Pet Oxygen Mask Helps Save the Life of 3-Year-Old Ozzy the Pug

The Duluth Fire Department First Started Receiving Pet Oxygen Masks in 2014

DULUTH, Minn. – Pets in distress. It often happens when a fire breaks out, or during traffic emergencies. Now thanks to a partnership between the Duluth Fire Department and Duluth Veterinary Hospital, local first responders are better equipped to handle our four-legged friends.

“I treat them like my kids,” said Coralie Anderson, owner of 3-year-old Ozzy the Pug.

It’s a common companionship for many animal owners.

“He’s recovered amazing,” said Anderson. “He runs around, he acts as nothing has ever happened to him.”

Just weeks ago, Ozzy’s mom nearly lost him during a tragic house fire in Duluth.

“When I arrived the fireman told me that he was sorry and that everything I owned was gone.”

Sadly, a total of eight dogs and puppies died from the fire. Ozzie survived thanks in part to quick actions by Duluth firefighters on the scene.

“He couldn’t tell me which one had survived but that one of them was at the Duluth Veterinary Hospital,” said Anderson.

“They just give us a heads up as they’re on their way and we get everything ready we can think of that we might need when they get here,” said Dr. Kristin Dank, vet and co-owner of Duluth Veterinary Hospital.

As crews battled the flames, Ozzie was quickly rushed to Duluth Veterinary Hospital, receiving oxygen along the way.

“He had been about to die right when they found him. They were able to administer him oxygen on the way here,” said Dank.

A partnership that first began back in 2014 helped save a life that nearly slipped away.

“We’re lucky enough to be able to partner with the fire department to provide masks, leashes, and training as far as how to handle the animals when they’re in stressful situations,” said Dr. Steve Schuder, vet and co-owner of Duluth Veterinary Hospital.

A grant received by the DFD years ago helped to purchase dozens of oxygen masks for pets. In collaboration with the Duluth Vet Hospital, they’re now equipped with the proper materials and a working relationship when chaos unfolds.

“For me, personally, it’s exciting because, working to get all this equipment, seeing it being used and leading to a successful outcome for someone’s pet is very satisfying,” said firefighter Tony Schilling with the Duluth Fire Department.

“I just would like to tell them ‘thank you’ for saving him because he’s really the glue to our family right now,” said Anderson.

The Duluth Fire Department continues to work with Duluth Veterinary Hospital to teach firefighters how to properly administer medical attention to pets in distress.

In 2021 alone, the department has responded to a much higher number of calls for service that involve pets needing medical treatment.

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