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Pet First Aid and CPR for Pet Parents and Pet Pros – Thom Somes

Special Guests

Thom Somes

President and Co-Founder of Pet Tech, Thom Somes, founded Pet Tech® with one mission in mind: "Improving the quality of pets' lives, one pet parent and one pet care professional at a time!"™ Pet Tech is a premier training facility for Pet CPR & First Aid. Thom and the company teach both pet parents and pet care professionals how to better take care of their furry friends in their day-to-day health and also emergency situations. This, in turn, will allow your pets to have a healthier, happier and longer relationship with their family.

Pet First Aid and CPR for Pet Parents and Pet Pros – Thom Somes

Do you know what to do if a pet you’re working with has a medical crisis? Are you prepared to help a fur friend who can’t breathe or is losing blood from an open wound? If you DO know, would you like to teach others? In this episode, Joe Zuccarello teams up with Thom Somes, Vice President and Co-founder of Pet Tech Productions, Inc., to discuss the value of  CPR and Pet Care First Aid training. Learn how to become an instructor to build your pet care business with popular classes for pet parents. Get answers to questions like:

  • Are Pet CPR and Pet First Aid the same? What’s the difference?
  • Pet CPR Class vs Human CPR Class: Which are people more inclined to learn about and why?
  • Should I practice what I learned in training every day?
  • How does this training benefit me and my business?

Tune in to find out.

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    Welcome to Hey Joe!, a podcast answering questions asked by our listeners, created by pet professionals for pet professionals. And now, your host. Hey Joe’s very own Joe Zuccarello.

    Joe Zuccarello: What’s up everyone? Joe Zuccarello here, and welcome to Hey Joe!, a podcast brought to you by Paragon School of Pet Grooming. Check out our site at ParagonPetSchool.com for lots of really information on a variety of programs, products and to connect to educational resources such as webinars, podcasts, current events, special news, certifications and lots of other helpful information to help you grow yourself, your team and, of course, your business. Let’s get started with this week’s episode.

    Hello again everyone. This is Joe Zuccarello the host of the Hey Joe! podcast. This is a podcast where you get to eavesdrop on a real coaching call between myself and a subject matter expert in our industry. We’re answering questions that we get all the time from the Hey Joe! listener audience. A lot of those questions come to us via our email address, which is HeyJoeQuestions@ParagonPetSchool.com.

    Are you prepared for the unexpected? Most days kind of just click along, sometimes we’re just trying to get through a busy day, or sometimes we’re dealing with issues such as client challenges, weather, equipment failures even, or even what I like to call, “Just a bad case of the Mondays.” Sometimes we’re looking ahead and we’re trying to figure out how do we grow our business or grow our team? And then sometimes we’re just caught off-guard. Maybe we’re caught off-guard by an injury to a person on our team, ourselves, maybe even a pet.

    Well, luckily this problem doesn’t happen very often, but do you know what to do when it happens? Since we’re not faced with this every day, there’s probably a good chance that we may now even be on our game or may even freeze up and forget to do what we’re supposed to do when that times happens. One of the very best ways to prepare for this is to train for it, and to study, and to know what you’re supposed to do, and maybe even practice it, kind of like you did when you were in school and that fire alarm happened.

    Today we’re talking with Thom from Pet Tech, CPR and first aid care for pets. He’s going to provide us with some really great information that you need to start your skills training or even to refresh the skills that you might have already acquired at some point in your career. Be sure to stick around to the end of the podcast to hear about something really cool that Thom is going to offer our Hey Joe! podcast listeners exclusively, for any of your enrollment in any of the Pet Tech programs. You can always go to Paragon Pet School to learn more about Pet Tech, about Paragon’s education programs in grooming or any of our other episodes on the Hey Joe! podcast.

    Thom and I are going to be talking about pet first aid and CPR and this is, again, a question that came directly from the Hey Joe! listener audience out there. This question came via email by the way of our email address. Again, if you want your question submitted for a future Hey Joe! podcast, please send your question to HeyJoeQuestions@ParagonPetSchool.com. Let’s get started with today’s episode.

    Hey there everyone, this is Joe Zuccarello your host of the Hey Joe! podcast, and I am joined today by Thom. Thom is, when it comes to pet safety and first aid and CPR, Thom and his group and his team members over at Pet Tech are certainly leaders of the pack, if you would. Thom is going to spend some time with us today to just kind of maybe tell you things that maybe you did know, maybe some things you didn’t know, but to certainly give you some information that you’ll find beneficial.

    Thom, I did a quick intro of you, but I always in my podcast that nobody does a better job of introducing themselves and telling us their story than my guest. Thom, thanks for joining us today. I appreciate you jumping on the podcast.

    Thom Somes: Oh, I’m so happy to be here because any time we can reach out to pet parents and pet care professionals with our message, which really is about, the bottom line is about improving the quality of pet’s lives, especially in a medical emergency. But coming back to me, I originally trained with the Michigan State Police in underwater recovery, which means we used to cut holes in the ice, go down and recover dead bodies. It was much too late for first aid, or second aid, or not even Kool-Aid, but more like hot chocolate because it’s pretty cold when you get out of the ice there.

    Fast forward a few too many years and not enough beers, as I like to say, I was affiliate faculty at the Cardiac Training Center at Sharp Grossmont Hospital. It was a great practice there in the human world, and it’s great because I was teaching for the City of San Diego through the hospital. One day, in 1994, this guy in my class says, “Thom, this is a great class, but how would I do this to my dog?” And that was the entire genesis of Pet Tech. It was the power of one question that changed the trajectory, or changed our lives and the lives of actually now deca-thousands of pet parents and pets themselves.

    Joe Zuccarello: In those early days you were kind of called to emergency services. What inspired you to get into emergency services in general?

    Thom Somes: Okay. I just got goosebumps because I always like telling the peanut butter and chocolate story, because it’s really what it is, that’s my story. Is I’ve always had a passion for emergency medicine and, of course, I’ve always loved pets, but who would think to put them together other than the universe serving me? And the universe served me by asking me that question along that way. It was just bringing those two together which we were the first ones to be doing this. We started it before the Red Cross and we have been, as you said, leading the pack ever since with new information and new ways that we can reach out to pet parents and pet care professionals.

    Joe Zuccarello: I really love how you said how the universe serves you. I like how you had a conversation. It seemed to be kind of off-the-cuff in an interaction with another person. He’s like, “Listen, what if my pet’s struggling? What if something’s wrong there?” And you have made it now your mission, you’ve made it your goal now to provide training for pet first aid and CPR. Is it easier to teach human first aid and CPR or pet first aid and CPR?

    Thom Somes: Well, you know what? I don’t know if easy is the word to use, but I love teaching pet parents because they have more response potential, they’re more engaged. When I worked at the hospital we used to make a lot of instructors for the American Heart Association, and we would have instructor candidates come in and I would always them, I go, “Do you want to know the secret to being a really good instructor? Which, I mean, giving good evaluations.” “Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. Tell me the secret. What’s the secret?” And I would lean forward and I would go, “Let your class out 15 minutes early, and you’re a great instructor. I’m telling you, that’s all it really takes because no one wants to be there.”

    However, when we first started teaching pet CPR and first aid, we taught all the time. We taught on weekends, we taught in the evenings from 6:00 to 10:00 doing a class and, I kid you not, at 10:00 people are still there and they’re talking to us. They would help us load our car and take all our mannequin dogs out and everything like that, and still talking to us until finally we’re shutting the door, rolling the window back up, “We got to go. Jay Leno’s on tonight.” That’s how long ago it was, I guess. “We want to catch that show.”

    But the response is people are passionate about their pets and they’ve been passionate about their health for the last few decades, talking about the baby boomers. And now that the baby boomer’s two-legged kids have left the nest, they’ve pretty much been replaced by the four-legged kids and so they’ll do, as I like to say, they will take the time out of their life and the dime out their pocket to be there in a class to learn how to better care for their pet in the event of a medical emergency.

    Joe Zuccarello: That’s the truth, and it’s very truthful also for all pet services. Being in a pet services industry for over 30 years, we’ve seen so many people. I always encourage my team members, “Never involve yourselves in the spending equation,” and what I mean by that is never put yourself … We always try to put ourselves in an empathetic role and try to see things from the pet parent’s perspective and such, but one of the mistakes that some people make is putting ourselves in their role as far as finances and such.

    To your point, I’ve seen folks that pull up in front of one of our facilities and they bring their pet in and it looks like that the car that they drove up in is the car that they slept in that night. They’ll come in and drop $1000 on dog training, or $200 on dog grooming. It’s an alignment of priorities and I don’t know that there’s anything more that holds a greater priority than the health and well-being of our parents.

    Thom, help me help our audience clear somethings up. For the Hey Joe! listener audience out there, there’s a lot of times we kind of couple these words pet first aid and CPR. Are they one thing? Are they two separate things? How do you and the team at Pet Tech see that?

    Thom Somes: Sure. I like to say they’re the same but different, but no unlike. And what I mean by that is it’s the bigger chunk of information, it’s about CPR and first aid. And this is a pet peeve that goes back to be a human instructors in that is that a lot of programs out there, like just a CPR course, they act like a person can have a sudden cardiac event like that, hit the ground and not hurt themselves any other way, and you can do CPR and potentially save their life.

    The things is, it’s all integrated. We teach that it’s not a static situation. We teach that just because you show up when the pet has a heartbeat and it’s breathing, it doesn’t mean it’s still going to be breathing or have a heartbeat moments, seconds or minutes later, so we’re constantly reevaluating it. It can pop back and forth, and so by just focusing or having your attention directionalized to just one of those two, you’re potentially doing a disservice to the whole medical emergency that’s going on.

    One of our beliefs is that, as far as responding, is we believe that your pet patients, they tend to get to worse. If you’re ready for them to get worse, then you’re ready to take better care of them in the event of a medical emergency. Does that make sense?

    Joe Zuccarello: It makes total sense. So really, I mean, first aid could escalate to the need of CPR. I think it’s like you said, it might stair step, it might progress, and it could come out of thin air. You might have to jump right to the CPR portion of it. I think I’m most pet care services-oriented businesses, first aid’s probably, fortunately right, probably the most often needed. Would you agree with that or am I wrong?

    Thom Somes: Absolutely, that is correct. Yeah. CPR is warranted less than one percent of the time. It’s even warranted less than in the human world, because the human world we have the cholesterol, high blood pressure, bad diet, you know those things that lead to death. With our pets, we tend to take better care of our pets, although they tend to be overweight, but they don’t tend to have that cardiac event because they just don’t, as far as their anatomy and physiology goes. We don’t tend to get the CPR. The CPR tends to happen from sudden blunt for trauma, and if that’s involved then we’re probably definitely going to be needing first aid as well, making sure that we stabilize the patient there.
    First aid is actually the one that is the most warranted. Yeah, I can even address some of the top situations you come across that you’d want to be trained for.

    Joe Zuccarello: Sure. Obviously, we’ve got pet services professionals that run the whole spectrum. We’ve got dog groomers that listen to our podcast, we’ve got dog walkers and pet sitters, and that’s what’s interesting too is the environment of where these pet care professionals might be doing their business or providing services. It might be, and many of us, we kind of go that kneejerk mental thought and we draw that picture of maybe they’re surrounded by colleagues, right? So they’re in a salon if they’re a groom, they’re in a boarding facility or a pet resort if they’re doing boarding, or a daycare if they’re providing that services, but there’s a real push and a real popularity boom right now of independent pet care providers that are dog walkers that are going to people’s homes and picking up the pets and taking them for a walk, or mobile dog grooming.

    We did a great podcast with Wag’n Tails not too long ago talking about the surge of popularity in mobile grooming, so you don’t often have the luxury maybe of a team approach, or a backup plan or kind of a tag team when it comes to pet first aid and CPR.

    Thom Somes: Right. The way we address that is we say, “You are your pet’s K-911.” Those independent operators that are out there by themselves, they need to be prepared for those situations out there because they are by themselves. In the old days it was pretty much your first aid kit was grab your keys and take them to the vet. You are your community response team there, so it’s one out of four or more pets could be saved if just one pet first aid technique was applied, and we teach over 50 actions for survival in our training so we cover quite gambit there.

    Yeah, they actually should be trained there because time is your biggest enemy when it comes to CPR and first aid, so you want to be able to take quick action and you want to be feel comfortable, and competent and confident in the skills. The way we train our classes, people do get that. They do feel comfortable, competent and confident in responding.

    Joe Zuccarello: Let’s talk about that. Let’s peel that onion layer back just a little bit more. When we talk about the competency and the confidence and such, when it comes to responsibility though, I mean, you’ve got all of these pet care professionals out there just doing an awesome job caring for these pets. If I asked any of them, I bet out of 100 if I asked them what their number one responsibility was, I’m sure that safety is probably going to be up there. But do they know what that really, truly means?

    What responsibility do you, Thom, and your team at Pet Tech, what responsibility do you put on pet care professionals as far as their training goes for pet first aid and CPR actions?

    Thom Somes: Right, and the key word there is the care. We’re pet care professionals, then that implies a carefulness, if you will, because there’s the two sides of a coin. Number one, we want them to keep the healthy and well. And the other side of the coin is we want them to be ready in the event of a medical emergency, but the thing is is that once you get trained in our training, you have an awareness, if you will, of the potential dangers. And if you have the perspective or the mindset that these four-legged pets are pretty much just four-legged toddlers, then it makes you understand that the greater danger that our pets have out there in the world.
    Yeah, they absolutely have responsibility to help them on both sides of that coin, whether it’s in health and wellness, or if it’s in injury and sickness.

    Joe Zuccarello: I made a note when you were talking earlier saying that your previous first aid kid was comprised of how did you say? Keys and taking a pet to the veterinarian. When is the line drawn between being prepared? What do the pet care professionals need to be prepared for and when do they seek veterinary attention?

    Thom Somes: Sure. Your immediate actions for survival can make all the difference in the world on the long-term outcomes, survivability, recuperation of the pet patient. And the reality is, is that the number one thing that pet parents and pet care professionals come across is choking, choking management. We actually teach three styles of choking. Once is if the pet is conscious and choking, another one is if you see the pet is conscious and then they go unconscious because you didn’t get it out or they didn’t get it out, right? So now the pet is unconscious and it’s a known fact that they were unconscious because of choking, so that’s even more severe. Or, in an unknown situation, where you come up and we have what’s called the primary pet assessment, so that really in the first 10 to 15 seconds of you being on the scene you know exactly what actions to take to help that pet.

    In those first few seconds, in that primary pet assessment, you would be able to determine if that pet was unconscious because it was choking and you’d be able to help to remove that object. So using just that one as an example, the distance between that pet choking and the animal hospital is probably too long for survivability. This is where immediate actions are critical in the outcome of the pet.

    Joe Zuccarello: I can tell you from personal, first-hand experience how beneficial training is of pet first aid and CPR. As many of my podcast listener audience knows is that I had the pleasure of working with a very high-end, first class pet resort, a small independent chain in the St. Louis area, and goodness, we would have 150 dogs a day in daycare and we could have 650 dogs in our care overnight in boarding and such. I mean, there was a lot of pets, a lot of pet fur flying through there, but there were also a lot of people. One of the things that, to your point, Thom, is that quick response time. I love that you teach from the mindset of within 10 or 15 seconds of coming upon whatever it is that you’ve having to deal with, you start recognizing because of your training what needs to be done, or at least identifying what’s happened.

    I’ve seen things from grooming injuries that were minor up to and including some heat challenges, so some challenges as a result of being outside in group play, and overweight pets have more of a struggle, just like people do in heat where the average pet would be fine. So seeing something like that, all the way up to and including we had a catastrophic fire back in the early ’90s, and we had 250 dogs in our care that night. The training that the team had in order not only to … It was combined training between pet first aid and CPR, which some of the pets needed, but also working with the local law enforcement and fire protection to try to get the pets out, so evacuation drills.

    It doesn’t necessarily stop with pet first aid and CPR, but it goes bigger than that. But that pet first aid and CPR in that incidence level is just so valuable, and I know that we have benefited. My own person and my own businesses that I run have benefited by that.
    Just a real quick reminder to the Hey Joe! listener audience out there. We’re talking with Thom with Pet Tech, pet first aid and CPR experts, and Thom is sharing some really great information about why it is important for you to consider advanced training for pet first aid and CPR needs in your business.

    We’re going to start talking about the liabilities and are there liabilities in providing pet first aid and CPR? And what type of training is needed for you to be able to augment your business? Then what do you do next with that training?

    Thom, let’s talk about the liabilities that these pet care professionals might feel that they have if they provide immediate care and they do it wrong, or they just don’t it correctly. What do you have to say to that group, because I’m sure you’ve been asked that quite a few times?

    Thom Somes: Yeah, that’s a little bit of a Gordian’s knot there because you kind of think it’s one thing and it really tends to be something else. In the human world the number one reason, the top reasons that people don’t take action is fear of doing something wrong, as you just said, and then the fear of getting sued, because we do live in the USA, which stands for You Sue Anybody. I make the joke, “I can sue you for falling asleep in my class? Am I going to win? But that’s the country we live in here, which is a great country.”

    As far as liability goes it’s more a … Yes, there is a Good Samaritan law for people, which means you have a duty to respond to help people, and there is kind of the same duty for pets. If you’re in the pet field, the pet medical world, veterinary assistant, vet tech, veterinarian, there is laws and every state is different, so I’m going to speak generally here. What I may say here may not apply to the state that some of your listeners are in.

    That is, they have a duty to respond. As just pet parents or even pet care professionals, we have no legal duty. We can walk right up to that pet that is laying there bleeding, step past them and move on. We have no duty to respond. I think what we have is a conscious and a moral duty to be ready to be respond. Your pet care professionals out there, they’re bonded and they’re licensed, well, they should be trained as well. Being trained and just knowing the skills and techniques of pet CPR and first aid is really the foundation of every pet emergency plan.

    I don’t want you to chunk up to the big emergency plan, “Oh, it’s Katrina happening all over again,” or something like that. I mean, the emergency plan can be, I shouldn’t admit this being the pet safety guy, but on Oreo, who helped us found our company, she had black nails. I kid you not, just one time every time I would cut her nails, one would bleed. I was always trying to be so careful.
    That’s not a medical emergency, but it is something that needs to be addressed and so that it doesn’t get worse, and doesn’t get on the furniture and all that kind of stuff. We do have that moral obligation. There is no legal requirement that we have to go and respond to a pet that is down.

    Joe Zuccarello: What’s interesting about what you say there is something that I’ve always tried to remind pet care professionals about is that we see lots of pets go through our facilities every day, every week, every month, every year. I mean, hundreds, thousands, sometimes hundreds of thousands that pass through our doors, and it’s really easy sometimes for us to get kind of caught in the current, caught in the day, and start to see them as numbers, and start to just see them as, “I have 12 dogs on the book today,” instead of saying, “I have Buffy, and Fluffy, and Mitzi and Bitzy,” and start seeing their personalities.

    And as much as we all like to probably not admit it, sometimes we do kind of fall into the current, which is we forget that those are cherished creatures, cherished family members of a person, of our pet parent clients. To them a small situation is an emergency because it’s their one pet. We might see hundreds of pets that day, but it’s their one pet that they brought into us for care, and one pet that they expect to get back in as good or better condition. That’s a great point you made there, Thom, with just trying to make sure we try to keep perspective of emergencies.

    Thom Somes: Yeah, one thing I could add about our training is that … This is only a half-hour, whatever, podcast that I can take a half-hour to do my own introduction because I have a lot of things in the background here. But one thing that I have in my background is I have NLP background, and that’s neuro-linguistic programming. I also worked with Tony Robbins, as well. After him, I went and got my Practitioner’s, my Master’s and my Trainer’s in Neuro-Linguistic Programming, which is really how the brain works. The brain’s operating system pretty much is our five senses.

    We actually have this embedded into our training and we train with a presentation, demonstration and hands-on skills practice. That is a true trifecta to long-term learning, long-term retention and then the ability to take action on that information, because that’s the outcome of all education is to be able to take action and apply it. Just a story here is that I can’t say how many times, and it’s not a specific story it’s just it happens so many times what you’re talking about, you see this generalization that tends to occur over, and over, and over again, and that is people who take our training.

    Now, our card is good for two years. I wish I had a system where I could just you a postcard 23 months after that and say, “Hey, come take our class again. Blah, blah, blah,” and the thing is, we have people who they took it three years ago, four years ago and then something happened to their pet and they responded. Then they send us just a glowing, flowing email, or they call us up and tell us, and one of the words that they use is they go, “You know, I took a class three years ago and it just came back to me.” Now, just is a really interesting psychological word, and I’ll get this out quickly for it, and just as a way to hack the brain.

    I’ll give you an example, I’m sure you have someone you know who said, “Oh, my boss just drives me crazy,” or, “Just pushes my buttons.” It doesn’t mean that person just all of a sudden that happens, but it means that your brain has learned when these things start to happen this is the end outcome, so the brain just jumps. It’s a hack like the video game where you can push A-A-A-B up, down, left or whatever. And see, the brain here has learned because of our training with presentation, demonstration, hands-on skills practice, they said that they’d moved right into action and was able to help their pet. Then they were thanking us and all this stuff.
    We’ve had people who, “Next time you come to Texas we want to take you and Cindy to dinner,” because they were in my class that I taught maybe in Austin or somewhere, the training. And so we have a program that works on more than just one level. We do teach by Edu-tainment, so we do teach fun engaging classes because, the truth is, studies have shown that the more fun you have learning something the more it lights up your brain, the more that it uses your brain so that you can then access that information later.

    Joe Zuccarello: That brings up a great question for me then. Again, if they’re grooming dogs all day, if they’re walking dogs all day, if they are feeding dogs all day, heck, if they’re just sitting just playing with dogs or cuddling with dogs all day. Maybe they’re a pet parent. We probably have some of my Hey Joe! podcast listeners that are aspiring pet care professionals, so maybe somebody hasn’t even got into the industry yet. So they take your training and they go through it, I kind of liken it to … Is it like a fire drill when you were a kid and you were in school? I don’t know, I went to a parochial school so, for some reason, we thought it was genius to go and huddle up in the corner of the hallway and the tornado was going to ignore us, right?

    Thom Somes: Yeah. I’ve been there.

    Joe Zuccarello: But I guess my point though, my question to you is then how do they stay fresh with it? Because obviously the idea is they never have to use this, so it’s not like they’re practicing every day, or should they have some discipline or routine to practice it every day?

    Thom Somes: Well, that’s a really good question, because at the end of every one of my trainings, and we encourage our instructors to end it in a similar way, and that is that we give them number one, we wish that they never have to use anything that they learned in our training, okay? I make the joke, “I hope these last eight hours have been a whole waste of your time,” and they’re like, “Huh?” You get this deer in the headlights look. What I mean by that is you never have to use the skills.

    The other thing is that we give a homework assignment at the end of the training. I’ll nutshell it for you here, but we ask them, “At the end of today, before you go to bed, take our 40 page Pet Saver Handbook and just go from front to back, and I literally mean do that in 60 to 90 seconds. Not, “Oh, two minutes or whatever.” It’s just a minute plus it’s all it’s going to take you to just go page by page and just look at each page and just trust your other than conscious that you’re picking up this information.”

    The psychology behind it is this, and that is that number one, when you go to bed that night that’s when your brain is going to organization and catalog the information you learned today. We have had people who, especially when we do trainings, I speak at conferences and train there and stuff like that, and then we’ll have a booth. We’ll the first day the Pet Saver Training and, the next day, they come back in and they go, “Oh, I dreamt about your last night,” and then I’m like, “Hmm, how am I supposed to take that?” And they’re like, “No, no. I meant I dreamt about the class,” right? And that is because we give them so much sensory information, they’re learning with their head, their hands and their heart, that people tend to dream very vividly that night. That just puts it into long-term memory, it just helps reinforce putting it into long-term memory.

    Then the homework assignment continued is, “Some time in the next week just look through the book again. And then the week after that, look through the book again like that.” Sure if you want to like oh, hey maybe you’re going to come across bleeding because you’re a groomer or something like that, then spend some time and just read that page on the bleeding and reinforce it, and then, once again, on week three and week four. Studies have shown that if you review that information once a week for the next four weeks you will increase your retention of that information by over 500%.

    That’s a homework assignment that we give to help people, and then we encourage them to listen to podcasts like yourself. We have an incredible and phenomenal training, and that’s just me, not me saying it. But the thing is, we hope our class opens the door for you to learn how to better care for your pet on whatever level you need help for caring for that pet.

    Joe Zuccarello: I love that. That’s a great way to stay fresh with it, and then just to kind of crack it open every now and then after that just to make sure you’re staying fresh with it, yeah. That’s a very, very helpful tip.

    Thom Somes: We also say, “Put the book in your emergency kit or put in your glove box,” and we do have an app as well where you can review some things on the app while you’re waiting in line at the bank or waiting in line at the movie theater, or the food line, it’s the place where you wait in line the most.

    Joe Zuccarello: Right, right. Make it convenient, right? So that if you need to get … It’s okay, there’s no shame in forgetting some material, but just make it convenient so that you can get to the material if you need it. Those are all great points.

    Let me just remind the Hey Joe! listener audience out there. We’re talking with Thom from Pet Tech. You can also check out all of Pet Tech’s information and all of the classes that Thom’s talking about by going to PetTech.net. If you’re not at a place where you can write that down, you can always go to ParagonPetSchool.com and find out all of the information on Pet Tech as well.

    Thom, when you talk about this type of training, obviously this type of training is so important for the pets and the well-being while they’re in our care, but how does it benefit the pet care professional themself, or their business?

    Thom Somes: Okay, again, that’s a multi-level kind of a question, because the thing is if you ever save one of your client’s pets, you can’t buy marketing like that. You get a client for a life because they just appreciate you knowing those skills. But it’s really about raising the bar of pet care professionalism. If you have two-legged kids then I’m sure that you went and took a pediatric life support, or a first aid course when you had infants, kids and a little bit older. I’m sure you took one of those. It just makes sense, especially if we consider them or have that mind frame that they’re a four-legged toddler, that they’re at higher risk of constantly getting in danger, regardless of how old they are. That’s why training is so important as well. Yeah, that’s the direction that we’d take with that.

    Joe Zuccarello: Do you recommend, and I know where you’re going to go with this, but I just want to make sure that the Hey Joe! listener audience out there understands, it’s okay to promote that you have this training. It’s okay to say, “Hey listen, I am in my team,” or however many people in your facility are trained for this particular skill, just like you might be a trained dog trainer, or a trainer professional pet groomer or the like. Wouldn’t you recommend it’s okay to kind of boast that, right?

    Thom Somes: Oh, it’s absolutely a credential. It’s a credential, it’s a convincer to have the person, it’s part of your sales technique. I want to hit two things real quick here. Number one, if they do go to our website, PetTech.net, you can get a pre-profile. When you go in there we have badges. So if you’re a dog trainer you can slide a badge up into your profile. So it’s a credibility and convincer thing, there’s this free profile page that we give you at PetTech.net. Then as you take training, say if you take a Pet Tech training, then that actually is put in your … you can’t that in, that is put in there. Once you complete the class, our instructor just taps a button and your badge shows up, it appears there.

    Yeah, it’s a great credibility convincer. Now, just a quick story regarding that, as using it as a sales or a marketing technique, is there was a really high-end, it was called the Golden Paw, after the Golden Spa thing? And it’s really high-end. They had cameras inside there and we trained all their people every year. Our cards are good for two years and, as an instructor or the business, they could make the card valid for only one year. That’s even a higher standard than what we’re doing, so they have the one yard.

    They told us, they would bring the people in and they would show them the individual rooms with the cameras, and actually in their marketing materials when they’re in the South of France they can jump on their phone or their laptop and they can view their pet in their little cubicle, and this stuff. And then they would bring them into the great room where the pets would play and whatnot, and they had our big banner. We have a beautiful logo, please go to PetTech.net and just look at our logo, it’s gorgeous. We love that logo.
    They would see that logo and the tagline is CPR, First Aid and Care, and they’d go, “Are your people trained?” And they would competently say, “They’re trained and kept current every year,” and the person would kind of go inside and go roop, like this here, and then go … it was like an instant closer for them. They would go, “Oh, what do I have to do? What’s the next step for me to put my pet here?” It’s just a convincer. I mean, it just makes absolutely sense. I mean, common sense is not always common practice, but when you see a common practice that is common sense like this, you’re like 21 in Vegas or something like that. It’s a winner.

    Joe Zuccarello: Well, we’ve often said at Paragon School of Pet Grooming it’s that third endorsement, it’s like taking your car in for an auto repair work, and you walk in and you see that all of the mechanics have their documents hanging on the wall and they’re all certified by Bob. And it just happens to be Bob’s Mechanic Shop, right? But if now if you walk in and you see that they’re all ASC certified, well now there a just kind of heightened accountability factor, and probably a more established and routine and rigorous training that certainly drives credibility. That’s, I think, what Pet Tech brings to pet care service professionals of all sizes, whether you’re independent or you have a brick and mortar.

    Even if you’re the dog walkers out there pounding pavement every day, a patch on your shirt, or a stamp on your business or a logo on your website. Those are all very important. But we talk about Thom, so far the conversation’s been dominated by learning the skills necessary in order to provide even more superior care for pets in our care. However, there’s an income quotient to this. Not only does it gain confidence from the pet parents out there, but pet care professionals can also become Pet Tech instructors.

    Thom Somes: The benefit of being an instructor is more than just an income and the credibility thing. It helps you to build your business. I know that we speak to people who are just getting into the pet care profession, and they’re like, “Well, I’ll become a Pet Saver now and I’ll take the instructors later.” And I’m like, “Are you so busy right now that you have enough clients that you’re busy all the time?” “Oh, no.” “Well, the thing is, once you start your business it’s going to be hard to find the time to step away for three days to take our Pet Tech instructor training. Because our instructor training is three days and about 40 hours of training. We teach our Pet Tech instructors more and it’s longer than becoming a human CPR and first aid instructor.

    The thing is, is that we have some little presentations that you can do at pet rescue groups and you’d be amazed how many rescue groups are around you. So if you want to build your business, you do this. Well, it’s a marketing program that makes money. That’s the bottom line. I love that.

    Joe Zuccarello: And it does good. It does good for the community, because you’ve got programs not only for them to teach other pet care professionals, but pet parents.

    Thom Somes: Absolutely. And you can do fundraisers for groups so it becomes win-win-win, which means you win, that group wins and the pets wins. The thing is, when you become an instructor and you get in front of a group of the Rottweiler Rescue Group, which I used to teach for quite a bit. I’d get in front of them and tell them I’m a Pet Tech instructor, blah, blah, blah, and then also. “Oh, we’re a pet sitter,” or something like that. They’ll look at you and they’re like, “Then I want you as my pet sitter because you’re not just trained in pet CPR and first aid, you took it to the next step and now you’re an instructor for pet CPR and first aid for Pet Tech.”

    It’s just a great way to reach out. I mean, you can’t find a better demographic of a pet parent than someone who will take the time out of their life and the dime out of their pocket to be there to learn how to take care of their pet in the event of a medical emergency. They’re going to want a higher quality of care, whether it’s grooming, or training, or acupuncture, or massage or whatever niche business you have in the pet care industry, it’s going to help you to grow that business. It’s going to help you to network with groups as well.

    Joe Zuccarello: Those are all great things. This entire podcast session was spent talking with Thom at Pet Tech and the importance not only of why we should consider pet first aid and CPR training, but why we should put it into practice, why we should incorporate throughout our teams, throughout our business, promote it to our customers but then also maybe consider even starting to kind of spread that training by becoming an instructor.

    Thom has spent a great deal of his day with us today, so graciously agreed to spend not only his time but also sharing lots of information with us, but he is also prepared to bring the Hey Joe! listener audience a really cool special offer. Again, specific to the Hey Joe! audience. Thom, you want to tell us what you’re prepared to offer them?

    Thom Somes: Absolutely, because I truly believe, just in the several conversations that I’ve had with you Joe is that your sphere of influence, your network to pet work of people that you have out there, the Hey Joe! listeners are the kind of person that we want as Pet Tech instructors to help us with our mission to prevent one million pet ER visits, which is one of our missions and goals, as well as improving the quality of pet’s lives one pet parent at a time. And so with that, we want instructors.

    We’re just excited to offer a $200 discount right off the top of our Pet Tech instructor training. You can use that discount. We have over 60 classes coming up between now and the end of 2020, with more classes coming online, regardless of where you’re at in the country here. If you are in other countries, just contact the office directly and we can talk to you, because we are in eight other countries as well, Pet Tech. We’d love to give that $200 discount. Give us a call, happy to talk to you. Check out our website, and I know that Joe, you’re giving us a ringing endorsement here as well, so we would love to have you join us being a Pet Tech instructor.

    Joe Zuccarello: Your free patch is to use the words, “Hey Joe patch.” Just use the words Hey Joe patch when registering for the Pet Tech Pet Saver program.

    Thom Somes: We also know that being an instructor is not for everybody. It does take a personal power and a passion. It is a business opportunity to do this. It’s also a marketing opportunity for you. It allows you to expand and really out. Like I like to say, “You network to pet work,” as we go along here. Maybe just being a pet saver trained is what’s appropriate for you now, and that would be our eight hour training. We cover caring for your senior pet, medicine, dental care for your pets as well as the CPR and first aid aspects of it.

    As I mentioned earlier, we do teach over 50 actions for survival inside of our training. With that, we just want you to be proud of taking that Pet Saver training, so we’re happy to offer you, it’s our corporate certificate, it’s frameable, has our gold seal on it, it’s professional printed, it’s a beautiful looking certificate. We get that all the time. And you can put that up in your brick and mortar or you can put it in your … A lot of pet care professionals have the three-ring binder, it’s their convincer, their sales binder, and put that in there because people love to see that you’re trained. Because it just really kind of seals the deal that you are a pet caring professional.

    Joe Zuccarello: And exclusively for the Hey Joe! Listener audience, you will receive a free patch that will show that you have successfully completed this Pet Tech Pet Saver training program that you can probably wear on your smock or your shirt, or any other article of clothing that your clients will see and know that you have this advanced training. Just use the words, “Hey Joe patch,” when registering for the Pet Tech Pet Saver program. Handle an emergency situation by way of the training they can receive at Pet Tech.

    Thanks again to our listener audience out there for all of your great questions. Remember, send your question to HeyJoeQuestions@ParagonPetSchool.com, and you might just hear your topic discussed with an industry expert in the near future. And please, share this podcast with your team members, your friends, your family, whoever you work with or whoever you associate with in the industry that you think might benefit by listening to it and learning from it.
    Thank you again, Thom, and thank you to the Hey Joe! listener audience.

    About Joe

    Joe Zuccarello is president of the Paragon School of Pet Grooming, leaders in grooming education on campus and online. He possesses more than three decades of experience in the pet grooming, product development and pet business consulting disciplines.
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