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It's a dog's life; now it needs help

(ran NS, S editions of Tampa Bay & State)

This is the tale of a 4{-pound Yorkie waif that was plucked from a busy street, rescued from a backyard pool and breathed back to life all in the same hour.

It is also a story of split-second decisions and rapid actions by four local heroes. All that's needed for the happy ending is for someone to come forward and give the little guy a home.

Monday at 5:30 p.m., Terry Quinn was returning from a shopping trip when she saw the Yorkshire terrier standing in the middle of Fifth Avenue S off 64th Street.

"He was right there, and I have two little dachshunds at home, so I just couldn't leave him there," Quinn said. "He was so pathetic _ he had paint in his fur."

Quinn put the dog in her car, took it home and fed it. While she was on the phone trying to find help, her husband, Barry, took the dog out to the Quinns' back yard. When Barry Quinn came back inside, the Yorkie wasn't with him.

"I opened the door and I saw this thing floating in the pool," Terry Quinn recalled. "He wasn't moving."

Terry Quinn jumped into the pool fully clothed, retrieved the dog and brought it into the house, where she laid it on the carpet and starting breathing into its nostrils.

"I tried to blow hard but then I panicked, so I told my husband to get in the car and take him to Pasadena Veterinary Hospital right away," Quinn said.

Barry Quinn made the 14-block trip to the veterinary office, at 7000 Central Ave., in less than five minutes. As he drove, Barry alternately tried to resuscitate the Yorkie lying next to him and flashed his lights to signal other cars that he was in a hurry.

Barry carried the dog into the clinic about 6 p.m., just as it was closing. He ran past the receptionist and into the treatment area, where he handed the dog to Drs. Lisa Weppner and Frank Mills II.

"The dog had no heartbeat, no pulse, no respiration," Mills said. In addition, the dog's temperature was about 5 degrees below normal, it was soaking wet and its lungs were filled with water.

"The first thought I had was, this dog's dead. I wish there were something we could do," Weppner said. "Then Dr. Frank said 'Hey, we can do this. I've brought some back before. It's worth a try.' "

While Weppner inserted a tube down the dog's throat to pump oxygen into its lungs, Mills massaged the dog's chest. "He was so small, it was very easy to do," Mills said. "Within a couple of minutes we had a beat going."

Mills says Yorkie survived largely because of the Quinns' actions and because Terry Quinn tried artificial respiration on the dog immediately after retrieving it from the pool. Mills said the incident represents a good reason for every pet owner to learn about animal CPR. Mills teaches a class on CPR locally for the American Red Cross.

On Tuesday, the Yorkie was resting at the clinic. It is receiving food, baths and medication, according to the veterinarians.

"He probably thinks he's died and gone to heaven," Weppner said. Mills thinks the dog is about 10 years old, and he said it probably was neglected by its former owners and needs a special person to care for it in the future.

"People need to know that this dog has some problems and will need some care," Mills said. "There's a financial commitment to keep this dog healthy."

For information about the dog, call Mills' hospital at 381-3739.