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Volunteers in Winston-Salem raising money for pet oxygen masks

Piedmont Triad News

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (WGHP) — A local animal welfare group is holding a fundraiser that will help firemen save our fur-ever friends.

A number of fire trucks with the Winston-Salem Fire Department carry pet oxygen masks. When Theresa Knops, Fire Department Community Educator, was a firefighter, she used a pet oxygen mask to resuscitate a pet.

“It’s our job, our mission to save lives,” said Knops. “So saving the life of a pet or an animal is just as important as saving a life of a human.”

Knops will never forget the moment when she was able to bring joy to a family during one of their darkest days.

“It’s a very heartwarming feeling to deliver oxygen to someone’s pet and to see them react, especially knowing that lost their home, however, we were able to save their pet for them,” said Knops.

Winston-Salem firefighters carry small, medium, and large pet masks that cover the face and snouts of cats and dogs. Knops explained how she is able to help a pet that might be confused, scared, or unresponsive. “I actually talk to them, tell them just as I would a human,” said Knops.

Over time, the pet masks wear out, and replacing the masks is not cheap. That’s why the Winston-Salem Fire Department partners with Fur-Ever Friends of North Carolina.

“For people that own pets, pets are family members,” said Jennifer Tierney, a volunteer.  “It’s very warming to see that our local fire department appreciates that fact.”

On Saturday, October 23, Fur-Ever Friends of North Carolina will hold a fundraiser at Smokin’ Harley Davidson in Winston-Salem. A day of fun will raise money for a number of programs, including money for new pet oxygen masks.

“The fire department deserves our support on this, those firemen have hearts too, some of them love animals like we do,” added Knops. “It’s nice that they have this item we can provide to them.”

Fur-Ever Friends raised $8,000 the last time they held a fundraiser. The goal this Saturday is to bring in more money to ensure that every Winston-Salem fire truck has two sets of pet face masks.

The fundraiser will take place on Saturday, October 23 at Smokin’ Harley Davidson, 3441 Myer Lee Drive, Winston-Salem, NC. There will be vendors, music, and raffles. Pet adoptions will also be available. The event will be from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Donations can also be made at  or

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