Firefighters save bird's life with baby oxygen mask

Firefighters save bird's life with baby oxygen mask

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SURPRISE, Ariz. -

A Surprise woman accidentally locked her pet inside her sweltering car. The animal was near death when firefighters arrived.

But this wasn't a rescue those firefighters ever prepared for. The woman's pet was a cockatoo bird. Those firefighters improvised to save the bird's life.

The Surprise Fire department says they've never treated a bird before, so they used a child's oxygen mask put over the bird's beak to give him oxygen and help revive him.

Joanne Doyle and her bird Rusty are inseparable.

"I've had him for at least 10 years. He's mommy's pretty boy. Aren't you?"

Last week, Doyle accidentally locked Rusty in her hot car along with her keys. You can imagine her panic. She tried everything to get into the car.

"I was scared to death I couldn't even think anymore. I tried to knock the back window out with a sledgehammer. Probably at least 40 minutes. It's a wonder he didn't die."

That's when she called 911. Firefighters responded right away.

"They saved his life because he was spread out -- his wings were spread out and he was lying flat against his little carrying cage."

When firefighters arrived on scene they had to improvise. They gave Rusty oxygen by using a mask usually designed for babies over his beak. A firefighter captured the whole thing on his cell phone.

"It seems like he's liking that oxygen and stuff!" says Doyle. "They put a little oxygen mask on him and they squirted him with water and put the fan on him."

A short time later Rusty began regaining strength. After a trip to the vet, he was given a clean bill of health.

Doyle is crediting the firefighters for saving Rusty's life.

Many fire departments across the country have special oxygen masks for animals like dogs and cats, but this was a first for the Surprise Fire Department.

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