Bucks County pre-teen helping firefighters save pets with special project

Unlike many kids, Emily Rilling didn't want presents for her 12th birthday this past May.

"I wanted to do something charitable for my birthday for animals," said Emily.

The Bucks County pre-teen hosted a dog obstacle course party to raise money to start a pet oxygen recovery mask program called Resus-A-Pet.

"She used her birthday money to purchase these recovery mask kits for our local fire department," said Emily's mom, Colleen Rilling.

"To date, I've donated 150 masks to almost 80 fire stations," Emily said.

The masks come in three different sizes to fit a variety of animals.

"This could be for bunnies and ferrets and birds, and cats, anything at all," said Colleen.

And the way it works is simple.

"Most of the fire companies have oxygen tanks on their trucks. And then they have to connect the mask to the tank," Colleen said.

The Eddington Volunteer Fire Company in Bensalem was one of the first recipients of the masks.

"I thought it was a great project and a great idea," said Joseph Malmrose, Chief of the Eddington Fire Company. "Over the years, we've had numerous calls that we've been involved in pets that have perished in fires. It's an added piece of equipment that we can use on a call."

To show their appreciation, the Eddington Fire Company gifted Emily with a plaque and donated $700 to her program.

"In recognition for all she's done for the animals and the project she's doing, because it's a positive thing to keep her going on this," said Malmrose.

The program has since expanded to other fire stations across Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

"It feels pretty great, you know, knowing that I'm able to help all these animals," Emily says.

"I could not be more proud of Emily. Emily's an amazing girl, she really is. For a 12-year-old she's got a heart of gold," Colleen adds.

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