Country Lane Animal Hospital in Clyde and The Animal Hospital in Waynesville teamed together to address the issue of pet safety in the event of an emergency. Dr. McCracken and Dr. Hammett launched a program in Haywood County to ensure that every fire department had the equipment needed to respond to animal victims of smoke inhalation and fire. These rescue units have equipment to respond to human health emergencies but in some cases are not able to utilize that equipment to aid in the need of your pet.
The two hospitals started this project by purchasing oxygen mask kits for three of the local fire departments. Soon after purchasing these kits, clients of these hospitals donated additional funds to purchase an additional three kits for other fire departments. However, more departments in the county were still left without masks. Tara from Country Lane Animal Hospital took the time to call each fire department and Volunteer Fire Department in Haywood County to see who wanted an oxygen kit or an additional kit.
Jo DuBose, a member of the Western Carolina Dog Fanciers Association, and long-time friend of Country Lane Animal Hospital, became aware of the need to have these kits available to other fire departments. Mrs. DuBose, working closely with Tara Manning, Office Manager at Country Lane Animal Hospital, was able to secure a discount volume price for additional masks. The Western Carolina Dog Fanciers Association rose to the occasion by providing the much needed funding to purchase these additional masks for the remaining fire departments in Haywood County. Western Carolina Dog Fanciers Association went on to expand the program to cover Jackson and Macon Counties. A total of twenty seven pet oxygen mask kits will be distributed to fire departments as a result of the commitment to safety made by the Western Carolina Dog Fanciers Association and their partners.
The emotional loss people face in the event of a fire is compounded by the loss of a pet. Hopefully this addition to local fire and rescue departments will result in fewer fatalities for local pet owners.
The Western Carolina Dog Fanciers Association is celebrating its 25th Anniversary this year! They have made a commitment to serve this community when it comes to pet related issues. Over the last several years, they have donated Kevlar vests to local law enforcement agencies, sponsored a service animal in the PAWS for Patriots program, and rotated monthly donations to Meals on Wheel of Haywood and Jackson County.