pet tortoise, CPR and mouth-to-snout resuscitation for over an hour after discovering her limp body at the bottom of his garden pond.
Freda normally has free rein over the back garden of John Fletcher, her owner. But when Freda was nowhere to be found Saturday afternoon, Fletcher didn’t know where she had gone. That was, until he looked in the pond.
“It must have been in there for at least an hour. I took it out and it was looking quite dead and limp,” Fletcher told The Telegraph. “I decided to put my own mouth around the head and give a few short blows having stretched its head out a little.
“A small half teaspoonful of water came out of its mouth which I had opened.”
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But Fletcher, a retired postman, had to continue his life-saving efforts for the next hour. He called his daughter, “very upset,” and decided to push on. He massaged the tortoise’s body and attempted to warm her with a blow dryer.
“I first did it and about a teaspoon of water came out. I didn’t think much of it, I thought it was just pushed out by my air, but then her leg twitched. I thought it was just a nerve or something but I decided to try again and its head went in like a tortoise does when it’s scared.
“I then massaged her chest for about an hour and the legs kept moving and finally she came back to life.”
Fletcher is happy to report that Freda has eaten two lettuce leaves and some tomato since recovering, and doesn’t seem to have suffered any brain damage. To prevent any future pond dives, Fletcher has installed a small fence around the pond.
But as Loz Bogaert, a herpetologist of 26 years, told The Telegraph, “It was certainly very lucky and a borderline miracle, definitely.”