Giants

Ex-Giant Jeremy Affeldt shares story of how he saved his dog's life

Giants

Jeremy Affeldt was out in his barn with his son, tending to his 6-month-old goat when he heard his wife, Larisa, screaming his name.

The three-time Giants World Series champion admitted he felt he was taking care of his "honey-do list," so at first, he wanted to be left alone. But he heard his sister-in-law yell "He's dying!"

He's dying?

He asked his son, Walker, if he heard that correctly. Walker confirmed.

Affeldt, a family man, is surrounded by kids, so to hear screams followed by such an alarming term immediately sent him into panic mode.

As he sprinted to his house, he saw his wife lifting up their 5-month-old, 70-pound dog, Kodi.

Kodi, a South African Boerbel, isn’t a small dog by any means.

Larisa was trying to perform the Heimlich maneuver on the pup, who was choking on a turkey neck.

Kodi was on a raw food diet, and being around other dogs, naturally, each one of them has to live in "survival of the fittest" mode. When there's food in front of him, he has to eat it as quickly as he can before the other dogs make an attempt.

 

"He rolled on to his side, which we thought was kind of strange," Affeldt told NBC Sports Bay Area. "Our other dog was trying to lift up Kodi's head, almost to warn us -- so we knew something was up."

At this point, Larisa had tried her hardest to reach the neck that was lodged in Kodi's trachea, but the grip kept slipping from her hands.

"He was pretty much dead," Affeldt said. "He went limp in my arms. I took my hand, shoved it down as hard as I could and I ripped it out of his throat -- blood went everywhere."

During the interview, Affeldt kept apologizing in hopes the graphic terms wouldn't make someone squeamish. But there was no reason to be polite.

"There's a huge mess outside, I'll tell you that," Affeldt said. 

He then blew into Kodi's mouth despite the dog's tongue hanging out the side.

"He came to," Affeldt said. "He coughed up, I took in a mouthful of fluid, he then shot up, he blinked at me, and then died on me again."

Again, Affeldt gave Kodi mouth-to-mouth. It worked but only for a brief moment. That's when he apologized to his wife saying he was sorry -- sorry that Kodi was gone. But she told Affeldt not to give up.

He noticed the kids were crying, but he was trying to focus. Even comparing it to moments when he was pitching.

"It's weird how I handle pressure -- everything slows down for me in high-pressure situations,” he said. “I could hear [Larisa], but I could focus through it."

He gave Kodi three more breaths through his nose and a big breath in his mouth. All of a sudden, he felt Kodi's cavity swell.

Affeldt didn't think he could save Kodi after the puppy showed no signs of life. He was saying his goodbyes -- quietly, so his kids couldn't hear him. Then Kodi began nuzzling him. Affeldt said he noticed the dog's eyes were huge, probably from fear. That's when he yelled at Larisa to go get some water to clean off Kodi's face that was covered in blood.

The two called ahead to a 24-hour veterinarian, and he asked Larisa to start the truck. He threw Kodi in the back, and they rushed away. Those at the vet already were  waiting for them as the three arrived.

Affeldt joked that the way he was driving probably would have those on the road calling law enforcement on him, but that's a story for another time.

Doctors got Kodi on oxygen, and they were unsure he was going to make it with his lactic acid three times the normal amount. But Kodi made it.

 

That night, Affeldt tried to wind down by having a bit more scotch than he was used to.

"I was just very thankful," Affeldt added. "It's like after you get done pitching, you think about what you did."

For now, everything is back to normal. Kodi is breathing on his own, but there's something different about him.

Affeldt said Larisa loves dogs -- like, a lot. So her bond with them always has been something special. Don't get him wrong, Affeldt admits he's loved dogs, too, but not like Larisa does. That was until he had this bond with Kodi.

"Larisa said Kodi would greet her and was sweet, but there was a cool moment with us," he said. "I have these guys nights where I meet up with some buddies, and my wife asked if I should bring him out after he was home."

He was a bit unsure because he didn't want to start crying in front of the guys. Still, when Affeldt picked up his dog, Kodi got up on his back legs, and put his front paws around his neck.

The two certainly are close now. That was apparent when Kodi clutched to him and refused to let him go. Larisa said it herself.

"He totally knows you saved him."