PAWLEYS ISLAND, SC (WBTW) – Four days after receiving a generous donation, Midway Fire Department and Pawleys Island Fire Rescue put the new oxygen pet masks to good use.
The afternoon call on Monday was initially for a distressed person in the ocean but further information as the department was on their way to rescue indicated the chance of an animal.
Lucy the dog broke through her shock collar on the beach and swam nearly 150 yards to the middle of the ocean before she was rescued.
Both departments said it was a combination of working collectively as a team and the additional help of the new pet oxygen masks that led the situation to a happy ending.
“Ironically the new pet oxygen masks came in on Friday and we used them on a Monday. We were able to use that equipment and we had it on the beach ready to go and it was a successful outcome,” Midway Fire Rescue Division Chief Mark Nugent said.
The team was able to spot Lucy with binoculars over the waves on an elevated pier then communicate with the police investigator driving the jet ski, Jono Fairfield.
“So I hurried up and got on the jet ski and when I got to about 400 myrtle avenue in the ocean, Midway Fire Rescue had already had a rescue swimmer on a surfboard looking for the dog,” Police Investigator Jono Fairfield said.
Within half an hour of the call, the departments rescued Lucy and to their surprise found her swimming, floating, and out of breath. They made it just in time.
“Most of these firefighters are paramedics so it was just adapting what we would do to a human and applying those skills to an animal.” Nugent said.
Midway Fire Rescue advises pet owners who bring their pets near the ocean to familiarize where you can and can not take your dog, keep them on a leash at all times, and consider pet floatation devices.