drowned squirrel
Rick Gruber saved the squirrel by gently massaging its lungs.YouTube/Rick Gruber

A man rescued a dying squirrel he found drowning in a pool in Arizona by performing CPR on it.

Pool repair man Rick Gruber filmed the rescue attempt after fishing the small creature out of a pool he had been working on.

The video shows Gruber, an animal lover, gently squeezing the squirrels sides trying to get it to start breathing again, with it draped over a plastic pipe – a trick he had learned in CPR classes.

After a few minutes of Gruber performing CPR and encouraging the animal, saying "c'mon little guy", the squirrel coughs up water and takes in shallow breaths.

"I would do it for anybody: a rodent, a dog, a cat, anything," he told CNN. "I just gently pushed on his rib cage then squeezed his sides, thinking at some point I'm gonna find his lungs."

He then laid the squirrel on a pad and films as it slowly regains consciousness and opens its eyes. After waking up it starts to move around and within 45 minutes, it runs off as if nothing happened.

Asked if he had thought about giving the squirrel mouth-to-mouth, he said: "I thought, 'No, I don't want to get bit. I don't want to catch anything from him."