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Alaska musher saves dog with CPR

March 7, 2012 at 7:44 PM

NIKOLAI, Alaska, March 7 (UPI) -- An Iditarod sled dog racer who calls himself the "Mushing Mortician" says he saved one of his dogs during the grueling Alaska competition by performing CPR.

Anchorage funeral home owner Scott Janssen told the Anchorage Daily News he was heading down the Dalzell Gorge when one of his dogs, a 9-year-old husky named Marshall, collapsed Monday night.

"Boom! Laid right down. It was like a guy my age having a heart attack," Janssen, 51, said.

He said the dog appeared to have stopped breathing.

"I know what death looks like, and he was gone. Nobody home," Janssen said.

"I was sobbing. I really love that dog."

So he started compressing the husky's chest and breathing into his nose -- mouth-to-snout cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

"I had my mouth over his nose, breathing into his nose as I was compressing and rubbing his chest, trying to work the air out," Janssen said.

"I'm like c'mon dude, please come back. And he did."

Suddenly, he said, Marshall took a breath.

Janssen carried the dog to his sled and mushed about 32 miles to the Rohn checkpoint, breaking a runner along the way.

"The vets took a look. Gave Marshall an IV, and he's heading home," Janssen said. "He was fine this morning. Standing around, bummed out that he wasn't going with us."

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