GENEROUS animal lovers have shelled out thousands of pounds to equip Cumbrian fire crews with specially designed oxygen masks for poorly pets – including dogs, snakes and even tortoises!
Carol Jeffreys, a retired boarding kennel owner from Glassonby, near Penrith, first became aware of the potentially life-saving animal aids when her friend Emma Hoyles’ French bulldog pup, Mabel, took ill, before sadly passing away in May.
“Mabel was having cluster seizures and had to be rushed to the vet every time to get oxygen,” said Carol.
“Emma decided to look into getting her own oxygen mask and discovered charity Smokey Paws, which was trying to kit out fire crews with sets of masks.”
After Emma, from Kirkoswald, near Penrith, expressed a wish to provide Cumbrian fire crews with the masks, Carol took on the quest and began a fund-raising drive.
Craft and race nights, raffles and fashion shows followed, donations were sought through social media and with generous additional support from friends and businesses, Carol was able to raise the impressive sum of £4,500, which has been handed over at Cumbria’s fire HQ in Penrith.
“This bought 50 sets of masks for Cumbria general purpose fire engines,” Carol explained. “They are supplied through Smokey Paws, which is trying to get the masks in every county in the UK through charitable donations.
“The masks are environmentally friendly and reusable. They can help any creature from a snake to a small horse and anything in between. Fire crews used to use human masks on animals but they did not seal around their face so most of the oxygen was lost.
“There are many reports in other areas, which have got the masks, of domestic pets trapped in fires being resuscitated successfully. There was also at least one occasion recently where a dog was swept out to sea.
It was rescued and again saved with one of these oxygen masks.”
Each kit contains three different sized masks, a slip lead, a muzzle, and oxygen pipes to attach to the oxygen source which is carried on fire engines.
“I would like to thank family, friends, local businesses and complete strangers (animal lovers) who have supported this fantastic cause,” said Carol. “There are too many to list but I’m so grateful.
“If one animal life is saved with these masks it will all have been worthwhile.”