Thursday, March 24, 2011

How Lives Are Saved

Imagine your home is on fire. You have eight dogs inside, most of whom have been rescued from horrible situations and are either your beloved permanent companions or your sweet foster dogs. You scream for them to run out the back door - only one does. It's too dangerous to brave the home yourself, and you are overjoyed when firefighters arrive to start dousing the flames.

If you are unlucky, maybe you get a firefighting team that wants to put out the fire first, before considering entering and getting the dogs. Or maybe you are lucky and your firefighting team cares a lot about dogs and enters the building to pull out all the dogs. But you are luckiest if you live in Gainseville, Florida where not only do your firefighters immediately access your home to rescue your dogs, but they have pet oxygen masks to revive the dogs.

That's what happened to Chris Carney, who fosters and rescues dogs.

Firefighters pulled all seven dogs from the burning home. One dog tragically died on-site, but the other six survived thanks to the availability of dog-specific oxygen masks. As you can see, one of those dogs was a Pit Bull type dog, another was a Boxer, three Retrievers, and a few muttskies. One of the Labs is still at the vet, but the others have all been released.

And how is it that all ten fire stations in Gainseville, Florida have these pet oxygen masks?

It's thanks to Don Taylor of Invisible Fence of Gainseville who donated $600 worth of oxygen masks to the stations as part of its program Project Breath, which works to get firefighters pet oxygen masks that are specifically designed for dogs and cats. And no matter how I personally feel about invisible fences, this company's efforts have saved lives. They are even offering to donate an invisible fence to anyone who adopts one of the rescued dogs.

See how easy it can be to save lives? Imagine if every proprietor of a pet supply store, veterinary office, grooming office, invisible fence or regular pet fence company decided to do what Don Taylor did and donate pet oxygen masks to their local fire house. It would be easy to generate local publicity, boost sales, work with the community and make the world a little safer for dogs and cats who might suffer from smoke inhalation.

The same can be true of getting dogs and cats into new homes. Heck, animal shelters could tie it into this program. Shelters could have a fire prevention awareness week in which they have a catchy gimmick or slogan. Animals at the shelter would have a reduced adoption fee and adopters would be told that if they paid the standard adoption fee, that extra would go towards buying pet oxygen masks for their local fire station so that if they are ever in the same situation as Chris Carney, their firefighters have tools necessary to revive unconscious pets. Good publicity for the shelter, more adoptions, and a ripple effect that will last years. Win-wins, we love them!

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