Poncho the Police dog
30 Jun 2018

Poncho the police dog not actually performing real CPR

Rescue/Health Service
Communication Group

Poncho the police dog went viral on the internet recently when the Madrid police department uploaded a video of the dog "performing CPR" on his trainer. But a recent article in The Washington Post debunks the performance as "just a cute trick".

Madrid police uploaded footage on June 22 of police dog Poncho jumping on a fallen police officer, pressing its front paws on his chest repeatedly.

Yes, it’s adorable — a dog attempting to perform techniques used in CPR, pouncing on a fallen police officer’s chest.

In a video released on Twitter last week by the Municipal Police of Madrid, an officer drops to the ground, landing on his back. Then as an announcer called out for immediate medical intervention, a K-9 responder named Poncho ran to his side, jumping up and down on the officer, mimicking chest compressions.

At one point, the pog even paused, appearing to listen for the officer’s breath as he lay his head on the man’s neck — a pro move. But in case it’s not clear, it’s unlikely that such a maneuver could save lives.

The Municipal Police of Madrid wrote in Spanish that the “heroic” dog “did not hesitate for a moment to ‘save the life’ of the agent, practicing the #RCP in a masterful way.” The video has been viewed more than 2 millions times.

Poncho’s performance was a well-done “trick” but not really a first-aid technique, said Ronnie Johnson, lead trainer at Global Training Academy, a training center for K-9s in Somerset, Texas. 

Police dogs can be taught to do a variety of things such as sniffing out drugs or explosives or other contraband, tracking missing persons or even apprehending criminals.

However, as he told The Washington Post on Tuesday, “I don’t think a dog could actually do CPR,” explaining that the lifesaving measure requires precision and strength.

CPR, or cardiopulmonary resuscitation, is a technique used on people suffering from sudden cardiac arrest to help keep oxygenated blood flowing to the brain until medical professionals can intervene.

Jonathan Epstein, senior director of science and government relations for the Red Cross, said the video is “cute” but “from a medical perspective, it’s not truly providing CPR.”

Epstein said there are two types of CPR: traditional CPR, which uses chest compressions and mouth-to-mouth, and hands-only CPR, which uses only chest compressions.

When performing hands-only CPR on an adult, Epstein said, the person must push down using his or her hands about two inches into the patient’s chest at a rate of 100 to 120 compressions per minute until someone else can take over or until the patient regains consciousness. Traditional CPR is a bit different — with 30 compressions, then two breaths, then 30 compressions and so on, he said.

Indeed, a tough task for a first responder with paws. So just enjoy the video for what it is: adorable cuteness:-)