Donation breathes new life into pets

SPCA give local fire animal-friendly oxygen masks
By: Jenifer Gee Journal Staff Writer
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In September 2008, a Massachusetts firefighter made headlines when he gave mouth-to-mouth CPR to a house cat he rescued from a burning apartment. Today, if local firefighters come across that situation, they’ll have a device that can save an animal’s life and keep the fur out of their mouth. Recently, the Placer County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals donated new oxygen masks designed to fit animals to the Auburn, Roseville, Rocklin and Lincoln fire departments. The cone-shaped masks come in three different sizes to fit almost any house pet from a golden retriever to a guinea pig. “Firefighters have human oxygen masks, but animals’ faces are so much smaller that they have to try and cover the mask with their hands,” said Leilani Vierra, Placer SPCA chief executive officer. Vierra said recently Roseville Fire Department officials approached her and said they had an old set of masks for pets. They said they were in need of additional sets for their growing department and asked if there were any way the SPCA could help. Vierra said the organization then got approval to use donor dollars to give sets to local fire departments. A set of masks, which includes three different sizes, costs about $55 each. “Companion animals are such a part of our households now that it makes sense,” Vierra said. Auburn Fire Captain Craig McArdle said the department hasn’t used the masks yet, but he is happy to have them on hand. “It’s nice to know if we have to resuscitate a pet, we have the equipment,” McArdle said. Auburn pet owner Linda Papera agreed that it’s a good to know her daughter’s golden retriever Jasmine would have the extra help if she ever needed it. “If it saves the animal, it’s great,” Papera said. McArdle added that they are grateful for the SPCA’s donation. “We want to say thank you to the SPCA for donating this equipment,” McArdle said. “It’s a great asset to the department.” The Journal's Jenifer Gee can be reached at or post a comment.