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Saving Lyla: SAVES, SFD come together to aid pet at house fire

On March 24, firefighters and members of the Skaneateles Ambulance Volunteer Emergency Service arrived at 64 Onondaga St. to find the two-story residence with smoke coming from the back of the home and from under the eaves.

Without any reports of people or pets being in the home, firefighters went about putting out a kitchen fire, caused by a stove that was left on, said Skaneateles firefighter Mark Stebbins, who also works for SAVES.

But, the first crew to enter the house and do a primary sweep of the interior found Lyla, a 14-year-old yellow lab suffering from smoke inhalation.

Lyla, owned by the Battisto family, was pulled from the home and laid on the porch where emergency personnel began treating her.

SAVES Operations Director Jeff VanBeveren said the lab had just about succumbed and was taking just a couple breaths or so per minute. Her yellow coat was heavy with black smoke and soot.

It wasn't until someone started yelling to get a mask from the truck that is specially made for canine resuscitation that paramedics realized they would be able to help Lyla.

"A SAVES paramedic, Jeff VanBeveren, and firefighter Tammy Dudden started to treat the dog," he said. "I was confident we could help the dog."

Stebbins said he went to the fire apparatus to get the equipment, which works just like a resuscitation mask for humans only has a longer mask.

VanBeveren said the mask is designed to fit right over the animal's muzzle and when they used it on Lyla, he and Dudden spent about five minutes trying to get the animal breathing properly before she really responded to the treatment.

"She started sticking her tongue out and licking the mask," VanBeveren said smiling.

Lyla was transported by pickup truck to Clear Lakes Animal Wellness in Skaneateles where she was treated and released.

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