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Nail trimming campaign launched to purchase pet oxygen masks for Langley Township fire trucks

"We thought here is this simple equipment that is totally attainable that could save animals’ lives,” says Dr. Renee Ferguson.
Maizie, a two-year-old bull mastiff cross, is more interested in the treat than the clippers, as Dr. Renee Ferguson prepares to trim the dog’s nails. Owner Aaron Speers, a Langley Township firefighter, looks on. The vet is offering nail trimmings by donation during April, with the proceeds used to buy pet oxygen masks for Langley Township firefighters to use.

Pets are very much part of the family make-up in thousands of Langley residents’ homes.

Knowing how important pets are to people, Mountain View veterinarian Dr. Renée Ferguson and her husband Matt started looking into whether fire trucks were outfitted with oxygen masks for pets.

“Because of a dog’s pointy nose or different sizes of an animal’s face, a human oxygen mask can’t fit to supply much-needed oxygen,” said Ferguson.

“My husband and I had heard about oxygen masks for pets and started to research it online. We thought here is this simple equipment that is totally attainable that could save animals’ lives.”

Three oxygen mask kits, offering three different sizes (shaped like cones) will cost $600 (U.S.) to purchase.

The Fergusons decided they would offer doggy nail trims by donation for the month of April, with the goal of buying the pet oxygen masks.

After less than two weeks into the fundraiser, Mountain View was more than halfway to reaching their fundraising goal.

“We’ve had huge support from our Facebook  page,” she said.

But a donation even came in from the United States, from someone who heard about their idea through the website.

Ferguson has donated her time helping many of the abandoned litters that make their way to the webcam home of LAPS supporter and kitten foster mom Shelly Roche.

If the Fergusons surpass their goal, they hope to outfit other local fire departments, including Surrey and Abbotsford.

“These masks get efficient oxygen to the pets and can help the survival of an animal,” said Ferguson. “Having these masks on board will decrease stress for firefighters who will have the equipment needed to save a pet’s life.”

Township firefighters and their union IAFF local 4550 were on board with the idea right away, said Matt.

Russ Jenkins, district fire chief of protective services, said firefighters are looking forward to having the kits on the trucks and to be trained on how to use them.

“We carry oxygen on our trucks so this will be another tool to help families during fire,” said Jenkins. “Our firefighters have pets so they are totally on board with this.”

Langley Township fire department has been involved in large animal rescue for years, helping pull cows and horses stuck in ditches and mud. The department is often called to other jurisdictions because of its expertise in that area.

They have rescue straps on all the trucks. Jenkins said this is another good tool to have on the trucks.

Several of the firefighters have brought their dogs in to get their nails clipped to support this, including Township firefighter Aaron Speers, who brought in his dog Maizie.

In co-operation with the TOL fire department and Langley firefighters union IAFF local 4550, the mask kits will be presented to the fire department during the week of May 3, to coincide with National Emergency Preparedness Week.

In addition to providing the masks, Ferguson will also be providing training on how to correctly use the masks, as well as pet CPR.

“It’s really easy to use these masks,” said Ferguson. “The firefighters are familiar with all of this.”

If you would like to have your dog’s nails trimmed, with a donation going towards the pet oxygen masks, you can book an appointment at 604-427-2744. Everyone is welcome.

Monique Tamminga

About the Author: Monique Tamminga

Monique brings 20 years of award-winning journalism experience to the role of editor at the Penticton Western News. Of those years, 17 were spent working as a senior reporter and acting editor with the Langley Advance Times.
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