photo credit:  Ms. Laurie Kegley, MTFD PIO Photographer
MIDDLETOWN, NJ - The Middletown Township Fire Department (MTFD) received a donation of 11 sets of specially-designed pet oxygen mask kits from at-home pet services provider Canine Company on Wednesday March 14th at the Lincroft Fire Company.  Ms. Alison Tharp, the Canine Company Monmouth County representative, presented the donation of the oxygen masks to MTFD Fire Chief Ryan M. Clarke and Mayor Stephanie Murray. The kits will be deployed to all eleven MTFD stations so first responders will be able to deliver oxygen to pets in need on the scene of house fires and other emergencies.

These masks add a new dimension to the level of service the Middletown Township Fire Department provides to our residents. “We embrace the suggestions of our residents and in this case it was a resident of the Lincroft section of town that brought this opportunity to our attention,” Chief Clarke commented. “The department pursued this further with the Canine Company and we were able to secure this very generous donation.”

Family pets are at special risk during a home fire because they are unable to leave the house without help. An estimated 40,000 die each year nationwide from smoke inhalation.  Human oxygen masks do not fit the shape of most pets’ snouts, making it difficult for firefighters to provide life-saving oxygen effectively on scene. The pet oxygen masks the Fire Department is receiving are specifically designed for the shape of an animal’s snout.  Each set includes masks in three sizes to fit a wide range of pets – from small mammals like rabbits to giant breed dogs.

“It’s reassuring to know that all of our fire stations will now be equipped with pet oxygen masks to help keep our four-legged friends safe,” said Mayor Stephanie Murray. “Our amazing all-volunteer fire department is always seeking new ways to better serve our residents -- including our beloved pets!” 

The Canine Company was founded by a family of pet lovers and their mission is to help other families keep their pets healthy, safe and happy. “We do that with the products and services we offer our clients, and also with charitable programs like this one,” said Ms. Tharp. “Our goal is to get these masks into to the hands of first responders in every community we serve.”

According to Ms. Tharp, this is one of the largest donations Canine Company has made in the 10 years of the program. “We are grateful to Middletown’s first responders for their concern for the well-being of family pets and their willingness to put this equipment on their vehicles,” Tharp added.

About the Donation and the Middletown Township Fire Department

This genesis of the donation began when a concerned Lincroft resident contacted the Lincroft Fire Company inquiring if the fire company carried pet oxygen masks to assist animals suffering smoke inhalation. Lincroft resident Ms. Stanee Rae Murray further provided the link for Project Breathe: https://www.invisiblefence.com/why-invisible-fence/project-breathe.  The Lincroft Fire Company pursued the effort with the goal of possibly helping the entire department.  Lincroft Fire Company had a dog rescue from a structure fire this summer, had the masks been available at that call they would have been used.

The Middletown Township Fire Department is an all-volunteer organization servicing Middletown’s forty-eight square mile response area.

About Canine Company

Canine Company, which is based in Connecticut, provides at-home pet care products and services including the Invisible Fence® brand systems and Manners dog obedience training to pet parents across New England, New York and New Jersey.  Through its Canine Love campaign, the company supports pet rescue and provides pet oxygen masks to first responders. For information, visit www.caninecompany.com or call 800-818-3647.