A dedicated fireman and two quick-thinking paramedics were all that stood between Smoky the kitten and an early demise after the six-week-old became trapped in a burning house in New South Wales, Australia, last Friday. The tiny, grey fur-ball, was discovered under a bed by a fireman and carried unconscious from the burning Nowra home at around 11.10pm.
Sooty and suffering from smoke inhalation, the kitten, nicknamed Smoky by his rescuers, needed urgent help.
"The fire officer gave the kitten some rescue breaths before signalling to us and placing the kitten on the ground. He then ran back into the building," paramedic with NSW Ambulance, Kim Saunders, said.
"At first, we didn't know what to do. I thought, 'I'll give it some oxygen and see what happens'.
"So we put on a paediatric mask with some oxygen, dried the kitten off and wrapped him up. After about 15 minutes he came to and actually started purring. At one stage his head popped off the mask but he put it back in, so he must have been enjoying it."
The occupants of the house, who had been visiting people down the street, came home to discover the kitten had been saved.
"We took the kitten over to her. You could still feel it purring through the towel. She gave it a little kiss," Ms Saunders said.
It was the third time Ms Saunders, a paramedic of 15 years, has played hero to one of our four-legged friends this year.
She saved a puppy from running onto the highway at South Nowra on New Year's Eve and rescued a labrador puppy from foxes only two weeks ago.
"My sister is a former veterinary nurse - she says I missed my calling," she said.
Paramedic Nick Gibson, also at the scene, is a fellow animal lover and volunteer with Wildlife Rescue South Coast.
There's an audio interview with Ms Saunders here.