LIMA — Lima Fire Chief Mark Heffner was admittedly a little skeptical when a pair of Delphos veterinarians approached the department with an offer to purchase and donate a pair of pet oxygen masks. His skepticism was short-lived.
On Jan. 3, the day after two masks were put on trucks, firefighters used one of the devices to resuscitate a lifeless yellow Labrador rescued from a burning Lima house at 705 S. Pine St.
“Delphos Animal Hospital gave us a call a few months back and wanted to know if we’d be interested in some pet resuscitation masks. I said sure, it was at no cost to the department so it wouldn’t hurt to put them on the trucks,” Heffner said. “When people lose everything in a house fire, if you can save anything, particularly a loved pet, it means a lot to people. It was a successful rescue. We pulled the dog out of the basement, revived him. It was the best circumstance we could have had. Although I was a little skeptical of masks for dogs, it turned out to be very beneficial.”
Dr. Bonnie Jones, a veterinarian at the Delphos Animal Hospital, said the donation was made possible through a program with the Ohio Veterinary Medical Association, where the hospital and association split the cost of the masks.
“That has enabled us to protect several area departments including Lima,” Jones said. “They have gotten more dollars because they found the program to be very popular, very successful. They have started it up again.”
In addition to Lima, Jones said the animal hospital has provided kits to fire departments in Delphos, Spencerville and American Township. Two more kits were delivered Wednesday to the Lima Fire Department and new kits will soon be provided to fire departments in Kalida, Ottoville and Fort Jennings, she said.
“We’re glad it was there when they needed it,” Jones said.
The partnership through the OVMA hasn’t been around long, Jones said.
“I think the OVMA just started the program last year. It is the first time they did it,” Jones said. “There is a true need. People are really loving the idea of taking care of pets as well as people in fire emergencies.”