When it came time to select a service and applied learning project for Global Citizenship class, Abby Yocius, veterinary technology student from Mankato, remembered experiencing a house fire when she was 11. It was natural for her to research an organization that serves her passion, animals, and uses fire rescue skills.
Abby discovered BART, Basic Animal Rescue Training. This non-profit “empowers fire, police, paramedics, and emergency technicians with the training knowledge and equipment necessary to safely and effectively handle domestic animals encountered during emergency situations.” (BART, 2004)
Sadly, in 2004, a New Brighton, MN, firefighter lost his home and his German Short Haired Pointer dog, Bart, in a fire. His colleagues were devastated that they didn’t have the knowledge base or equipment to help Bart overcome smoke inhalation.
Dr. Janet Olson, veterinarian and wife of a fellow fire fighter decided to start Basic Animal Rescue Training (BART) in honor of Bart, and to ensure that fewer families would ever suffer a similar loss. Since 2004, Dr. Olson and BART volunteers have dedicated time and equipment to train emergency responders.
Abby found that the Mankato community had no awareness of BART, no awareness of how to save a pet in an emergency situation, and didn’t know the importance of animal rescue training. Abby created awareness by distributing 300 BART informational fliers all over the Mankato and North Mankato area. She enlisted KEYC, Mankato’s local news channel, to do a segment about an upcoming BART fundraiser. She hopes the Mankato area fire departments will raise enough money to become BART trained and certified.
Abby learned a number of skills through this project. She learned and practiced goal setting, persistence, time management, and creative thinking which will help solve a problem and a need (lack of equipment and training) in her community.
“I learned about the importance of animal rescue and the effects fire has on people’s homes,” said Abby. She also feels better about the safety of her own dog, Simon.