Smokey Paws Charity Helps Save Animals

Shutterstock / Firefighter Montreal © Firefighting equipment

Smokey Paws Charity helps save animals by providing the right equipment to firefighters.

It’s just another thing we need to thank these vital workers for on this, Firefighters Memorial Day, with the recognition they put their own lives at risk every time they answer a call.

Here we revisit Dawn Geddes’s interview to find out more about this wonderful charity.

‘Smokey Paws Charity Is A Labour Of Love’

When Lynn Carberry moved from the USA to Weston-super-Mare , she made a surprising discovery. In the midst of house renovations, she discussed fire safety arrangements with her husband Brian and what would happen to their beloved dog, Deefer, in the event of a blaze.

“I told my husband that the fire service would use a pet oxygen mask on our dog, like they do in the US. But he was sure that we didn’t have them here in the UK. And when I visited our local fire station to check, I was shocked to discover that it wasn’t something the fire service had here.”

So, Lynn and her husband quickly imported a set of pet oxygen masks from the US, donating them to their local station. And, as word spread about their gift, people contacted the couple, looking to do the same.

Donated Thousands Of Masks

Spurred on by this, Lynn and her husband set up the not-for-profit organisation Smokey Paws in 2015 and began raising funds to provide pet masks to every fire station in the UK.

“There are over forty thousand house fires in the UK every year, and because our pets are so often indoors, there’s no way for them to get out. When we found out that the UK fire and rescue service didn’t carry pet oxygen masks as standard equipment, we wanted to change that to increase the chances of reviving pets caught in life-threatening circumstances.”

To date, Smokey Paws has donated thousands of masks across Britain. They are continuing to fund-raise for more masks.

“The feedback we’ve received from the fire service has been terrific. They didn’t realise that there was equipment like this out there, but now that they’ve seen the masks in action, they know the huge difference they make.”

Smokey Paws Helps Save Animals

“Without access to these masks, they use human ones which aren’t all that effective on animals. Only around ten percent of oxygen gets through using a human mask, compared to the eighty-five to ninety percent oxygen with a pet mask. They are specifically designed to fit over their snouts.”

Lynn says that the masks come in three sizes, to fit different animals.

“We’ve seen the masks used on cats, dogs, hamsters, snakes and guinea pigs, to pigs, sheep and horses. Oxygen has a calming effect, so the masks are useful in other emergency situations, too.”
Lynn says they have been bowled over by the amount of support already received.

“We really couldn’t do any of this without the amazing help we receive from organisations such as Pets At Home and the National Pet Show, and the fantastic fund-raising efforts of individuals and groups across the UK.”

The couple run the organisation around full-time jobs and family commitments.

“Smokey Paws is a real labour of love. Supplying the fire services with the tools they need to save more animals is incredibly important to us as a family.”

Click here to find out about amazing Simba, the dog who works for London Fire Brigade.

Yvonne McKenzie

Yvonne works on the Features team and admits to being nosy, so loves looking after the Between Friends letters and finding out all about our lovely readers. She also looks after our health copy and enjoys writing about inspiring people that help make the articles in the magazine so interesting.