Man's best friend gets life-saving assistance
When the Coventry Fire Department responded to a structure fire on Hyacinth Avenue on April 14, firefighters were prepared not only to battle the blaze, but to lend a helping hand to man's best friend.
When the Coventry Fire Department responded to a structure fire on Hyacinth Avenue on April 14, firefighters were prepared not only to battle the blaze, but to lend a helping hand to man's best friend.Their preparedness paid off for Rufus, a 2-year-old mixed breed dog caught inside the burning home. Firefighters were able to use a new oxygen mask designed specifically for dogs, provided by a donation made by Invisible Fence to the department, as well as to several other area fire departments and law enforcement agencies."Upon their arrival they were met with heavy smoke and fire coming from the single family residence," Lt. Bob Stokes said. "The family was able to get out unharmed, (but) their 2-year-old dog was still inside. The fire department quickly extinguished the fire and found Rufus lying on a bed. Rufus was barely breathing when he was brought outside."Firefighters grabbed their pet mask kit and performed resuscitation efforts on the dog. After 15 minutes of treatment, Rufus showed signs of life. He was taken to a local veterinarian by a member of the family and the firefighters returned to battling the blaze. By the time they finished their work and the fire was put out, Rufus had already returned home."With this outcome, I know the family was thrilled," Stokes said. "Their dog received a clean bill of health from the vet and two happy residents got their animal back."The mask was donated to the department by Invisible Fence®Brand, a company best known for making electronic fencing systems built to keep pets from leaving their owners' yards. Rufus was the first dog to benefit from the Coventry department's mask, but not the last."The quick actions of the fire personnel and the use of the pet mask saved this families pet," Stokes said. "The pet mask kit has been used many times with success."Prior to putting the mask into use, the department first had to put together guidelines and protocols. As part of the guidelines, firefighters must remember that animals to whom they apply the mask may be in pain and could react adversely to attempts to fit the mask over their snout.Once the animal is laid on its right side, it is assessed for consciousness and its heartbeat is located. The mask is applied in conjunction with chest compressions and the process continues for 15 minutes or until the firefighter is too tired to continue. In Rufus' case, 15 minutes of oxygen and assisted breathing proved to be just the trick. While cats are often said to have nine lives, dogs like Rufus can now have a second chance at theirs with an assist from local first responders.Reach Andy at 330-580-8396 or firstname.lastname@example.org.