”Tuffy” is doing fine thanks to a B.A.R.K

Tri-Lakes/Monument firemen helped save dog's life

Courtesy photo
Tri-Lakes/Monument Fire battalion chief Dan Davis cradles “Tuffy” as he administers oxygen to the dog. Davis is using the Breath of Fresh Air Recovery Kit (B.A.R.K.). Davis and his crew transported Tuffy to a local animal clinic for further treatment.
Danny Summers

It didn't take the Tri-Lakes/Monument Fire Department long to use its Breath of Air Recovery Kit (B.A.R.K.) on a victim.

On March 29, Robbin Williams, wet from head to toe, knocked on the door of Fire Station 1 along Highway 105. She was holding “Tuffy,” a 4-year-old Pomeranian who had fallen into a pond on her property. Tuffy was shivering and having difficult time breathing.

That was when battalion chiefs Craig LaSasso and Dan Davis grabbed the B.A.R.K from their truck and provided Tuffy with oxygen therapy.

“It happened right after a shift change about 8 in the morning,” Davis said. “We figured the dog probably needed more care so we drove to an animal hospital. Everything turned out to be okay.

“But the real feel-good part of the story is how important this dog is to the family.”

Davis and the other fireman on duty eventually learned that Williams was dog-sitting for her elderly mother, who was out of state.

“My brother got my mother Tuffy when he was just a puppy,” Williams said. “This little guy is like her life line.

“The main thing going through my head during the whole episode was that by losing him, I'd lose her. I wasn't even thinking about myself being cold.”

The events leading up to Tuffy falling into the pond were as normal as any other day in the Williams household. Williams was walking in her yard with Tuffy. But after she didn't see him for a minute or so she called his name. But Tuffy didn't come running.

Sensing danger, Williams headed for the pond, which was surrounded by cat tails.

“I couldn't find him,” Williams said. “The pond was frozen over, but I figured he must have fallen through. I saw him and he was stuck and crying for help. He kept going under so threw my cell phone on the embankment and jumped in.”

The first thing Williams thought to do was head to the fire house with Tuffy wrapped in a towel.

“I had to blow in his mouth when he got out of the pond,” Williams said.”He had hypothermia and a little bit of pneumonia set in.

“That (B.A.R.K) machine got him going. Thank God for the firemen and veterinary clinic that helped him.”

The firemen also performed emergency treatment on Williams to make sure she was healthy and safe.

Davis was thrilled that the B.A.R.K was on hand to help save Tuffy's life.

“The dog had real poor breathing when she brought him in,” Davis said. “We used the B.A.R.K. on him for 15 to 20 minutes. It helped relieve some of that stress.”

Had Tuffy fallen into the pond a week earlier, the B.A.R.K. would not have been available. Thanks to local resident Mary Lou Figley, three B.A.R.K's were purchased for the three fire trucks in the District. She donated the kits in loving memory of her pets, which she said had been loyal to her.

“The B.A.R.K. certainly provides us a more specifically designed piece of equipment to aid pets in distress,” Davis said. “It helps the pets from the standpoint that someone is trying to provide assistance to them.

“I am just pleased that Tuffy is doing well.”