How a dog – and a SPOT X™ 2-Way device – saved a life in Alberta

An adventure in the wilderness for a hiker could have ended in disaster, if it hadn’t been for a loyal pet and his satellite communication device. Darrell Comeau was on a four-day trip to climb a remote mountain in Willmore Wilderness Park, a 4,600-square kilometre natural area in Alberta, adjacent to the world-famous Jasper National Park.

Around 4:00 am, Darrell’s dog, Kitty, started pawing his face and whining. When Darrell woke up and rolled over to hush him, he suddenly realized he wasn’t breathing. In fact, his airway was completely blocked.

Darrell’s dog, Kitty, on a wilderness adventure. Photo: 2018 Darrell Comeau

His experience working with Grande Prairie Technical Search and Rescue prepared him for an emergency like his, and he stuffed his finger in his throat to clear whatever was blocking his throat. He quickly learned that a large infected mass that was falling into his airway. As time passed, he continued to struggle to breathe. He couldn’t talk, or even scream for help. So, with his vision blurred from choking tears, Darrell reached for SPOT X™ 2-Way Satellite Messengers device clipped to his bag and pressed S.O.S.

His emergency contact, Troy, happened to have access to a helicopter was ready to take action to bring Darrel to safety. However, with the SPOT X™ 2-Way Satellite Messenger device, Darrell was able to communicate with search and rescue teams without cellular, meaning his friend didn’t need to take action immediately.

Darrell continued to use his SPOT X™ to send messages to a friend in the medical field, who walked him through what he needed to do to improve his health and to allow him to hike back to a hospital.

“The SPOT X™ is worth every penny,” says Darrell. “After pressing the S.O.S. button, it brought me comfort knowing someone was working to help me and allowed me to stay calm and focus on my breathing. That SPOT X™ 2-Way Satellite Messenger is never leaving my bag or vehicle,” said Darrell.