The York County Kennel Club has donated two pet mask oxygen systems to Arundel Fire-Rescue in an effort to  help firefighters save the lives of pets. From left are Arundel Fire-Rescue Chief Bruce Mullen, York County Kennel President Sandy Bergeron, 2-year-old Toy Terrier Solo and Arundel Deputy Fire-Rescue Chief Renald Tardif. ED PIERCE/Journal Tribune

The York County Kennel Club has donated two pet mask oxygen systems to Arundel Fire-Rescue in an effort to help firefighters save the lives of pets. From left are Arundel Fire-Rescue Chief Bruce Mullen, York County Kennel President Sandy Bergeron, 2-year-old Toy Terrier Solo and Arundel Deputy Fire-Rescue Chief Renald Tardif. ED PIERCE/Journal Tribune

ARUNDEL — For many pet owners, the regard in which they hold their furry friends and the love they show them is limitless.

Knowing that, a generous donation from the York County Kennel Club is helping ensure firefighters in Arundel can resuscitate pets that sustain smoke inhalation in house fires or lose consciousness from being exposed to toxic fumes.

Kennel Club members have donated two Wag’N Pet Oxygen Mask Kits to Arundel Fire-Rescue so fire crews have proper equipment on hand to assist ailing pets they encounter on the job.

Made of durable polycarbonate, the $80 masks feature dual vents and a rubber-mounted 22mm oxygen adapter that enables unrestricted inhalation and exhalation of air. Each mask has the ability to be attached to an “Ambu-Bag” if the pet needs manual breathing assistance from firefghters.

“We saw this online and being a dog club, we were interested in saving dogs’ lives,” said Sandy Bergeron, York County Kennel Club president and a longtime emergency medical technician for Arundel Fire-Rescue. “Having firefighters have the tools and equipment like this in the event of a fire promotes a more comfortable situation for pet owners.”

Bergeron lives in Arundel and has five dogs and chickens and having worked at the fire station, she knew the department didn’t have spcific oxygen equipment for pets.

She said she was glad that the 30-plus members of Kennel Club could do something to help remedy that.

“It really makes all of us feel good to be a part of this,” she said.

Arundel Fire Chief Bruce Mullen says his department is grateful for the Kennel Club donation.

“I had belonged to another department that had them and they’re awesome,” Mullen said. “As I see it, a life is a life. It doesn’t matter if it’s human or not.”

Mullen said the new mask kits arrived several weeks ago and are being deployed on vehicles responding to calls leaving the fire station.

Arundel Deputy Fire Chief Reynald Tardif said that each mask kit came with a DVD for training and detailed instructions for use by firefighters and EMTs.

“They’re a great tool for us,” Tardif said. “I could have used them in the past. Once we responded to a situation where a dog had drowned and we had to do CPR on it. We could have used one of these masks then. People’s pets truly are part of a family.”

Mullen said pets sometimes react differently than humans to fire.

While humans look to escape a fire, pets instinctively look for a hiding place to protect them from the fire and suffer smoke asphyxiation. And even if a firefighter is able to extract a pet from a burning building, without proper oxygen treatment, it may not survive.

“The bottom line is this is a lifesaver,” Mullen said. “For us, saving a life is nothing new, this is just customized equipment to help us do it better.”

— Executive Editor Ed Pierce can be contacted 282-1535, ext. 326 or by email at [email protected]


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