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'Precious Cargo' Derby Was Saved From Falconbridge Fire

Updated: Jul 20


Derby was treated at Veterinary Specialty Hospital for smoke inhalation.

On the night of Aug. 6, 2019, Derby was rescued from a fire at Falconbridge Animal Hospital.


His mom called us 10 days after his ordeal to say “thank you, thank you, thank you” for donating pet oxygen kits to the Durham Fire Department.


The kit helped save her fur baby's life.


'A Huge Difference'


“I feel very grateful and blessed," said Derby's mom, Tracy. "That they had these masks: Immediate oxygen made a huge difference.”


Because firefighters had pet oxygen kits on the truck, Tracy's 4-year-old Greyhound was able to receive oxygen right away at the scene. He was then transferred by ambulance to Veterinary Specialty Hospital, where he spent several days receiving medical care and recovering before going home.


Tracy told us the first responders and the VSH emergency team were "phenomenal." Her regular vet clinic, Southpoint Animal Hospital, also provided amazing support. A Southpoint team member even accompanied her to visit Derby in recovery at VSH.


A Nightmare, Turned Into a Tale of Survival


Around midnight on that August night, Tracy got a phone call about the fire—her "worst nightmare coming true." Her fur baby, who was boarding, had been pulled from the burning building and was being rushed to emergency treatment.


Derby had smoke inhalation and an eye injury. He wasn’t coughing, but his oxygen level was quite low.


Tracy rushed to see Derby at VSH. He had had several baths, but he still smelled like smoke. It took several days of treatment for his oxygen level to stabilize. Tracy, who trained as a paramedic, is sure the pet oxygen kit helped "tremendously" to keep Derby alive.


This was actually Derby’s second amazing rescue. The Greyhound was also saved from an underground dog racing ring in the Midwest.


Of donating pet oxygen kits, Tracy said, "What you guys did...I’m just so grateful y’all stepped up."


Our Cause: Pet Oxygen Kits

Derby made it home to his dog bed and his dog mama.

When we started raising funds for pet oxygen kits in 2018, our mission was simple: help first responders help animals.


We never want anyone to have to use pet oxygen kits—but when tragedy strikes, we want them to be at the ready.


Firefighter Emily Hannigan detailed to WRAL news how critical the kits were to saving dogs at the scene of the Falconbridge Animal Hospital fire.


Let's Help More Pets Like Derby


Thanks to the generosity of the Eno family and our matching funds, to date we have donated 22 pet oxygen kits to local fire departments

  • Durham = 14

  • Bahama = three

  • Creedmoor = two

  • Lebanon = two

  • Redwood = one


Now every fire truck in every one these communities is outfitted with these life-saving devices. Learn more about pet oxygen kits and see local news coverage of our pet oxygen kit donations.


The Honor Is Ours

Precious cargo indeed! Derby meets our team at Eno Animal Hospital.

We thank Derby's incredible mom for sharing his story and these incredible photos of him. Our team was thrilled when Derby came by after his recovery to meet our team! It was so moving and beautiful to see him getting back to rights.


Tracy reported that Derby was tired from his ordeal—yet his survival at all is a blessing, and now he’s back to his best self.


We’re honored to have played a small part in the life of this special pup. Tracy said he’s “the sweetest, most loving boy”...and again “as soft as a bunny rabbit.”


Thanks to the heroic first responders and a pet oxygen kit, Tracy said, “My precious cargo is home with me.”

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