Haygate Veterinary Centre in Telford is supporting a campaign led by a firefighter at Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) to provide oxygen masks for pets on all of the county’s fire appliances.
The Haygate Veterinary Centre, part of CVS (UK) Ltd, which has five branches in Telford, has joined forces with firefighter Louise Fletcher, fire officer Martin Huckle and other local organisations, including Shropshire-based Hectors Greyhound Rescue, to provide the masks. Fifteen have already been purchased or supplied by supporters, including two donated by Haygate Veterinary Centre. SFRS is now the second brigade in the UK to carry them and Louise Fletcher hopes that other brigades will follow their example.
Louise explained: “I’ve been a firefighter for nine years and have managed to rescue animals. I have also seen the distress caused to owners when they don’t survive a fire. While rescuing people from burning buildings will always be the priority, their animals are very important to them and the masks themselves are inexpensive and can make a huge difference to an animal’s chance of survival.
“If they are carried routinely on front line fire appliances, we are likely to be able to save many more much loved pets, which is, of course, good for them, but which will also be of great comfort to their owners at a very difficult time. We’ve been fundraising hard to raise funds for the masks and are also very grateful for the support of Haygate Vets which has stepped in to offer two.”
Sarah Wellstead, clinical director at the Haygate Veterinary Centre, added: “We are delighted to support the work that Louise and SFRS are doing to help save the lives of pets caught up in house fires and think it is an initiative that vets across the UK may wish to support in their local area.”
The Haygate Veterinary Centre has a hospital in Wellington and branches in Madeley, Oakengates, Muxton and Lawley. It can be contacted on 01952 223122.