Fido Bag could save your pet's life

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by Catherine Holland

azfamily.com

Posted on September 7, 2011 at 11:43 AM

Updated Wednesday, Sep 7 at 12:01 PM

PHOENIX -- Firefighters throughout the Valley are well equipped to help you and your family should the worst happen and you get caught in a fire and suffer smoke inhalation. Giving that same aid to the four-legged members of your family can be a bit tougher, especially without some special equipment.

A few years ago, a Glendale firefighter came up with a solution for that. He developed the Fido Bag. It's packed with the essential tools to get a pet through a crisis -- pet oxygen masks (human ones don't fit pets' heads), burn sheets, bandages, protective restraints, thick protective gloves for the rescuer and rinsing saline, among other things. Every Glendale truck now carries such a Fido Bag, and firefighters have used them several times to save animals' lives.

According to The fetch Foundation, more than 40,000 family pets die of smoke inhalation each year. Fido Bags could help firefighters reduce that staggering number.

That's why The fetch Foundation, a non-profit organization,  is trying to get this life-saving equipment into the hands of all first responders, but it needs your help to do it.

Marie Peck, with the help of Emma, a specially trained search-and-rescue dog, showed Scott Pasmore exactly what is in a Fido Bag.

"What we're looking for is funds to make sure every fire department in the Valley has these Fido Bags," Peck said. Each bag costs about $275. The fetch Foundation puts them together and then donates them to the fire departments.

The fetch Foundation also works with shelters and rescues to find dogs that can be trained for search-and-rescue work. Emma is such a dog. She lost her home due to the economy. Her temperament and personality, however, made her a perfect candidate for a K9 search-and-rescue unit.

"She is a rock star," Peck said. "She can do urban search and rescue and wilderness."

Rescue dogs have a high play drive.They're also social, friendly and inquisitive. Training takes about two years.

Several of the dogs that worked in the days after 9/11, Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita were trained right here in Arizona.

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