Firefighters honored for heroic pet rescue with Natural Pawz Award

Firefighters who saved cocker spaniels from a burning home were honored this week (KTRK)
May 3, 2014 8:47:44 PM PDT
A group of Houston-area firefighters are being recognized as heroes, honored for their quick thinking while answering an unusual call for help. It was unusual because it was animals who desperately needed saving.

When firefighters leave the station, they're never quite sure what will happen next. Like on a day back in April when they not only pulled a man from his home, but more than a dozen cocker spaniels. They saved the dogs and puppies, many of the creatures overcome by smoke, with pet oxygen masks.

"There are so many great stories of firemen and policemen and EMS people who help animals in distress," said Biff Picone with Natural Pawz.

Picone says that's why it is so important to recognize the emergency personnel who help our pets. And in this case, the Westfield, Aldine and Eastex fire departments, as well as the Harris County Emergency Corps were all there to help the dogs and received the Pawz Hero Award this week for their efforts.

"Most of us here are pet owners and I would want rescuers to rescue my pets, who I consider family, if I was in a situation like they were," said Westfield Fire Department district Chief Chris Turrentine.

Turrentine hopes the department can find more money for more equipment like this.

"I'm working to get the pet oxygen masks for every fire apparatus," he said. "Luckily, Eastex Fire Department had one."

Picone says we are accustomed to these emergency responders caring for humans, but our thanks should be two-fold when they help our animals.

"I think it always takes an extra special effort for them to care about the pets, and give them the same kind of help and support that they give to people," said Picone.

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