Hands 4 Paws

Hands 4 Paws is a high school club at Youngker High School. (Submitted)

A partnership between Hands 4 Paws and Frontline Coalition member Malinda Malone has yielded a course to help owners take better care of their own furry friends.

On Feb. 25, Youngker High School is slated to host a dog CPR training course from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Hands 4 Paws is a high school club run by Youngker High School teacher Marie Buquicchio. Buquicchio, an animal rights activist, said the club started due to her love of animals. She said the club does work that focuses on the education, safety and welfare of dogs. 

“We’re just a high school club, just a humble little high school club,” Buquicchio said. “We go into the community and volunteer our time and efforts. We do manual labor. We do fundraising. We try to help out wherever we can.”

Malone also shares Buquicchio’s passion for animals. She has worked in the pet grooming industry for 25 years and is a certified master instructor of pet first aid and CPR — meaning she is qualified to both perform and teach pet first-aid and CPR. Malone has been teaching pet first aid since 2010 due to her intense love of dogs. 

“I’ve always loved dogs, specifically dogs,” Malone said. “I have always had a dog; I have four dogs now. They have always been my kids. I don’t have any children of my own, I have four furry, four-legged children. They are my everything.”

Malone said the course will cover a variety of topics such as first aid; CPR; rescue breathing; and what to do incase of choking, poisoning, bleeding and bloating. She said participants will be tasked with diagnosing and treating mannequin dogs. 

“It’s all hands on,” Malone said. “People come and they are going to put their hands on mannequins. They will practice until they feel comfortable doing the skills.”

Malone said her focus with hands-on work is vital as “there is no 911 for pets. We have to be the pets’ first responder, because if we don’t know what to do right when that incident happens, they could die.”

The six-and-a-half-hour course is open to all members of the public, and the cost of entry is $100. Buquicchio said snacks and games, such as a raffle, will be included as well. She stressed that people shouldn’t bring their dogs as all the training will be done on mannequins. 

She also hopes that this inaugural event will draw between 75 to 100 people. However, Buquicchio and Malone both said that every dog owner should attend this event. 

“This is probably one of the most important things that any pet owner or pet professional can learn,” Malone said. “I just like to make sure people feel comfortable with it because we are dealing with life and death. If you can do something to save the life of your pet, there is nothing better than that.”

Buquicchio said all of the proceeds raised by the event will go into the community in some way. For example, she said the club will donate money raised at this event and their upcoming third annual golf outing at Sundance Golf Club on Saturday, April 15, to fund organizations such as Soldiers Best Friend — a nonprofit that trains dogs from shelters to become service animals for veterans. 

To sign up for the dog CPR training course, visit thefrontlinecoalition.com/product/february-25th-2023-pet-cpr-first-aid-6-5-hrs or email marie.buquicchio@buhsd.org.