Chiswick RNLI helmsman’s lifesaving skills save his dog

Lifeboats News Release

While walking his dog Chiswick lifeboat Helmsman Mark Turrell’s labrador Hugo, choked on a ball and his heart stopped.

Mark Turrell

Hugo with Lifeboats bandana

Mark said ‘Hugo’s eyes rolled back and he went completely limp in my arms. He wasn’t breathing, I knew he was dead but I had to do something. Suddenly his muscles relaxed so I could remove the ball from his mouth. I’d learnt how to perform CPR on a dog so I knew what to do. I was desperate and bleeding all over him because he had bitten my fingers while he was still struggling.’

‘It seemed like forever but it was probably just two or three minutes before his paw started twitching. His heart was beating again and he licked his lips.’

Hugo has made a full recovery and Mark is on a mission to encourage dog owners to learn how to do CPR on their pets. Along with all the crew on the lifeboat he has extensive first aid trading from the RNLI for his search and rescue job. Mark expanded this knowledge to deal with dogs at a special event hosted by supervet Noel Fitzpatrick. Mark added “you don’t necessarily need to go on a course, just go on YouTube, everyone who owns a dog should know how to do it.’

Chiswick lifeboat crews have rescued many dogs and encourage owners not to go in after their dog if it is in difficulty in the water, but to ring 999 and ask for the coastguard. The RNLI lifeboat can be on scene in minutes and deal with the situation before it becomes serious.

Chiswick RNLI lifeboat station is the second busiest in the UK and Ireland. Since The RNLI search and rescue service on the Thames started in 2002, Chiswick Lifeboat has attended over 3,500 incidents and rescued over 1,750 people, and dozens of dogs. The RNLI is entirely funded by public donations.

RNLI media contacts

  • David Clarke RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer (Chiswick), 07951 210500
  • Paul Dunt, RNLI Press Officer (London/East/South East) on 0207 6207416, 07786 668825,
  • For enquiries outside normal business hours, contact the RNLI duty press officer on 01202 336789
Mark Turrell with dog rescued by Chiswick Lifeboat


Mark Turrell with dog rescued by Chiswick Lifeboat

Key facts about the RNLI

The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.

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Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or by email.