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Keeping those pups puffing

Animal Safety -- Gaston woman donates respirators designed specifically for people's pets

By Christian Gaston

of the news-times

Laurie Kemper loves her three dogs, Bella, Petey and Harvey Marine like children.

So when Kemper, who lives near Gaston, read an article in The Oregonian about a local woman who raised money to buy the Portland Fire Department a set of doggy respirators, she jumped at the chance to do the same for Forest Grove.

"I feel sorry for the little animals, people just think they're disposable," Kemper said.

Kemper paid $110 for two sets of animal respirators from H.E.L.P. Animals, a Florida-based non-profit that's distributed $127,300 worth of respirators since the program started in 2003.

The masks arrived this month and Forest Grove Fire Department spokesman David Nemeyer said two of the department's engines have been equipped with a set.

In the past when firefighters rescued animals the only option was to try and provide oxygen through respirators designed for humans.

'We're not trying to get into the veterinary business or anything like that, but oxygen is very important in the first steps of life-saving,' Nemeyer said.