Fire department receives life-saving supplies for pets

Dec. 4—GOSHEN — Goshen's fire department was the recipient of four FIDO bags this weekend.

The Fetch Foundation, out of Scottsdale Ariz., is a nonprofit, "dedicated to saving lives in the animal and human communities through innovative strategies and unique programs that support, equip, and train first responders," according to their website. FIDO bags are just one of the ways they support the cause.

Taylor Hochstedler discovered the organization at an event while visiting the area and expressed interest in receiving some for the city's department, which the Fetch Foundation kindly delivered to her home to be sent to the station. Bags include life-saving tools for animals who were in house fires or other emergency situations including oxygen masks, water bowls, leashes, and other support supplies depending on the donation.

"We've had a couple of those masks in the past and a couple of donated supplies," said Goshen Fire Battalion Chief Shane Heeter. "More or less it contains a mask that we can use for pets. For instance, obviously, with a dog's snout, it's longer so we can hook up oxygen before we can get them to a vet and get treatment for them."

The Fetch Foundation believes that human life should be prioritized, but next in line are pet lives.

"In an emergency situation like in a house fire, we've had a couple of pets that have been stuck in cages and the occupants get out but they were still stuck inside," Heeter explained.

Firefighters often go in after pets when needed and feasible, and those pets may suffer from smoke inhalation, which is just as dangerous for dogs and cats as it is for people.

"It's not something that happens commonly, but I know I've been on (the force) 17 years and I've had two or three circumstances where we've given oxygen to pets," Heeter said.

After they're treated using the FIDO bags or other supplies from the department for the immediate emergency, the fire department works with homeowners to figure out where to take them.

"For a lot of people, their pets are their kids and it means as much as taking care of a loved one," Heeter said.

Hochstedler said the organization hopes to have at least one bag in every station in the country.

Dani Messick is the education and entertainment reporter for The Goshen News. She can be reached at or at 574-538-2065.