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Masks donated to fire department give fur babies a fighting chance

"If we get to a house fire and there is a chance to save the pets, we will, because they are family too"

If you unfortunately ever have a house fire, your pets now have a greater chance of survival. 

"Our pets were our family, and their loss was by far the most devastating part" - Krysta Parks
Krysta Parks and her family are thrilled by the donation of oxygen masks to be used on pets in fire rescues. The Parks family home was the scene of a small fire isolated to a portion of the kitchen. Unfortunately, the majority of the damage was smoke-related, and their two dogs perished as a result.
For archived coverage of the fire: Pets die in 4th Ave. home fire ‚Äč
Parks said that "this is an amazing initiative. Most of what we lost in the fire were just possessions, however our pets were our family. If they can save even one pet as a result, this would be worth it."
"The fire department was close by, and they were here very quickly. My understanding is there was an attempt to resuscitate my dogs, so if the fire department had been equipped (the way they are now), perhaps they would have had a better chance to survive," Parks added. was on hand at Fire Station One, as the official presentation of pet-friendly oxygen masks was made to North Bay Fire and Emergency Services yeterday.

For more details on this story: Fire department to get pet saving oxygen masks 

The donors of the masks, the North Bay Animal Hospital, were represented by Doctor of Veterinary Medicine Sherri Rea, and Office Administrator Lori-Ann Busch. Accepting on behalf of the fire department was Andrew Girard, Chief Training Officer, as well as his faithful assistant, Molly (see gallery).

Dr. Rea indicated that a client of the animal hospital had donated some funds earmarked to help pets. The hospital, inspired by the tales of pets rescued during the Fort McMurray fire evacuations, decided the money should be allocated to aiding pets affected by fires.

For more on Fort McMurray pet rescues:Fort McMurray hamsters rescued 

The Farley Foundation actually received the funds, while Invisible Fence Brand, through their 'Project Breathe,' donated the masks. 

Dr. Rea explained that the Farley Foundation, as an example, will use resources to board pets for women who are in an abusive situation, and will not leave their pets behind. Dr. Rea elaborated, saying that it is "surprising how many abused women will hang on in bad situations due to not having a place for their pets when they attempt to start fresh."

For more on the Farley Foundation:

Firefighters were also joined by St. John's Ambulance therapy dogs and their handlers in celebrating the generous donations to help rescue their furry friends, as well as to model the new equipment.

Chief Training Officer Andrew Girard was delighted by the new equipment's arrival. 

"We've obviously come across situations where cats and dogs are in peril. What we've normally done is put oxygen through their noses. What these masks allow (because of better design and fit for pets) is a better percentage of oxygen that helps bring them around a bit more," said Girard.

"If we get to a house fire and there is a chance to save the pets, we will, because they are family too," continued Girard.

This donation "gives the animals more of a chance, and gives firefighters better tools," added Girard. 

"I've done my share of CPR on cats, snakes, iguanas, all sorts of animals," confided Girard, and these masks only increase their chances of survival.

Stu Campaigne

About the Author: Stu Campaigne

Stu Campaigne is a full-time news reporter for, focusing on local politics and sharing our community's compelling human interest stories.
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