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August 7, 2014 at 1:21 PM

Oregon woman revives reptile with CPR

Sherrie Dolezal holds her bearded dragon Del Sol.  (Timothy J. Gonzalez / Statesman-Journal)

Sherrie Dolezal holds her bearded dragon Del Sol. (Timothy J. Gonzalez / Statesman-Journal)

The Associated Press

SALEM, Ore. — When Sherrie Dolezal found her beloved pet Del Sol floating face up and unconscious in his pool earlier this week, she did what any critter-loving great-grandmother would do: she immediately began chest compressions and forced air into his mouth.

She didn’t give up. Working for what she said felt like a half hour, she held the 3-year-old motionless Del and rubbed his belly, then hung him upside down to clear water from his mouth and breathed air past his teeth.

Before long, he opened his eyes and started to move.

It’s worth mentioning here that Dolezal was giving rescue breaths to her bearded dragon. The cold-blooded, golden-hued reptile lives in Dolezal’s northeast Salem home with 21 other lizards, most rescued, some bought, along with one Russian tortoise and three dogs.

Dolezal, 62, said she was having a crazy day Tuesday, running errands and caring for her pets when she took Del Sol out to clean and feed him and then put him back in a small swimming pool.

“But I forgot to put the rocks back in it so he could climb out and about, and when I came back, I was sure he was dead, which just killed me because Del belongs to my great-grandson, Roberto,” Dolezal said. “I really couldn’t remember how many chest compressions should be given before a rescue breath, but he was blue so I just did it. I was really amazed it worked.”

Dr. Mark Burgess, a veterinarian who specializes in exotic pets such as chameleons, iguanas, and geckos, said it is probable Dolezal saved the bearded dragon’s life.

Comments | More in General news | Topics: CPR, lizard, Oregon

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