Staff Report

A series of workshops that began in October is providing training from veterinary professionals to teach first responders how best to care for pets in emergency situations.

The Pet Emergency Training (P.E.T.) for First Responders sessions are organized by the organization C.A.R.E.4Paws and the pet emergency and specialty hospital Advanced Veterinary Specialists (AVS).

P.E.T. for First Responders began with two three-hour workshops on Oct. 21, 24 and 31 with firefighters from Santa Barbara City and Montecito Fire Departments. They began with two hours of instruction on pet emergency care from Dr. Andrea Wells and her medical team from AVS. This includes pet CPR, wound care, handling of broken limbs and how to deal with an overheated animal.

 “We always want to do everything possible for all pets to give them the most favorable outcome,” Wells said. “Immediate care and stabilization can be key to a successful recovery from injury. We are honored to work with our first responders to provide care for pets in need of urgent attention.”

“While firefighters’ primary concern is always human-life safety, we place a very high priority on the lives of animals, too,” said Santa Barbara City Fire Department’s Battalion Chief Chris Mailes. “From horses in the path of wildland fires to animals in house fires, we strive to assist and render care whenever we’re able. Animals are a big part of all of our lives, and it’s very gratifying to help those that often can’t help themselves.”

P.E.T. workshops also include a one-hour session with dog trainer Brian Glen on how to safely handle dogs that act aggressively or are protective of their owners, to ensure that these dogs don’t prevent their owners from receiving critical care.

Additionally, first responders will learn about the services C.A.R.E.4Paws offers for low-income, senior, disabled and homeless pet owners in Santa Barbara County, including assistance with veterinary care, free spays/neuters, low-cost vaccine clinics, delivery of pet food and animal behavior training. First responders can share these resources with pet owners in the field.

C.A.R.E.4Paws will also provide information about how to recognize signs of animal abuse in a home, steps to take to report an abusive situation, and a new program by C.A.R.E.4Paws that helps victims of domestic violence.

Launching in January 2020 in collaboration with Domestic Violence Solutions and local pet services providers, pet rescue groups and animal shelters, the program will provide temporary refuge for pets so that their owners can leave abusive partners without fearing for the safety and well-being of their animals.

For more information about P.E.T. for First Responders, visit or contact C.A.R.E.4Paws at or (805) 968-2273