Pets Res­cue to re­mem­ber

Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - LIFESTYLE - Maryanne Taouk

WHEN most peo­ple see huge snakes slith­er­ing to­wards them they run in the op­po­site di­rec­tion.

But a Syd­ney team of spe­cially trained fire­fight­ers sprang into ac­tion in 2013 to save more than five jun­gle pythons from a fe­ro­cious blaze de­stroy­ing their home in Lid­combe.

The Bur­wood fire station crew are trained in an­i­mal res­cue and were called to the home to find the roof and garage alight.

When they ar­rived they were met with rats stream­ing out the doors, try­ing to es­cape the smoke fol­lowed by the pythons.

“Luck­ily one of the men at­tend­ing the blaze had snakes of his own, so he wasn’t scared when this snake came out the door, but it was cer­tainly one of the stranger things I’ve seen on a job,” Bur­wood fire station com­man­der Christo­pher Sykes says.

While the house full of scared snakes is Sykes’s most mem­o­rable an­i­mal res­cue, he doesn’t mind be­ing called out to the odd “cat up a tree” mis­sion.

“We get pet res­cue jobs at least twice a month, some­times more – cats and dogs are al­ways get­ting into trou­ble,” he says.

“We treat do­mes­tic an­i­mals just like we would peo­ple, we do ev­ery­thing we can to save them, and of­ten help­ing a cat out of a sewer is great prac­tice for when there’s a child stuck.

“We’ve had to get in cherry pick­ers to help cats stuck on build­ings, break an en­tire wall be­cause a cat was stuck in a fire­place and even had a dog that tried to squeeze through a fence but its stom­ach was too fat.

“Once they know we’re there to help they’re usu­ally very calm, but some cats do scratch.”

In­quis­i­tive cats and dogs that get them­selves stuck are of­ten bored, Sykes says.

“Cats just like to roam. Dogs like to in­ves­ti­gate sounds and holes,” he says.

Sykes sug­gests get­ting down to your pet’s level and mak­ing sure there are no spa­ces that they could squeeze them­selves into.

“Dogs un­der­es­ti­mate their size,” he says.

“They’ll get into a spot and they can’t get out.”

Firefighter An­drew Nay­lor with a snake he res­cued from a house fire.

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