Alsatian who had CPR performed on him by fast-thinking owner has died after collapsing on Stornoway Golf Course

Colin Maclean with Zak the Alsatian, who suffered a heart attack on Tuesday
Colin Maclean with Zak the Alsatian, who suffered a heart attack on Tuesday

A dog that made national headlines after its owner performed cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) techniques he had just learned on a First Aid course has tragically died.

Ironically Zak the Alsatian collapsed on the same golf course in the Outer Hebrides from which he was saved six months earlier.

Hearbroken owner Colin Maclean said the effects of the first heart attack Zak suffered in December had proved too much.

Zak suffered a second heart attack chasing a rabbit on Stornoway Golf Course on Tuesday.

CPR saved life of ‘dead’ dog Zak

The story of Mr Maclean’s devotion to his beloved pet had touched animal lovers worldwide.

When Mr Maclean signed up to a First Aid course at work, he never imagined his first patient would be his dog.

Yet the 52-year-old was able to put his skills to amazing use – by resuscitating his beloved Zak.

During a morning walk, the dog was running through the newly-fallen snow – something he’d never seen before – and was biting mouthfuls of the white powder from the ground.

But all of a sudden, possibly caused by the excitement and the cold, the dog keeled over and collapsed.

Alarmed, Mr Maclean rushed to the animal’s side, but he could find no signs of life: Zak’s breathing had stopped and he was blanked-eyed and unresponsive.

In desperation, Mr Maclean decided to adapt the CPR techniques he had learned on a plastic mannequin to try and treat his stricken pet.

Remembering the lessons from the First Aid course, he put his palms onto the ribs above Zak’s heart and started to perform rapid chest-compressions.

Half-way through a third cycle of compressions, Zak suddenly twitched backed to life and started to breathe again.

Mr Maclean won the praise of veterinary experts for the quick thinking  that saved the animal’s life.

But today he said the five-year-old pet had fallen victim second heart attack. Zak was being walked by Mr Maclean’s partner at the time.

“To say I’m heartbroken is an understatement,” said Mr Maclean.

“He was on the golf course chasing rabbits and he died doing what he loved doing. I take some comfort in the fact that he lived another six months thanks to CPR and I would encourage people to go and learn it. It gave Zak more life. Unfortunately he suffered from a heart murmur since he was a puppy and had some weakness there.”

Mr Maclean, from outside Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis, added that his other Alsatian Zeus was also suffering from the loss of his companion.

Mr Maclean, a builder, learned First Aid at a Scottish Ambulance Service training session being run at Engebret filling station and shop in Stornoway where he was working on a job.

He said: “If I had not done that CPR course Zak would have died then. I never thought that I would be applying CPR to a dog –  but a heart’s a heart. You never know who you will be trying to save.”