By Christine Galeone, Contributing Writer
Grafton – When someone performs a job well, it’s impressive. When a person goes above and beyond the call of duty, it’s admirable. But when that call of duty that’s surpassed involves courage, selflessness and determination, it’s something to be treasured. In the case of the Grafton Fire Department, an organization of men and women who must routinely face danger while protecting the community, treasuring its noble desire to go above and beyond is just the beginning. It needs the support of the community as well.
On Saturday, Aug. 20, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., the Grafton Fire Department (GFD) will host the Pet Rescue Equipment Fundraiser at its 26 Upton St. headquarters. With nail trimming provided by Ana’s Pets Mobile Salon for a donation and therapeutic pet advice given by a massage therapist, the GFD hopes to raise enough money to buy equipment for three kits that will help the firefighters go beyond saving the human lives they strive to save. It will help them to save more animal companions as well.
The GFD’s quest to save more pets began around the beginning of this year. After receiving Basic Animal Rescue Training along with other area firefighters at the Millbury Fire Department, Dave Runyan – a GFD firefighter who serves as the department’s medical coordinator – was inspired to do more.
“After that training, it was always my intention to get some equipment on our trucks,” recalled Runyan. “It was important to me, because for many people, pets are just as important to them as their family members.”
Shortly after the training, those animal rescue techniques were utilized by another GFD firefighter, who had also attended the seminar, when she responded to a house fire. Although the pets were resuscitated, they didn’t survive. Knowing how devastating the loss was for the home owners and how upsetting it was for the firefighter who tried to save the pets, Runyan realized how much the specialized equipment was needed. The department decided to raise $2,000 to supply one pet rescue equipment kit for each of its three stations.
In addition to a $500 Service Fund grant from Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts, the department has already collected $600 in donations. The kits will include items such as small animal resuscitation equipment, equipment that will allow first responders to safely handle agitated pets and animal first aid supplies. They will also contain pet food. Runyan said “Any additional money raised will be used to purchase enhanced equipment for animal rescue and replenish expendable supplies.”
Besides giving the community a chance to support its treasured public servants at the Aug. 20 fundraiser, the GFD and Ana’s Pets Mobile Salon will also be accepting donations during the Grafton Recreation Commission’s Doggie Dip Day at Silver Lake Beach from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 21. At the GRC event, held at 245 Upton St., people may also donate pet supplies, bedding and food for a local shelter.
Although Runyan doesn’t currently have a pet, he said that he and the other firefighters are “all-around animal lovers.”
“We hope that putting this equipment in service will help us be better prepared to treat and safely handle pets,” said Runyan. “Ultimately, the end goal is, hopefully, to save more animals.”
Donations may be sent to Grafton Fire Headquarters, C/O Animal Rescue Fundraiser, 26 Upton St., Grafton, MA 01519.