Emergency responders were called to 717 Forest Park Road at about 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 29 after a neighbor heard smoke alarms and called 911. The owners were not in the burning home, but firefighters found two dogs — one of which was an 8-month-old Labrador-Great Dane mix named Cola.
Fire and Rescue workers used an oxygen mask specifically designed for dogs and cats to revive Cola at the scene. Both animals seem to be doing fine since, according to a news release.
"The brave members of the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department are truly heroes because they don't consider their job done until all residents — both human and nonhuman — have made it to safety," PETA Senior Vice President Daphna Nachminovitch said in a statement. "PETA hopes the compassion and know-how shown by these first responders will inspire others always to come to the aid of animals in need."
For the firefighters' efforts, PETA is awarding the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department its Compassionate Fire Department Award. The department will receive a framed certificate, a letter of appreciation and a box of vegan chocolates.
PETA spokesman David Perle said the national organization presents the award about twice a week, often in cases where an animal is saved from a burning building or, this time of the year, if one is saved after falling through ice.
Perle said he believed this was the first time Fairfax emergency responders had received it.
"We always keep our eye out for fire departments and other rescue personnel looking out for animals," he told Patch. "We like to reward those who look after animals like that."
PETA encourages the use of a sign on a door or window to alert firefighters and other rescue personnel to the presence of dogs, cats or any other pets in a home.
Signs can be ordered online or homemade.