DES MOINES, Iowa — Carley Deery is a senior at Carlisle High School with a passion for animals. It was her father who helped her launch a campaign to purchase much-needed pet oxygen masks for area ambulances.
"He told me about a puppy he was able to rescue using these mask that one of the ambulances had," Carley said.
David Deery, a senior fire medic at Des Moines Fire Station No. 3, told his daughter the story of resuscitating a dog from a house fire using a pet oxygen mask.
"I was amazed at how they worked," Deery said.
"You got to just figure there are pets involved with every time we hear about a fire or a situation where family had to be evacuated," Animal Rescue League of Iowa CEO Tom Colvin said.
Carley also quickly learned the lack of resources in having these specialized masks available to first responders in Polk County. So she immediately went to work with her family: baking and selling dog treats, creating an online fundraiser and ultimately teaming up with the ARL to meet her goal of every ambulance in the metro area having a pet oxygen mask.
Recently, she was able to present a check for more than $2,000 to help make the goal a reality.
"We are going to be able to do what Carley set out to do through partnering with her," Colvin said. "We're going to be able to accomplish the 47 masks that we hoped to obtain."
"Carley has done to enable that to happen across the metro is nothing short of amazing," ARL Animal Services Director Joe Stafford said. "When you save a life and you have lost all of your material possessions potentially to include your home, you figure out pretty quick all that really matters is your family."
"And that pet is every bit as much part of that family for the majority of us as any of our two-legged family members."
But the work doesn't stop here. This is a continued effort of not only masks, but assisting the ARL in providing housing, food and medical care to animals who need assistance after a disaster.
And Carley is inspired to keep that effort going and to help paw it forward
"Hopefully that these masks get put to good use and we don't need them," Carley said. "But they're definitely there if needed."
"Carley and her father are my heroes," Colvin said. "Those are my heroes."
The 47 masks will benefit nine different agencies with 22 of them staying right here in Des Moines. If you would like to donate go the fund, click here.