The donation of an animal resuscitator made by the Friends of Turlock Animal Shelter is credited with helping to save several pets that were in a recent Ceres house fire.
The department did not have one of the life-saving devices until the Turlock group donated it for use in Ceres.
Several dogs had sustained smoke inhalation during an Aug. 27 fire inside a River Road residence. The homeowner frantically asked firefighters to rescue four dogs inside the burning structure. When they entered there was "near zero visibility" because of smoke, said Fire Chief Bryan Nicholes. When the flames were doused and the smoke finally cleared, four dogs were found huddled under a blanket under the owner's bed in a back bedroom. One dog was dead, one was barely breathing and two suffered great respiratory distress.
Firefighters administered oxygen to all three dogs at the same time with the device donated by Turlock. About 30 minutes later, two dogs got up and started walking around while the third required another 45 minutes of oxygen treatment before it began acting normally.
"It was interesting that, as noted by the firefighters who treated the dogs, it seemed as if the dogs knew the device was placed over their mouths to help them," said Nicholes. "They purposely tried to get closer to make sure it didn't fall off. They said they kept scooching up closer to it. The masks fit great, they were easy to use, our guys said, and they definitely helped to save the lives of the dogs."
John and Leann Pinkerton of the Turlock rescue organization, a private nonprofit since 2000, told the Ceres City Council that his group is dedicated to saving animal lives. The group has given pet resuscitators — which cost about $285 each — to five cities locally, including Turlock and Denair.