It’s The Leashed He Could Do: This Construction Worker Saved A Dog’s Life By Giving Him CPR

A Virginia construction worker resuscitated a dying dog who was suffocating in his owner’s backseat on the way to the veterinarian’s office.

Jay Johnson and Cavaja Holt helped save Jett's life when the dog was choking on a ball Wednesday. Johnson coached, and Holt pulled the ball out of Jett's mouth and gave him mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

Posted by USA TODAY on Friday, May 8, 2020

Teresa Perkins sped along the highway, praying to get to the vet in time. Her 3-year-old German Shepherd, Jett, had gotten a ball stuck in her throat while playing fetch, and the 120-pound animal was struggling to breathe.

When Perkins ran into a traffic jam at a construction zone, she began to blow the horn wildly, hoping to get the workers’ attention. Three construction workers approached her vehicle to help.

“By then my dog was pretty much dead,” Perkins told the Staunton News Leader.”He was laying in the car, not moving. I had heard him breathe, like gasping, but then he quit. I was frantically crying and praying.”

One of the workers quickly reached his arm down Jett’s throat to retrieve the ball, but the dog had gone limp and still wasn’t breathing. Perkins said one of the workers urged the construction worker who’d successfully removed the ball from Jett’s throat to give the dog mouth to mouth.

“And he did,” Perkins recalled.

Perkins helped by giving the dog chest compressions as the man breathed into Jett’s mouth until he yelled, “He’s awake.” She cried and thanked the man before continuing to the vet’s office where Jett could be checked out.

“He would have died if I didn’t stop,” Perkins said. “He would have been dead. If I had driven 10 more minutes, he wouldn’t have made it.”

Back by the side of the road, Perkins was so frantic, she forgot to get the name of the hero who saved her dog. But once Jett was safe at home, Perkins’ daughter, Bliss Nuckols, posted about the day’s events on Facebook, hoping to locate the construction worker.

Update: Thanks everyone! We found him! His name is Cavaja Holt! A true hero🦸🏻‍♂️ So, today my moms German Shepard,...

Posted by Bliss Nuckols on Wednesday, May 6, 2020

The construction worker, a man named Cavaja Holt, had also posted about Jett’s story, and within minutes, the two parties were reconnected.

If anyone knows the ladie come by our work zone on Delphine in front off Speedy’s about an hour ago that had the...

Posted by Cavaja Holt on Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Holt wrote on Facebook, “Today is the first time I’ve ever stuck my hand down a strange dogs [sic] throat for any reason but I got the ball out… Not only that but is the first time I’ve ever gave any living animal mouth-to-mouth.”

Perkins returned to the construction site to thank Holt in person, and to take pictures of him with Jett. She called Holt a “hero” and swears Jett “is never, ever, ever, ever going to get a ball again.”

Susan LaMarca

Written by Susan LaMarca