Pet masks

A pet oxygen mask is demonstrated on Jasmine, a Sheltand sheepdog that survived a house fire in 2015. The Cen-Tex Kennel Club, which Jasmine’s owner is a member of, has donated the masks to several local fire departments.

When smoke and fire overtook Jeanie Davis’ home in Woodway in 2015, her thoughts went to her pets still in the burning house.

In the years since, she and the Cen-Tex Kennel Club have raised money to help others who face a similar situation.

“When I got to the house, it didn’t look too bad, but smoke was coming out of the roof,” Davis said. “I was hoping everything was contained, but when you finally went in, everything was dark and smokey. It was devastating when I got inside, but I kept yelling, ‘Where are the puppies?’”

Davis’ beloved Shetland sheepdog, Jasmine; Jasmine’s six 3½-week-old puppies; Davis’ two cats, Olivia and Mia; and an 11-year-old Pomeranian named Bitsy that Davis was keeping for a friend were in the house when it burned.

The six puppies, Bitsy and Olivia did not survive the fire, Davis said. Mia made it out but ran away and was never found.

Jasmine was rescued and given oxygen through a human oxygen mask, but air flow was limited because of the shape of her snout.

“It was devastating,” Davis said. “Jasmine was suffering from smoke inhalation, and I rushed her to the vet. She had a rough couple of days, and her lungs were not ventilating well. But with the help of the fire department, three veterinarians and the All Creatures Hyperbaric Care LLC, she was able to totally recover.”

Davis serves as secretary of the Cen-Tex Kennel Club, an all-breed dog show group that participates in competitions in Central Texas. The group started raising money to equip local firefighters with specialty pet oxygen masks and brought in $1,500 by last month, enough for 17 animal oxygen mask kits.

“We’ve had pet oxygen masks for a few years, but sometimes the nose cups go missing or get broken,” Waco Fire Engineer Philip Burnett said. “Before then, we would just have to use a human mask and hold it to try to get some oxygen to a pet.”

Pet masks

Waco firefighter Tyler Bullard demonstrates a newly donated pet oxygen mask with Margot, a Shelton sheepdog. Margot’s owner, Donna Samon, is part of the Cen-Tex Kennel Club, which has donated the masks to several local fire departments.

The kennel club has donated kits to fire departments in Waco, West, Woodway, Bellmead, Bruceville-Eddy, Lacy Lakeview, Riesel, and Robinson and hopes to continue equipping other volunteer fire departments.

An estimated 40,000 to 150,000 pets die each year in fires, most because of smoke inhalation, according to information from Project Breathe, a pet oxygen mask donation program organized by the Invisible Fence brand.

Davis said each of the donated kits have a range of mask sizes an instructional DVD for firefighters.

“The first responders helped me in the fire and helped Jasmine recover,” Davis said. “We hope donating these masks will help make firefighters’ jobs easier and help more pets, like Jasmine, survive.”

Pet masks

The Cen-Tex Kennel Club has donated pet oxygen mask kits to several local fire departments since one of its members lost several pets in a house fire in 2015.

Kristin Hoppa has been covering public safety and breaking news for the Tribune-Herald since January 2016. She worked in Northwest Missouri covering crime-related issues before her move to Central Texas. She is a University of Kansas graduate.

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