options to treat animals
By Emily Greenberg
Posted July 19, 2010 at midnight
Munford resident Darrell Bright says his two dogs are like children to him.
So when Bright and his wife heard that Shelby County firefighters were able to resuscitate seven animals with pet oxygen masks in a June 29 fire, they decided to donate similar masks to the Munford Fire Department.
"If the house burned down, it would be bad. But if we lost the dogs, it would be a tragedy," said Bright, a computer programmer.
The Brights bought three pet oxygen mask kits from Wag'N Enterprises, which sells emergency management products for pets. Since 2008, Wag'N Enterprises' O2 Fur Life Program has provided more than 190 American and Canadian fire departments with pet oxygen masks. The $65 kit includes three oxygen-mask sizes, oxygen tubes, a carry bag and an instructional DVD.
Munford Fire Chief J.R. Bonson said the pet oxygen masks work just like those for humans. The masks cover the animal's snout and direct oxygen flow, said Bonson. The masks can be used on dogs, cats, ferrets, birds, hamsters, alpacas and wolves, according to the Wag'N website.
Since occurrences of pet smoke inhalation are relatively rare, smaller fire departments usually do not carry the masks, said Bonson.
"Smaller departments like ourselves are strapped on funds to begin with, and that type of thing would be considered more of a luxury item for us," said Bonson.
He said the masks will help the Munford Fire Department enhance its save rate for animals.
"When you're trying to get out of the house, get in touch with Fido, too," said Bonson, who warned that pet owners should not endanger themselves in the process.
The Brights said they hope to donate more pet oxygen masks.
"If I can save one person's pet, then it's worth every dime," said Bright.