YAKIMA, WA - The City of Yakima says a new donated pet oxygen mask helped save a dog from a house fire earlier this month.
Firefighters say when the arrived at the home in Terrace Heights back on October 14th, the house was fully engulfed in flames. The man who lived there was outside, but his dog, Thor, was trapped in the blaze.
Once additional fire crews from Yakima and Union Gap arrived, they quickly found Thor, who firefighters say had probably been trapped in the fire for about a half hour, suffering from smoke inhalation and heat exposure.
Firefighters carried him outside and medics revived him using a pet oxygen mask that was donated to the East Valley Fire Department by the Yakima Valley Veterinary Clinic just last year.
Firefighters say thanks to that oxygen mask and special training that the first responders had gone through to deal with pet emergencies, a short time later Thor was happily wagging his tail, much to the delight of his owner, Tim Besheone.
A day later, Thor got a thorough check up at the Yakima Valley Veterinary Clinic and was given a clean bill of health.
Thor's owner was especially pleased about his dog's successful rescue because he says Thor serves as a constant reminder of Besheone's wife, Jill, who passed away in 2009 after battling cancer. Thor became part of the Besheone family two years before Jill died and has been a source of comfort for her husband ever since.
Last year, clients and employees of the Yakima Valley Veterinary Clinic donated the money to buy pet masks for the East Valley Fire Department. Staff from the clinic also provided free pet first aid training to area firefighters and other emergency personnel.
"It's great when stories like this have a happy ending," said Yakima Fire Department Lieutenant Jeff Pfaff. "Thanks to the generosity of people like Lance Tormey and the folks from Yakima Valley Veterinary Clinic, fire departments in our area are well equipped and trained to deal with exactly the type of situation that led to Thor being rescued. We are very thankful for that," said Pfaff.
You can watch a video of the rescue on the City of Yakima Youtube channel, by clicking here.