Monday, April 13, 2015

Pet First Aid Awareness Month: The History of Pet First Aid

We're pretty sure most of you have taken a Human First Aid Course at some point in time. Maybe it's current, maybe it's expired (time to renew!) but you have done it at some point yes? Your reasons for completing first aid will differ. Maybe you did it because your employer required it, maybe you took Infant CPR before the birth of your child, or maybe you just felt that the skills could be beneficial one day. Either way, you somehow learned how to assist people in need.

Now, how many of you have completed a Pet First Aid Certification Course? Maybe you've just heard of Pet First Aid recently? Maybe you've thought about it but haven't gotten around to it yet? We all want to keep our pets safe and help them in times of need, so why is it Pet First Aid is such a niche course?

The answer to this question isn't as complicated as you may think. While Human First Aid courses have been offered for decades, Pet First Aid's history is relatively fresh. In fact, the first Pet First Aid course held in Canada (and to our knowledge North America) wasn't until 1994. The idea behind Pet First Aid training was inspired by Ethne Dickinson of Calgary, Alberta Canada.

Both a Nurse and a Human First Aid training provider, Ethne had the unfortunate experience of running over a dog with her vehicle. Stepping out onto the road, Ethne was faced with a growling dog who looked quite different from her usual patients. Ethne did her best to assist the dog; however, it eventually died from its injuries. The experience stayed with Ethne and as an animal lover herself, she decided she should learn some animal first aid skills.

Ethne did some research and discovered that she was unable to find any courses offering first aid for animals. Every corner she turned she was faced with a dead end. Finally, she decided she would simply have to design her own program. She recruited a group of Veterinary professionals who together spent 18 months designing the Oakland Educational Services Ltd. "Pet First Aid" program. Ethne started teaching the program in Calgary, and soon found she was sought out across the country.

Ethne has since retired, and passed along her knowledge and program to Walks 'N' Wags back in 2007. Since that time we've updated the curriculum, expanded to offer our program in more than 100 Canadian locations, and we are actively expanding into the United States.

If you'd like to learn more about the history of Walks 'N' Wags Pet First Aid and our founder, Lisa Wagner please visit our Blog Post "A Career Unchosen: How I came to work in Pet First Aid". You can also keep in touch with us via Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

We welcome you to contact us anytime to learn more about Pet First Aid. After all, it is Pet First Aid Awareness Month! What better time to get yourself signed up for that course you were thinking about taking. Our in-class programs can be found HERE and Distance Learning is available worldwide.


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  4. I would like to say that this blog really convinced me to do it! Thanks, very good post. how to train a dog

  5. Her commitment and passion is really remarkable. More owners should be like that to their pets. Having a basic knowledge on first aid for animals could be very beneficial specially on places that has no emergency animal hospital nearby.