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On Wednesday, February 2, several Elk Creek, Bloomfield and Finchville businesses gathered together to donate pet mask kits to area fire departments. The masks are helpful for fire departments when a pet needs to be rescued from a house fire. Human oxygen masks are not the right size for pets, and often, even if a pet is rescued, they succumb to smoke inhalation. These masks can also help keep the fire fighters from being bitten during a rescue. Each kit has 3 masks in multiple sizes for dogs, cats and smaller animals such as ferrets.
The donation drive was spearheaded by Becky House, owner of Spencer County Physical Therapy. She saw an article about another community hosting a donation drive for pet masks and thought she could do the same in Spencer County.
“Most people have an animal in their home,” said House. “If there’s a house fire, firemen don’t have much recourse to help animals without proper equipment.”
“We run into situations with fires where animals are exposed to smoke and need initial care, said Chief Nathan Nation of the Taylorsville-Spencer County Fire Department.
The first responders give as much care as possible before
the animals are transported to a veterinary clinic.
“It will allow first responders on the scene to give initial care more than in the past,” said Chief Nation. “We’ve got another option with this.”
House contacted local businesses that she believed were deeply involved with animals and would be willing to participate after learning of the need in the community. No one that she contacted turned her down
“Being in the dog grooming business, we thought it would be a good thing to do,” said Bernice Robinson, co-owner of Dirty Dawg’s Groom Shop.
Dr. Dan Bension of Salt River Veterinary Clinic liked the idea of educating people about CPR for their pets.
According to Jessica Shelley of Elk Creek Animal Hospital, they decided to participate because they have treated the animal victims of fires and seen firsthand how much damage an animal can suffer without proper treatment.
Debbie Perdue of Perdue’s in Paradise Alpaca Farm used to work for House and was invited to participate because of her love for animals.
“Anything to help out to save an animal’s life, I’m all for that. It fits in with my principles,” said Perdue. “It’s a unique and novel way of doing it.”
House’s goal was not just to provide oxygen masks for animal fire victims but also to make people aware of how fire safety affects their pets.
“Animals can be victims in fires,” said House, adding that there are stickers available at pet supply stores for pet owners to place on their homes to alert firefighters to pets within their homes.
Other contributors were Lisa Walls of Spencer County Physical Therapy, Dr. Alex Shelley of Elk Creek Animal Hospital, Bev and Ron Tucker of Waggin’ Tail Kennel, Mike Perdue of Perdue’s in Paradise Alpaca Farm, Dr. Randy Ransdell of Elk Creek Dental, Sandy Harbin of Dirty Dawg’s Groom Shop, Alan Roberts of Big 3 Tractor in Bloomfield and Dr. Catherine Whelan-White and Susan Hoffman, both of Finchville Animal Hospital.
Ten pet mask kits were donated in all. The Spencer County Fire Department received 6, with Bloomfield receving 2, and Finchville and Fisherville each receiving one. Four more kits will be purchased for Louisville fire departments. The Louisville department will keep the kits in the 4 district chief cars. In Spencer County, the kits will be in the first response unit out of each station.