• Graham firefighters add pet oxygen masks to every rig

    By: Shelby Miller

    Updated:

    Firefighters in the South Sound have a new lifesaving tool they can use to help pets during fires thanks to a donation from a local pet resort.

    Graham Fire & Rescue firefighter Brian Budd recalls the day firefighters rescued a puppy from a burning home.

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    "They said, ‘Our dog's in there, our dog's in there,’ and the family was outside just heartbroken,” he said.

    Pictures from the fire show first responders using a makeshift oxygen mask to save the puppy’s life.

    “We brought their new puppy out and it was the most wonderful thing for this family to be reunited with their puppy they'd just got,” said Budd.

    Firefighters know pets are part of the family, but it hasn’t always been easy to help animals when responding to scenes.  

    "To have to cut an oxygen mask or, you know, just makeshift a mask to try to do this has worked OK, but it hasn't supplied the oxygen to the pet like it should,” said Budd.

    Pet Ponderosa owner Regis Jackson decided to make a donation to help animals in Pierce County.

    “This is one gift that I don't mind giving, but I don't want them to ever have to use it,” said Jackson.

    He and his wife, Nancy Jackson, purchased eight pet oxygen mask kits, which is enough to outfit every Graham Fire & Rescue rig.

    The masks come in three sizes. They’re designed to clear an animal's lungs by fully covering their snout. The kit isn’t just for dogs and cats, the small mask is tiny enough to help a mouse and the large mask can save a small horse.

    It's a donation that would've cost the department about $800.

    “It's emotional,” said Jackson. “People are used to calling 911 for people, well, even when I refer to my dogs, I refer to them as people.”

    Firefighters said it’ll take them about a month to train before the pet oxygen masks will be ready for use.

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