PUBLISHED AUG. 4, 2016
By LOIS KINDLE
Pam Farinas has loved animals her entire life. At age 10, she got her first pet, a hound mix named Sandy who became her best friend and longtime companion.
When Farinas was 22 and married, the dog had a choking incident that changed the woman’s life. At the time, she didn’t know what to do for her pet and stood by helplessly while her husband, Harvey, saved its life.
That experience gave Farinas the impetus and determination to learn all she could about handling pet emergencies, a skill that led her to start a company called Precious Life Paws. Her mission is to train others on CPR, first aid, and preventive health care for dogs and cats and give them the confidence to actually apply what they learned when needed.
In July 2015, Farinas received three days of intensive, in-person training in Boynton Beach through PetTech, an international company based in California.
“On the final day we had to demonstrate that we understood all of the information we had been given and could also teach it,” Farinas said.
After taking the course, she registered her business and obtained her license the following month, then gave her first class in September.
She was working full time, but in October she decided to focus solely on her new company. Farinas now offers two classes to pet owners, pet caregivers and pet professionals: Pet CPR, First Aid & Preventative Health Care, which is four to five hours in duration; and Pet CPR, First Aid & Preventative Health Care, including senior care and dental care that’s covered in seven to eight hours. The former costs $74 for the public and $60 for anyone volunteering with a pet nonprofit, including pet foster parents. Tuition for the latter is $119 and $99, respectively.
A portion of each tuition is donated to a local animal rescue.
“If I could, I would teach these classes for free because the information is so important,” Farinas said. “The CPR and first aid training can actually save a pet’s life or minimize an injury, and the preventative health care can help detect a problem before it becomes a major issue.”
Here are a few questions to help anyone considering taking a class make a decision to do so.
• Would you know what to do if a dog or cat began choking and couldn’t breathe?
• What would you do if a dog or cat in your care had a seizure or consumed something poisonous?
• Could you take immediate action if you saw either type with an open wound or hit by a car?
Farinas’ interactive classes combine lecture, demonstration and hands-on practice. Her topics include the importance of pet first aid and why you should learn it; how to help your pet in an emergency and assess its condition and vitals; the importance of performing snout-to-tail assessments; 10 situations that require veterinary care; and how to put together a pet first-aid kit. Afterward, each person gets a handbook and certificate of completion.
“I really enjoyed it,” said Brandon resident Kali Crum, who took a class from Farinas on July 30 at the SouthShore Chamber of Commerce. “She was very thorough and patient with us.
“I’m actually a people first aid and CPR instructor. Aside from the physiology, (what she taught) is similar in many ways,” Crum continued. “I would recommend the class to anyone who has dogs (or cats) or cares for them.”
On Aug. 27, Farinas will be hosting a fundraiser from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. for the 2nd Chance Boxer Rescue in Plant City and the New Life Dog Rescue in Riverview at the SouthShore Chamber of Commerce, 137 Harbor Village Lane, Apollo Beach. It will include the Pet CPR, First Aid & Preventative Health Care class and raffles.
For additional information or to register for a class, visit www.preciouslifepaws.com, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 813-695-4055.