Sioux Falls groomer saves a dog's life

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It's a story that might have you hugging your furry friend a little tighter. A Sioux Falls family is grateful for the quick thinking of their little dog's groomer who ultimately saved his life.

Monday was a day Nicole Daggett and 12-year-old Buddy won't soon forget. As she tells KSFY News, it started with a routine appointment at the dog spa.

"A short while later, we got a voicemail from Tony that during his bath, he went rigid and completely stopped breathing," Buddy's mom Nicole Daggett said.

A terrifying scenario for any dog owner but especially for the groomer, Toni Connors, who owns the Dirty Dog Spa on South Louise Avenue in Sioux Falls.

"Then he went limp. It's like the moment that we all know that possibly could happen but we never want it to happen. My adrenaline kicked in. I was shaking and was like what should I do next?" Connors said. "I breathed into his mouth and applied pressure to his chest. I did that four times, his tongue started moving and started breathing again. Then, I told my employees I was leaving."

Connors rushed Buddy to the Heather Ridge Pet Hospital.

"I came in, I was shaking. My face was red. I was worked up. They got me in right away. As soon as the doctor took Buddy, they said 'he looks OK, you've done your job, let me take over'," Connors said.

At that point, Buddy was conscious and breathing normally again. Connors was relieved.

"When I knew he was in their hands, I lost it. My emotion came out. It was a lot. So scary," Connors said.

Scary, also for Buddy's mom, who is now thankful to have him back in her arms and to have a groomer she can truly trust

"Once you drop them off at the groomer, you hope they're in the best care that you'd give them at home. To know how quick-thinking she was and got him over there, we're beyond grateful as pet owners," Daggett said.

"These are situations that every groomer prepares for. You know what to do. You hope that when you're in that situation, you follow through and you're able to compose yourself when all those moments come up. I'm grateful I was," Connors said.

As a result of testing, doctors discovered Buddy is living with an enlarged heart. He'll have to take some medication for the rest of his life but Toni looks forward to grooming him again soon and giving him the care he, and every dog, deserves.