Pool repairman is prairie dog's hero

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Video report by Fields Moseley

Posted on June 2, 2014 at 9:28 AM

Updated Monday, Jun 2 at 10:42 AM

PHOENIX -- A Valley pool repairman went to great lengths to resuscitate a prairie dog that was clinging to life after nearly drowning in a backyard pool.

Rick Gruber was working when he spotted the small rodent floating in the water.

Gruber fished the little guy out, draped it over a piece of PVC pipe and began compressions, hoping the animal would spit up the water it had swallowed. And he caught it all on video.

"He just looked like he needed help and I figured he hadn't been in there for very long," Gruber explained. "I figured I could try to pull him out and try to see if I could bring him back to life because there was still a chance he hadn't been in there for maybe a minute."

He said it was about  several minutes before the tough little prairie dog hiccuped and started breathing.

"I've taken CPR classes before and for a person, you'd have to beat on their chest," Gruber said. "For something this small, I didn't want to crush it so I just gently pushed on his rib cage and then squeezed his sides thinking at some point I'm going to find his lungs."

Gruber kept a close eye on the prairie dog for about an hour while it came around and regained its strength. The little animal eventually shook off its brush with death and scurried back into the desert.

"I would do it for anybody -- a rodent, a dog, a cat, anything," Gruber said.

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