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Animal Oxygen Masks Donated to Neosho Fire Department Expected to Save Pet Lives

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The Neosho Fire department gets a new lifesaving tool for some of its trucks.

It’s a donation of special oxygen masks that will help save special members of many families: pets.

"It’s a very traumatic thing. Something you never forget ever."

Animal rescue operator, Mary Ann Schlau remembers when fire hit her home after a lightning strike back in 1972 claiming the life of her cat.

"We did lose the complete house and we did unfortunately lose Barney, our big cat. He went under the chair and that was the end.  He didn't get burned in the fire, but he did from the smoke inhalation."

Schlau believes oxygen masks could have saved her cat. Now the Neosho fire department will have them on every main engine truck.

The sets donated by Midway Veterinary Clinic have masks in three sizes so they can not only fit dogs and cats, but ferrets, birds and other animals.

Midway veterinarian and owner, Kenton Beard says, "Animals are subject to the same things humans are in the event of a fire. Smoke inhalation gets us long before the fire does. The same thing happens with animals and   often times in emergency medicine the sooner we can intervene, the greater chance for success we have."

Firefighter Wade Sterling has worked to rescue animals. He remembers  a case where a dog and her puppies were in the basement of a burning home.

 Sterling says, "We had to use what we had to get the dogs. We saved all of them but one.  But these devices that they're doing, would be great. I  mean they adapt great with the equipment we already have."

Even those who haven't lost a pet say it’s comforting to know the fire department has the tools it needs.

Dee Drake, a customer of Midway clinic says of her dog Daisy, “We've had her 6 years and we just love her to pieces. She means a lot and my child likes her as well. And its very reassuring that they have these masks now, just because, I know if my child lost everything at least maybe her pet could be saved out of it. "

Statistics show seventy percent of homes have a pet. And all say they're part of the family.

Sterling says, "For most people  their animals are exactly like their kids."

     Midway responded to an initiative of the Missouri Veterinary Medical Association Animal Welfare Committee  hoping to outfit every fire truck in the state of Missouri with pet oxygen masks.

     The kits cost about one hundred dollars each.

    

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