That was the task two JetBlue crewmembers found themselves facing when a passenger started suffering from hypoxia, or lack of oxygen, on a recent flight from Florida to Massachusetts. But this was no ordinary passenger – her name was Darcy, and she was a 3-year-old French bulldog.
“I noticed that her tongue was blue, and I am aware that is a sign of insufficient oxygen (Hypoxia), so I pulled her out from under the seat and placed her on my lap to cool down and help her relax as she was panicking and breathing frantically,” wrote Darcy’s owner Michele Burt in a letter provided to local outlet MassLive.
French bulldogs are an increasingly popular breed, but are known to come with a host of health problems caused by their extreme physical appearance. These can include breathing problems due to their short muzzles, skin infections on their face, and eye ulcers – and vets have warned that pet owners are often shocked by how many medical interventions and invasive surgeries are awaiting their precious pooch. Flying is a particular hazard for these short-nosed, or “brachycephalic”, breeds, and the high number that have tragically died in-flight has led to many commercial airlines banning them completely.
Luckily for Darcy, the JetBlue aircrew jumped into action. After providing ice bags to try to cool down the panicking pup, one crewmember, Renaud Spencer, came up with a more drastic solution. “Renaud, who explained that he also had a French Bulldog ‘Penelope’ brought a small oxygen tank with a mask attached and offered it saying, ‘Maybe this will help’,” explains Michele’s letter. “I placed the mask over her face, and within a few minutes she became alert and after a short time she didn’t want the mask.”
Darcy’s adventure has led to her becoming a minor celebrity on Twitter, where thousands of people have now seen the frankly adorable photos of her rescue. Many commenters took the time to thank the crew for their dedication and concern.
Darcy is now reported to be happy and healthy back at home thanks to her flight attendants.
For another case of quick thinking saving a life mid-flight, click here to read about how an engineering student saved a (human) passenger using just a ballpoint pen.
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