Members of the Born to Lead 4-H Club of Davis County were given a lesson in first aid for dogs recently that included the use of nylon stockings as an expedient method of making a muzzle.
Suzette Henrichsen, whose daughter, Kelly, 11, is a member of the club, is a veterinary technician at the Layton Veterinary Hospital and taught the course. She told the youths that an injured dog might be inclined to bite because of pain or fear, and muzzling the dog first, before trying any first aid, is a good idea.She told the youths to wrap panty hose around the dog's jaws and then wrap it gently around the back of its head and back around its jaws so the stocking won't come lose.
"Then you can bandage the dog's injured paw or treat it for shock without getting nipped or bitten," she said.
Henrichsen also taught the youths how to treat a dog for thorns in its feet or June grass between its toes. "First aid, of course, is something you do in the field until you can take your dog to a veterinarian for treatment."
Nearly a dozen youths 9 to 19 from Centerville to South Weber belong to the Born to Lead 4-H club and raise dogs that will be used later as guide dogs for the blind.
Club leader Marilyn Koroulis said about 60 dogs a year are being raised by Utah 4-H clubs. The dogs are given to the youths free of charge by Guide Dogs for the Blind Inc., in San Rafael, Calif., when the dogs are 8 to 12 weeks old.
"The youths keep the dogs in their homes, take them everywhere with them and care for them as if they were their pet until the dogs are 16 to 18 months old," Koroulis said.
"Then the children give up their dogs and the animals are transported back to California where they undergo about five months of special training to become guide dogs for the blind. Then blind people are matched with a particular dog, trained during a 28-day program to use the dog and then sent home with their dog."
She said Guide Dogs for the Blind Inc. uses German shepherds, labrador retrievers and golden retrievers because of their disposition and their ability to adjust to various climates and altitudes easily.
"We treat our dogs as pets and members of our households. We love our dogs and have fun with them, but we have to part with them eventually and that is sad, but necessary."
A week ago, the youths and their dogs had a Halloween party and the youths - and their dogs - dressed in costume," Koroulis said. "We had dogs dressed as clowns, babies, a bottle of nail polish, a California raisin and a football."
Monday night, the club members and their dogs will be guests of the Bountiful Lions Club for dinner at the Lions Clubhouse in Bountiful. "I think Lions and dogs will get along great," Koroulis said, smiling.