Langley vet supplying oxygen masks for pets

If there’s ever a fire at her house, Langley veterinarian Dr. Renée Ferguson just wants to know that her kids and her pets are safe.

“It’s going to be bad enough that you’re going to lose your stuff, you don’t want to lose a family member,” she said.

With more people considering pets members of the family, firefighters try to rescue animals when they can. Ferguson is helping out.

Ferguson’s Mountain View Veterinary Hospital is currently fundraising to help make sure that animals rescued from fires can be given emergency treatments at the scene.

Ferguson is raising $600 to buy four Pet Oxygen Mask Kits to be placed on Langley Township fire trucks.

The kits come with three oxygen masks designed to fit over the muzzles of most pets – cats and dogs, but also everything from rabbits to ferrets, guinea pigs to birds can theoretically use the masks.

The masks are also compatible with the existing oxygen supply systems on Township fire trucks, said Ferguson.

The long, almost bell-shaped masks are quite different from the masks designed for humans.

“It’s going to make a good seal with the lips and the nose,” said Ferguson.

The vet has also offered to give the firefighters tutorials on how to use the equipment, although she said they should be a pretty easy audience to educate.

The kits also come with decals for fire trucks and a laminated “cheat sheet” for doing CPR on dogs and cats.

To pay for the kits, Mountain View is running a fundraiser to do pet nail trims by donation. All the money collected between now and May 2 from nail trims will be put into the fund for the mask kits.

She has already made a sizeable dent in the relatively modest cost for the mask kits. Some of the money came through donations after the fundraiser was publicized by popular Langley-based Facebook page Tiny Kittens.

One Tiny Kittens fan from the American south even sent in a donation, said Ferguson.

“If we surpass it, [$600], I’ll approach other firehalls in the area,” said Ferguson, including Surrey or Abbotsford.

People have a different relationship with their pets than they did a few decades ago, said Ferguson.

“Pets are part of people’s family,” she said. They can bond with the entire household.

Langley has seen a number of incidents in which pets and livestock were trapped in fires. While some ended tragically, firefighters have also managed to save dogs and cats from house fires several times.

In the near future, Ferguson is also planning to have stickers made that pet owners can put on the doors of their house, letting firefighters and other emergency responders know that pets are inside.

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