TEN kits of specialised oxygen masks for animals have been donated to the Cork City Fire Brigade by the Cork Animal Welfare Society.
The masks come in three sizes, small size for a rabbit, kitten or puppy, medium size for a cat, dog, Jack Russell size and large.
Third Officer Martin Coughlan was on site on Monday with his dog Perry to receive the gifted masks and Perry tried out a large mask for size.
“We are not really supposed to be looking after animals, if an animal is in difficulty, you bring it to a vet, but we come across a lot of people living on their own and their only company is their dog or cat and if there was an incident at their house, they would be very worried about their pets.
“So we always do what we can, make them comfortable, destress them and call a vet, but now we have a piece of equipment that we know will give them more oxygen.
Third Officer Coughlan said that previously the fire service has been using children’s masks for pets and they were not a good fit.
“We used to have to hold a mask on their face, this fits them.”
Third Officer Coughlan said there were benefits in aiding pets in stressful situations.
“To be honest, there is a lot of stress on owners in situations where pets are distressed or low on oxygen and we would like to be seen to be alleviating the stress on the owners so they sit down and take therapy from us and we can help them.
“Everybody in the fire service aims to look after people and everyone has pets so they are kindhearted, good people anyway, so we would always do what we can to help.”
The ten kits will be distributed among the four Cork city fire stations with one kit also going to the Garda Dog Unit.