Sudden fires, what happens to pets? |

Sudden fires, what happens to pets?

Kathleen Williams-Miller
Dot, a beautiful 10-year-old female tuxedo, was born at CAPS. She had found a forever home until recently when her person passed away. Dot is a bit shy, but warms up quickly when given attention. She gets along with cats and dogs. If you have a spot for Dot, come and meet her, she will be thrilled!

It is a joy to see the clear sky again and to breathe clean air. All the smoke from the fires surrounding us really made me think about pets who were stuck in the middle of the infernos. What happens to them when fire strikes? In a worst-case scenario, you leave for work and a fire overruns your house while you are gone. You have left your pets and fear fills your heart.

A firefighter who checks for animals in evacuated areas confirmed there are actually people who look specifically for pets. Dogs will often run back into a smoke-filled house rather than away from it, because they want to return to their comfort zone. Rescued pets in these cases might receive oxygen before being taken to a safe place.

While watching firefighters revive pets, Debra Jo Chiapuzio realized that animals need special oxygen masks that fit their faces. After researching equipment, she decided to make it her personal mission to raise funds for pet oxygen mask kits. The cone-shaped masks cost $75 and fit tightly around dogs or cats snouts.

In 2011 she started the Emma Zen Foundation, a nonprofit named after her rescued dog to facilitate raising funds. Her first goal was to supply the firehouses in her area with the kits. After she accomplished that mission, her efforts expanded throughout the western states.

Brent Fuller, a firefighter with the Redlands Fire Department said, “I’ve personally used them on dogs and cats at least 10 times. It’s rewarding to revive an animal that has given unconditional love to a family.” We are thankful for Debra’s commitment to animal welfare.

In the past nine years, Chiapuzio estimates the foundation has donated more than 7,500 kits containing three sizes of masks to 650 fire departments. Most of the departments are in California but other states have been included.

Many fire departments in California, Arizona, Oregon, and Colorado that are currently battling wildfires had pet oxygen kits supplied by the Emma Zen Foundation. It is a dream come true, for Chiapuzio and we can all breathe easier knowing our pets can, too.


Bleach and cleaning supplies for our kennels.

Cat food for our furry guests.

Aluminum cans. If you have cans to pick up, give us a call (775-423-7500) and we will come get them. You can also drop them off at CAPS.

Everyone to sign up for the AmazonSmile program. The details are below.


All of the folks who purchased items from our garage sale. Thank you for supporting CAPS.

A big pooch smooch to you!

The volunteers who helped at the garage sale. A four-paw-salute to you!

Everyone who gave donations for our guests. Your help pup grades our facility!


CAPS is open, by appointment only, for adoptions, SNAPS, and food pantry. We cannot accept volunteers until further notice. Call 775-423-7500.


October Pet Holiday: Pet Obesity Awareness Month.

To register in the AmazonSmile program, a website operated by Amazon. Customers enjoy the same selection of products, low prices and shopping features as on The only difference is that, when you shop on AmazonSmile (, the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the price of eligible purchases to the charitable organization selected by you.

To donate directly to CAPS on Facebook by just hitting the donate button. You are our guardian angels, and we thank you for your support!


CAPS’ mailing address is P.O. Box 5128, Fallon, NV 89407. CAPS’ phone number is 775-423-7500. CAPS’ email address is Please visit the CAPS website ( and Facebook page (Churchill Animal Protection Society). Be sure to “Like” CAPS on Facebook because we are likeable.

CAPS is open to the public on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Kathleen Williams-Miller is a CAPS volunteer. Contact me at