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Animals, Life

Loving legacy: Push for pet oxygen masks after fire that killed 9 animals

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Darcy Matheson Jun 08, 2016 9:04 am

In the wake of a devastating house fire that killed nine animals, a group of dog lovers is rallying to have all BC fire trucks outfitted with a key piece of equipment that can save pets’ lives in the event of a fire.

Dog trainer Dove Cresswell lost three of her own four dogs and four that she was watching for friends, as well as two cats, in an accidental fire at her Burnaby home last month.

Her friend and fellow dog lover Elisha McCallum describes the loss of Riot, Flash, Harry, Bizzy, Dash, Enzo, Riley, George and Moshi as a “personal tragedy,” and says Dove is “feeling lost and hopeless” after the animals were overcome by smoke and could not be revived.

The 9 animals killed in the Burnaby, B.C., house fire.

The 9 animals killed in the Burnaby, B.C., house fire.

Watching their friend grieve, Elisha and other members of the local dog community have launched a Happy Dogs Legacy fundraising campaign to honour the pets and get every single fire truck in BC outfitted with pet oxygen masks.

The masks, customized to fit on pet’s faces, provide lifesaving oxygen to resuscitate animals that are overcome by smoke. The pet masks are shaped differently to fit properly over the mouth of a pet, be it a cat, bunny, dog or bird, so that it creates a strong seal to receive the oxygen it needs.

Upwards of 150,000 pets overcome by smoke inhalation in house fires each year.

“If we are successful, we will know that something positive will come from all of this — pets across the province will have access to lifesaving equipment that can hopefully increase survival rates of pets that are overcome by smoke,” says Elisha.

Three sizes of pet oxygen mask (Invisible Fence).

Three sizes of pet oxygen mask (Invisible Fence).

And while pet owners would never want to think that something like this could happen to them, the pet oxygen masks are a lifesaver in case of a fire.

“Accidents do happen and it’s important that first responders have all the tools they need to save a life — two or four legged,” Elisha says.

A contribution of $100 can outfit one fire truck with a mask kit with three sizes and required hookups. But every dollar counts — there are more than 150 fire halls in British Columbia, many with multiple trucks to outfit.

Click here to learn more about the campaign, and to donate.

Dove Cresswell and Riot, one of the dogs that died in the fire.

Dove Cresswell and Riot, one of the dogs that died in the fire.

Dove and her dog Flash, who died in the fire.

Dove and her dog Flash, who died in the fire.


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Darcy Matheson
Daily Hive's animal columnist, Darcy is a TV producer, pet blogger and author of "Greening Your Pet Care." She has two wee terriers, Murphy Brown and Seymour.

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