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www.wvno.com - A former firefighter in southeastern Pennsylvania has started a non-profit to help pets and their owners when disaster strikes, so meet this week's CNN Hero, Jen Leary.

CNN Heroes 2014: Firefighter Starts Animal Red Cross

Story By: Larry Stine



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A former firefighter in southeastern Pennsylvania has started a non-profit to help pets and their owners when disaster strikes. Meet this week's CNN Hero, Jen Leary. "I was a firefighter in Philly for seven years. "You get to a fire scene and the firefighters are there to put out the fire, the Salvation Army and the Red Cross assist the people, once the fire is out," Leary says." But there just wasn't anyone there to help the other part of the family. "I would see how upset the people were about their animals. "Where is my pet?" And then, "Where is it gonna go?"

These are people's children. "They've just lost everything. They shouldn't then be forced to lose their pets as well. "We have a dog displaced by a fire, a chihuahua. I'm headed to the scene now. "We respond 24/7, 365 days a year. We do for pets what the Red Cross does for people."

"We went down to the basement, found the dog hiding behind something. "Once the fire is under control, we're able to look for the animals and bring them out. "Huh? Hi baby! Come here. "Red Paw headquarters is my house. We've helped close to 1,000 animals. "She's been at my house and the owner said that she was pregnant. "Everything that their animal needs.. "Hi buddy, you hungry? "We'll handle for free for them. "Good girl, Bella. "When we reunite the families, it's a good thing. "Bella! Hi! "It's like this void has now been filled. "Chocolat! Welcome home! "My hope is that it's a fresh start. That they can move forward together. "Nina and Nenna are home! "After going through such a sad thing, it's so good to have a happy ending," Leary says. And Leary believes it's the only partnership of its kind in the United States, one she hopes to replicate in other cities.

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