By CHERIL VERNON
When their beloved 10-year-old greyhound Jett was put to sleep recently because he had cancer, the dog’s owners wanted to do something special in his honor.
On Thursday, Alan and Mary Middleton of Palestine donated three sets of pet oxygen masks to the Palestine Fire Department.
“My wife found the pet oxygen mask sets online the day we put him down as a gesture for him. This was our third greyhound. The first two died when they were 13 years old and she gave donations to the greyhound organization in their honor in the past,” Alan Middleton said. “This time, she was looking for something different to honor Jett.”
The Middletons purchased the sets (from www.petsamerica.org) and each came with a instructional DVD for first responders on pet CPR and instruction cards for using the masks.
“We are more than happy to use them. It’s very nice someone in the community chose to donate these to the fire department,” PFD Chief Alan Wilcher said Thursday as he accepted the donation from Alan Middleton. “There are three sets of oxygen masks with a small, medium and large mask with each set. We will put them on Engines 1, 2 and 3 at Stations 1, 2 and 3 so each station will have one.”
Wilcher said firefighters have used their own oxygen masks in the past to revive pets on the scene of a fire, but the pet oxygen masks will be useful because they are made specifically for a pet’s snout. On Thursday, firefighters from Station 1 watched the instructional DVD on pet CPR along with Wilcher.
“It’s good information because it helps us know what side to roll them on, where their arteries are and how to check their pulse,” Wilcher said.
As an example, the PFD responded to a fire in the 100 block of East Dallas Street Wednesday where five small dogs located in the backyard were rescued by the city animal control officer and turned over to the owners.
“We could have tended to them on the scene, if needed and it would be a lot easier to put (the new masks) on the pets and possibly revive them,” Wilcher said.
For many people, pets are considered family or loved ones.
“Anything we can do to save a pet we will do because we know how much they mean to many people — they are their family,” Wilcher added.
According to donor, pet oxygen masks have been used on an animal as small as a gerbil and as large as a moose.
To view pet CPR and oxygen mask training videos, visit www.petsamerica.org/training.html