Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Heart of Texas Lab Rescue Gives Back

Many of you are used to seeing Heart of Texas Lab Rescue in the community and are familiar with our mission. So you know that HOTLR is dedicated to saving, rehabilitating and rehoming Labradors left behind at kill shelters and other abandonment situations. HOTLR is also dedicated to educating the public about the plight of abandoned animals and the advantages of spaying and neutering your pet as well as providing early training and socialization to ensure that your pup becomes a welcome forever member of your home. Recently, however HOTLR gave back to the community in a different way.

Enter Ray Hebert. Long time supporter, foster and volunteer at HOTLR, there is no one who loves the Labrador breed more. A few seconds after meeting Ray you instantly understand how dedicated to the breed he is. Ray who is an amazing resource for all things Lab came upon a special Lab mix named Emma Zen. Emma Zen and her human Debra Jo Chiapuzio run a 501(c)3 non-profit called Team O2 Pet Oxygen Masks whose goal is to place pet oxygen masks and related equipment with fire departments, EMS teams, search and rescue and all first responders to aid in pet rescue situations. While these organizations are prepared to help humans suffering from breathing complications due to fire or other catastrophes, little can be done for our pet friends whose noses and heads are not shaped properly for human equipment. But thanks to Team O2, many rescue organizations are receiving donated equipment specifically designed for pets.

When Ray discovered that the community of Buda was not already equipped with this pet life-saving equipment (Round Rock and Austin already have the equipment), he decided to donate two sets of the equipment to the Buda Fire Department on behalf of Heart of Texas Lab Rescue. In total the Buda Fire Department received three sets of equipment with the help of Caju the Warrior Dog, Buddy's "Be the Dog" Life, HOTLR and the Emma Zen Foundation.

Ray was on hand for the presentation of the oxygen masks and brought along HOTLR's very own Cher as a demonstration dog to the event. Accompanying Ray was Snoco, a sweet little pup currently fostered by Guardian Angels for Soldiers Pets (a foster organization that fosters pets for those who are currently deployed). Ray and Cher trained the fire fighters on how to properly use the equipment on pets. Check out all the great pics taken at the event on Facebook. Talk about a win-win situation. HOTLR Cher is introduced to another part of our community, and pet safety awareness benefits to boot!! Research continues to show that people are spending more and more money on their pets, proving that now more than ever pets are considered priceless family members in many homes. The more resources we can provide the community on preparation and ways to save pets in the face of disaster, the more likely each family members chances for survival when disaster strikes.

Remember that you too can help first responders be aware of your pet. Get a safety sticker for your home that alerts emergency personnel to the number and type of pets you have. Check out the following link from the ASPCA on disaster preparedness for your pet to prepare your own emergency kit. Be sure to microchip your pets as well in case you are separated during an emergency.

HOTLR would like to thank Ray Hebert for his generous donation and his time to provide this important opportunity for awareness to the community all in the name of HOTLR. To learn more about Emma Zen, click here.