Pitt | Swanson Engineering
Making a PAWS-itive Impact
Swanson School alum Blake Dubé (ChemE '17) donates pet oxygen masks to a high schooler's fundraising effort
Pawprint Oxygen donates $10,000 worth of pet oxygen masks to Carley Deery's cause. Photo courtesy of Pawprint Oxygen.

When CEO and founder of Pawprint Oxygen Blake Dubé (ChemE ’17) scrolled past a news story about pet oxygen masks from high schooler Carley Deery, he had to do a double take. A 17-year-old from Des Moines had raised more than $2,000 to provide pet oxygen masks in her local community.

This emergency treatment is all too familiar to Dubé, who co-founded Aeronics -- a company that provides portable oxygen technology for consumer, veterinary, and medical applications. The group later created the brand Pawprint Oxygen after an acquaintance lost a pet to respiratory complications, en route to a veterinary hospital.

Impressed with Deery’s entrepreneurial spirit and passion for animal rescue, Dubé decided to reach out.

“We saw an opportunity to amplify her work and reach even more pets by donating $10,000 worth of pet oxygen masks to her cause,” he said. “We're a small company, and our team's average age is only a few years older than Carley. That's why this opportunity was so special -- to be able to join a cause that matches our own mission while supporting another young change-maker means a lot to us.”

Deery was originally inspired by a story from her father, a Des Moines firefighter who rescued and resuscitated a puppy from a house fire. When she saw the impact animal oxygen masks can make in emergency situations, she raised both money and awareness for this treatment. 

Her GoFundMe campaign resulted in raising enough for nearly half of the 50 masks that were distributed, in collaboration with the Animal Rescue League (ARL) of Iowa, among ten fire departments in the Des Moines area. They will expand this effort with the donation from Pawprint Oxygen.

“The plan for the additional masks currently is to reach out across Iowa with an emphasis on rural or small town volunteer fire departments who struggle for equipment,” said Tom Colvin, CEO of the Animal Rescue League of Iowa. “The ARL is occasionally on the receiving end of pets from fires so our veterinary staff will want to keep a few on hand as well.”

Deery’s effort also caught the eye of Drew Barrymore, who hosts a popular daytime talk show.

“Carley's work with the Animal Rescue League of Iowa shows what an impact young people can make,” Dubé added. “When she saw the difference that these masks can make for pets involved in house fires, she took action.”

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Leah Russell and Maggie Pavlick, 4/14/2021

Contact: Leah Russell