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A Matter of Life and Breath

Maine ACO leads the charge for pet oxygen masks

Pets in Maine can breathe a little easier—literally—knowing that Bobby Silcott is on the case.

  • Bobby Silcott and his dog Elvis, a basset hound with a little beagle in him, demonstrate one of the pet oxygen masks that Silcott is supplying to fire and rescue departments throughout Maine. Looking on is Silcott’s lemon-drop beagle, Priscilla. Wendy Silcott

Silcott, 50, works as an animal control officer for six towns in southwestern Maine, and also serves as a volunteer firefighter/emergency medical technician in Naples, his hometown. Two and a half years ago he combined those interests by founding the Maine POM Project, which aims to equip fire departments and rescue organizations throughout the state with oxygen masks for pets. They come in three sizes and fit “anything from a gerbil up to a Great Dane,” he says. Silcott teaches first aid classes to raise money to help pay for the masks; he also takes donations at themainepomproject.org, and promotes the program through a Facebook page.

A former truck driver, Silcott became an ACO about six years ago, after his bad back made driving difficult. His work with animals includes serving on the boards of the Harvest Hills Animal Shelter and the Maine Federation of Humane Societies, and developing a dog park on 10 acres donated by the town of Naples. His own menagerie of adopted animals includes Angela the cat and two dogs, Elvis and Priscilla.

In this edited interview, Silcott discusses his work with Animal Sheltering associate editor James Hettinger.

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