Rarely are the terms "fire safety" and "adorable" used at the same time, but that was before the Memphis/Shelby County Veterinary Medical Association began raising money for pet oxygen masks.
Invisible Fence, a company that uses signal-based training to contain pets without conventional fencing, works with cities across the country to equip local fire trucks with pet oxygen masks.
The donation-based program offers pet masks to municipalities for free. With the masks, firemen are able to treat pets affected by smoke inhalation. The masks, which come in three sizes, are designed to fit cats and dogs of all breeds, but work for some other animals, as well.
"If you've got a ferret, it'll probably fit," says Barney Raborn, president of Invisible Fence of Memphis. "It would not fit a fish, though."
Jokes aside, the masks will help solve a not-so-cute problem: pet deaths from smoke inhalation.
"It happens more than you think," says Raborn of fire-related pet deaths. "There are 40,000 to 50,000 incidents a year."
Given that, Invisible Fence and the Memphis/Shelby County Veterinary Medical Association want to ensure that every local fire truck has a pet mask.
Memphians who want to help can donate directly to the medical association, or they can donate at their veterinary clinic.
A donation of $25 covers the cost of one mask, while a donation of $75 covers a set of three in all different sizes. SunTrust and First Tennessee also have accounts set up for donations under the name "Puppy Breath."