Because I love all things about animals, I was extra happy to see a pair of recent news stories reporting on two pet heroes, one dog and one cat. Ace, a Cocker Spaniel suffering from cancer, woke up his owner and brother dog in the nick of time to save the rest of the family from a house fire.
In the other story, a cat risked all nine lives to save its family from a fire. Although the cat was called a hero, he or she remains nameless in the story, which in my opinion, was an egregious omission by the writer or the article.
These two pets were not only heroes, but were extremely lucky to get out of a house fire alive. According to PetFireAlert.com, 40,000 American pets die each year in fires. Fire related injuries are well known to the intensive care unit veterinarians at The Animal Medical Center. They treat pets suffering from burned whiskers and paw pads, smoke inhalation and red irritated eyes. I can always tell when there is a fire victim in the hospital by the burnt smell in the hall. It’s heartbreaking to watch the family comfort their singed pet by talking through the Plexiglas door of the animal’s oxygen tent.
Time is of the essence when confronted with a fire. Advanced planning is critical to saving every member of the family, including your pets. Rehearse the role of each family member in an emergency; include in your rehearsal who is responsible for each pet and where they can find the leashes, collars and carriers.
- Many families with pets also have children. For fun family activities related to fire safety, visit Sparky the dog’s website.
- Affix a pet safety alert to your windows or apartment door. This alerts first responders to the presence of pets in the home.
- If your home is monitored for fire or intruders, make sure to keep your pet’s information up to date in their database. In your absence, they can alert firefighters to the presence of pets.
- Don’t forget to change your smoke detector batteries twice a year. A good time to change them is when you adjust your clocks for Daylight Saving Time in the spring and fall. A smoke detector without batteries is a useless tool for saving lives.