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Cats have 9 lives .... how about Little Mango?

by: Sam Bennett, 
Mango, a teacup poodle, wears a special hardhat now after two close encounters with death.

On Thanksgiving morning, Dr. Joe Stapleton held a dog's life in the palm of his hand.

Seconds earlier, a copper pot with turkey stuffing dealt what Stapleton called 'a glancing blow' to Mango, a two-and-a-half pound teacup poodle.

While working in his Lake Oswego kitchen, Stapleton accidentally knocked the turkey, which swiveled and collided with the pot. The pot fell off the counter, bonked little Mango on the head and laid her out flat.

Stapleton thought she was a goner.

'I looked down and she was just laying next to the pot and she looked completely dead,' he said. 'I put my ear up to her chest and heard no heartbeat.'

But his years of experience as an anesthesiologist spurred Stapleton into action. He figured dog CPR is probably like infant CPR, so he began doing chest compressions.

Stapleton cradled Mango's head in his left hand and did the heart compressions with his right hand. He gave Mango about 20 to 30 breaths a minute and about 80 heart compressions a minute.

'About a minute later, her heart rate started up - at first at 30 (beats a minute), then 80, which is still slow,' he said.

Stapleton and his wife, Roxanne, a nurse, hopped in the car with Mango and drove to the Emergency Veterinary Hospital of Tualatin. Mango wasn't breathing when they left the house, but she began breathing a few moments before they arrived.

'She kind of licked my cheek, a little bit,' said Stapleton.

Mango wasn't out of the woods. But the Stapletons had to prepare a Thanksgiving dinner for 20 people, so for the next several hours they worked on the meal and made quick trips to check on Mango at the vet's.

'We started to see recognition in her eyes,' he said. 'We visited her late into the night and she continued to get better.'

Mango was given oxygen and put on medication to stop the swelling. She had not fractured her skull and was released the next morning and put in the care of Groves' Lake Oswego Veterinary Clinic.

With each trip to Groves, Mango continued to improve.

In late November, Stapleton said his only birthday wish was to see Mango walk to him. His birthday was Dec. 8, but Mango beat that deadline by more than a week.

Mango was improving remarkably, when she had another near-death experience. On Dec. 28, Mango, excited and challenged by a gate keeping her out of the kitchen, jumped and fell back on her head. Her heart stopped again.

Stapleton administered CPR and, half-way to the emergency hospital in Tualatin, she began breathing.

'Her heart was harder to start that time,' said Roxanne Stapleton.

Mango spent the night in Tualatin and was released the next morning. Her Lake Oswego vet said Mango would have to wear a specially designed helmet, which the Stapletons purchased on handicappedpets.com, for six months.

These days, she's almost back to normal.

'She possibly has a little less balance,' Stapleton said. 'Now, she's at the point where she can play with other dogs and play fetch.'

Stapleton said this was his first out-of-hospital resuscitation on a dog or human. His research after the accident revealed that dogs are very sensitive even to minor head trauma.

He said the experience has encouraged him to learn more about dog CPR.

'Maybe people will take a chance to learn a little bit about CPR for dogs so they will have a chance to help out as well,' he said.

If Stapleton gets a spot on the 'Tonight Show with Jay Leno,' even more people will learn about CPR, he said. Leno's show contacted Stapleton last week about making an appearance, but they have not yet set a date.

Stapleton said it was an unforgettable Thanksgiving.

'We're so happy Mango is alive,' he said. 'We're really grateful and surprised how quickly she got better.'