Jan. 11 was a bad day for Cory Vanhoozer. The Queen Creek, AZ, resident lost much of his home in a fire that started while he was away. But at least his cat escaped relatively unscathed.
When Rural Metro Fire Department crews arrived, a deputy told them he thought he heard children crying in the house. They rushed in to rescue the trapped victim and found a cat, covered in soot and barely alive.
The cat, 6-year-old Baby, was almost dead, and foam was coming out of her mouth. Firefighter Colin Williams pulled her out of the wreckage, and Southwest Ambulance paramedic Shane Collette got to work trying to revive her, using a pet oxygen mask to clear her lungs and get the carbon monoxide out of her system.
Pet oxygen masks are not standard equipment on ambulances. Most fire departments don’t have the resources to buy them, so they rely on the generosity of area residents to provide them.
In Baby’s case, the mask donor was a local veterinary hospital.
"Our staff, instead of doing a gift exchange, decided to pool their money and purchase these kits for the fire department," said Dr. Marc Schmidt of Johnson Ranch Animal Clinic.
Pet oxygen masks aren’t as expensive as you might think. A set of three — small, medium, and large — costs $95. Pets America, a nonprofit organization that provides educational programs for first responders and other volunteers about pet first aid and CPR, sells the kits.
I strongly encourage anyone in any town to take up a collection to buy pet oxygen masks for their local fire departments. A number of groups have done this in my home state of Maine, and quite a few animals’ lives have been saved as a result. In fact, I might just order a set myself and send it to my local fire department. If $95 could save three pets’ lives, it’s well worth it!
Source: Care2. Photos courtesy of Rural Metro Fire Department