Little Shih Tzu Tiny is breathing a little easier Friday.
Indeed, if it weren't for firefighters, he wouldn't be breathing at all. The five-year-old dog was pulled out of a smoke-filled bedroom on the second floor of a Bray Circle townhouse, in the Leslie St.-Davis Dr. area of Newmarket, by a neighbour and was in the front hallway as Central York firefighters arrived. Platoon Chief Brian Patrick, an owner of four small dogs himself, realized the dog didn't have a chance of surviving unless it was resuscitated and got some oxygen. "What I did was just some resuscitation procedures," he said Friday. "The dog's pulse and the dog's respiration rates were not adequate to sustain life." While his crew of firefighters doused the fire believed to have started accidentally, Patrick performed chest massage for Tiny while administering oxygen using a specialized mask designed specifically for canines. "It was donated to us two, three years ago," he said. The masks are now on all five front-line trucks and later this year, it's to be added to a sixth truck, Patrick said. He said the masks are adaptable for the various snouts of different dog breeds and for cats. The mask for humans wouldn't seal properly around the face of an animal. "This mask is like a long wide tube with a rubber gasket on the bottom side," Patrick explained. "We slip that over the snout and that rubber seal collapses gently over their snout forming a relatively air-tight seal." He said the neighbour had put a sweater on Tiny and was petting him but the animal was unresponsive when Patrick turned his attention to it. "Within a very short period of time, I'm saying a minute, a minute-and-a-half of the chest massage, his pulse started to improve a little bit, there was some more regularity to it," he said. With the oxygen, Tiny improved within minutes. "He was opening his eyes, his tongue was licking out," Patrick said. "It's instinctive for me, because I own four, all small little dogs like the Shih Tzu," he said. "I got to tell you, what made the difference was that canine mask. I really don't think that dog would have lasted very long without the highest concentration of oxygen delivered in a short period of time, "That dog was in bad, bad shape," Patrick said. At the vet clinic later, he said the dog was sitting up, receiving fluids intravenously while in a make-shift oxygen tent. "When I walked around in front of the cage, I just looked at him with a smile, and it could have been just me seeing things that really weren't there, but I swear his eyes opened another centimetre, just a 'Oh, it's you,'" Patrick said. "It was wonderful feeling. He was all cleaned up," he said.
*The Toronto Sun