The Kent Volunteer Fire Department now has specialized rescue equipment that can help animals.

Susan and Robert Schullery recently purchased and gave KVFD a kit that contains three different sized pet oxygen masks.

Mrs. Schullery read a report about a New Jersey fire department saving 20 dogs using similar masks donated by a local humane society. When she learned KVFD did not have the equipment, she decided to buy them for her local fire department.

"I thought this could be your pet they are saving," she said.

The expense was about $90 but it was one that they were willing to make. She purchased them online from Yuko's Inc.

"If it saved one animal, to me it is worth it," she said.

Ambulance Chief Mike Petrone said the fire department does not have many calls where it is asked to assist animals. He anticipates the masks will be used when pets are involved in carbon monoxide exposure and structure fires. However, the large-size mask was put to use a few weeks ago when a 140-pound Bernese mountain dog needed to be rescued from the Appalachian Trail.

The dog was lethargic and had to be carried down from the trail.

Assistant Chief Gary Hock was one of the rescuers who helped the dog June 10.

They were not able to actually put the close-fitting cone-shaped mask on the dog's mouth. "He didn't like it. We had to keep it about an inch away," the assistant chief said.

The oxygen flow has to be administered differently for animals, Chief Petrone said.

"Animals do breathe differently. The flow is a lot less," he said.

The pet masks have been positioned on the fire department's rescue truck because that truck is expected to be used on calls when pets might need assistance, he said.

For more information about KVFD, see www.kentfire.org.