Last Tuesday, firefighters and K-9 officers were trained in the use of kits, which contain pet-specific oxygen masks and charts detailing appropriate medicinal ratios. Dr. Miguel Perales, of the Alpharetta Animal Hospital, demonstrated the equipment on a staff member’s dog who was scheduled for a dental cleaning.
“The core principles are the same, but a few things are a little different,” Perales told officers and firefighters. “Human masks are not made for animals. You need a very tight seal.”
He demonstrated how oxygen is applied to an animal and how chest compressions are delivered; 15 compressions to one “mouth-to-snout” breath with the dog lying on its right side. He also discussed strategies for avoiding dog bites and demonstrated how to properly intubate dogs.
Citizen Sharon Smith organized the effort to get the O2 Fur Life oxygen masks into the hands of public safety. Smith’s husband, Frank Hansen, is a volunteer with city’s Fire Corps. After a house fire off Hembree Road a few years ago, he came home heavyhearted. Although the family had escaped the blaze, the family dog died of smoke inhalation.
“He said all the people were fine, but there was a little girl who was inconsolable because the dog didn’t make it,” Smith said. “This is really for her. I don’t know who she is, but she was my inspiration.”
Smith launched a Facebook page, www.facebook.com/OxygenFurPets, and she would like to keep the effort going, making the masks available to other departments as well.
For more information, call Officer Jennifer Howard at (678) 787-1476 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.