ETX organization provides pet oxygen masks to local fire departm - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

ETX organization provides pet oxygen masks to local fire department

Sarge Harley (Source: The Sarge Harley Memorial Fund) Sarge Harley (Source: The Sarge Harley Memorial Fund)

Many of us think of our pets as our family - and one new East Texas organization is raising money to take care of older, rescue dogs.

They started Tuesday by helping one local fire department take care of more of our pets.

Tuesday afternoon, members of the Sarge Harley Memorial Fund - including Candy and Chesty, Sarge Harley's brother and sister - presented the Red Springs Fire Department with three O2 for Life pet oxygen masks.

"We want to be able to save any animal we can in any manner we can," said Cindy Furrino, the president of the Sarge Harley Memorial Fund.

"They're different sized masks," said Red Springs Fire Chief Tim Thompson. "They're similar to an oxygen mask that goes around the mouth and nose of a human, except they're cone shaped and designed to fit on the long nose of an animal."

These are the first animal masks the department has owned. Before, they've had to use human masks on animals.

"They don't fit around the nose as tight and get a good seal around them, and they don't get the full amount of oxygen that they need," Chief Thompson said.

The Sarge Harley Memorial Fund is a new non-profit designed to help families of rescue and older animals with medical bills.

Sarge Harley was himself a rescue dog. His first owner, Steven Gill, was a Marine who died in Iraq.

"His mother ended up taking Harley in as her own, and she spoiled him because that was her son," said Furrino. "She was in a fatal accident on May the 5th of 2011. And Harley was taken to the Williamson County Animal Control."

A Marine sergeant saw Sarge Harley's photo online and took him in.

"The Marines have a real strong belief in doing for one another. So he brought Harley home. Harley took over his life," said Furrino.

Sarge Harley died in February and the memorial fund has recently been set up in his honor. Ruffino wants the fund to serve as a reminder to adopt older rescues.

"We want to help other dogs that are in the rescues to find homes, in the animal control, to find a home," she said. "This is adopt a rescue month, adopt a shelter pet, and I think it is very important."

If you would like to learn more about or donate to the Sarge Harley Memorial Fund, you can visit their website.

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