On the night of February 28th, I took Sophia to her Thursday night puppy class at Petco in Levittown, New York. We were working on loose leash walking, and as always, Sophia picked up her lessons immediately. My goal was for her to be a certified therapy dog, providing Animal Assissted Therapy to those in need.
As Michael walked into the room that evening, Sophia barked to greet him. At this point her trainer decided this was an undesirable behavior, and pulled her by her leash until her front paws were dangling off of the ground. I still see Sophia’s wrinkles enveloping her face from the pressure of the collar on her neck.
When she was let down, she immediately vomited several times, and then collapsed. She was gasping for air, and her breathing became increasingly labored. My fiancé and I tried to free her airway to see if she was choking, but her condition worsened. Blood began coming out of her mouth.
The Petco staff was clearly not trained in any protocol in the event of an emergency. They stood there and watched as she was dying. Her trainer then attempted to get into her mouth and clear her airway.
An associate from the sales floor attempted to revive her unsuccessfully. We then rushed her down the road to the closest veterinarian that the trainer had retrieved from her cell phone. Again, Petco did not have this information available.
Sophia had already begun to go into shock. Her lungs filled up with blood from her constricted airway, and her little heart gave out.