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Wed, Apr 16, 2014

Retired officer donates pet rescue kits to firefighters

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Retired officer donates pet rescue kits to firefighters | Joanna Medlen, Fire Department, MFRD, Pets, Public Safety, Murfreesboro, MPD, Charity, Rutherford County

Joanna Medlen, a retired police officer, and Murfreesboro Fire and Rescue Department employee Adam Petrig shake hands in December 2013 after presenting firefighters in Murfreesboro, Tenn., with four pet rescue kits. (Photo courtesy of L. Flowers/MFRD)

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. -- The Murfreesboro Fire and Rescue Department has received a donation from a retired police officer to assist crews with the rescue of pets at a house fire or during other emergency incidents. 

Joanna Medlen, who used to work for the Murfreesboro Police Department, recently donated a total of four Wag’n O2 Fur Life pet mask oxygen kits that will be placed on each rescue truck owned by the fire department, officials announced last week.

“We are very appreciate of Ms. Medlen’s donation to the department,” Deputy Chief Roger Toombs said in a press release. “It’s nice to know that there are people out there willing to provide local fire departments with life-saving equipment for pets, as many people view them as members of the family.”

Medlen, a self-proclaimed pet lover, said that she got the idea when her dog Sophie died after a battle with cancer.

The loss of her beloved Sophie was so devastating that Medlen said she began wondering what she could do to keep others from knowing what it felt like to lose a pet.

“I thought of people that lose their homes to fires and just could not imagine losing a pet in a house fire,” Medlen said. “This got me thinking about the rescue kits. You can replace a home but not a pet.”

The pet rescue kits each contain three oxygen masks in various sizes, three oxygen air tubes, a carry bag, instruction sheet, kennel lead and an instructional video.

“The various sizes will allow firefighters to assist a wide range of animals from a very small animal to a very large one,” said Ashley McDonald, public information officer for the Fire and Rescue Department

The Wag’n O2 Fur Life Program is a nationwide campaign to help first responders acquire the necessary equipment to effectively mitigate emergencies and save pet lives.

Since its inception in 2008, the program has provided pet oxygen masks kits to more than 1,730 fire and emergency medical services departments in the United States.

With the help of generous individuals and corporate partners, it is estimated that up to 3,400 fire departments and 600 emergency medical services departments have now obtained at least one kit.

To learn more about the kits, visit

As for Medlen, she is not stopping with the pet rescue kits.

“I’m currently researching other ways to help our local first responders,” she said. “They do a lot for this community. I want to give back to them.”

-- Marie Kemph,

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Charity, Fire Department, Joanna Medlen, MFRD, MPD, Murfreesboro, Pets, Public Safety, Rutherford County
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