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Dog was ‘barely breathing, gasping’ when firefighters pulled him out

A Sacramento Fire Department crew resuscitates a large male dog Saturday evening after his owner escaped a house fire with minor injury.
A Sacramento Fire Department crew resuscitates a large male dog Saturday evening after his owner escaped a house fire with minor injury. Sacramento Fire Department

A Sacramento Fire Department crew rescued and resuscitated a golden retriever Saturday evening after his owner escaped a house fire with minor injury.

Firefighters arrived at a home in the 7600 block of Windbridge Drive, in the Pocket neighborhood, to heavy smoke and flames. The sole human occupant climbed out of the home through a window but was not able to carry out his large dog, Mojo. The cause of the house fire is still under investigation, said department spokesman Chris Harvey.

After escaping, the man notified the firefighters that his dog was still inside. Fire fighters found Mojo lying in a closet.

“Our crews were able to go in and find the dog while they were putting out the fire,” Harvey said. “The dog was barely breathing, gasping and not really conscious. They got him out on the lawn, got the respirator on him, and tried to do some resuscitation.”

One firefighter lifted the dog from inside the house while another received him through the window, Harvey said. The crew used a pet-specific oxygen mask on the dog and then transported him to Vista Veterinary Specialists in a fire vehicle. The dog’s owner suffered cuts from the window glass but did not go to the hospital.

Mojo, who is somewhere around 9 years old, didn’t have any burns but did suffer from smoke inhalation, said Dr. Tristan Menz, the veterinarian who treated him. He recovered well Saturday night and checked out on Sunday.

“He was very, very lucky,” she said. “If they hadn’t done what they did, I don’t think he would’ve made it.”

An estimated 40,000 pets die each year in fires, according to Project Breathe, a national program that provides pet oxygen masks to fire departments. There isn’t any written protocol for how crews handle pet rescue, Harvey said. He isn’t sure where the pet oxygen mask the crew used on Saturday came from or if all Sacramento Fire vehicles have the masks.

“If we find an animal in the home and we feel we can get it out safely without interrupting normal emergency operations, we’ll do so,” he said. “We don’t want to suspend the primary search, where we’re looking for humans.”

Sammy Caiola: 916-321-1636, @SammyCaiola

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