Behind the scenes with Red Paw, Philly's innovative animal-emergency team

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The Red Paw Emergency Relief Team works to make sure city residents displaced by fire or other emergencies are reunited with their pets when better days come. Red Paw founder Jen Leary was honored as a “CNN Hero” this month—now, in the following  pages, the group opens up its photo archive for a poignant look behind the scenes. (Photos by Kat Kendon et al.)

A Red Paw rescue dog reunites with his owner after being displaced by a fire in North Philly.

Red Cross, Red Paw and Fire Department respond together at the fire scenes where pets live. (Photo courtesy Red Cross)

Red Paw’s founder, Jen Leary, brings cats pulled from a fire scene to the vet to be checked and vaccinated.

The 2011 Wyndemere apartment fire in West Philly sparked Red Paw’s birth. At the time, no emergency plan was in place to support pets during residential disaster, leaving many pets trapped for weeks. Today, Red Paw has been added to the City of Philadelphia’s emergency response plan, supporting the efforts of the Philadelphia Fire Department and the Red Cross. (Photo by Jen Leary)

Patches was found under a pile of charred debris after a fire in her home. Red Paw was dispatched to the scene, where life-saving oxygen was administered to treat her smoke inhalation. Red Paw covered her vet care, which included ongoing treatment for severe burns and fostered her until her family could recover. She has since been reunited with her family.

Baldwin was displaced by a fire from his home in Southwest Philly in 2011. Due to medical issues, he was surrendered to Red Paw and now lives at the team’s headquarters, where he serves as Red Paw’s Ambassador Cat, visiting schools and public events to help volunteers talk about fire safety.

On April 5, 2014, Oreo and her kittens’ house caught fire. Oreo, along with her human and canine family members, were able to get out safely, but her two-week-old kittens were left inside. Luckily, firefighters were able to pull them out of the house and called Red Paw immediately. Red Paw transported the kittens to the University of Pennsylvania Veterinary Hospital, where they spent the night in an oxygen tank. The kittens were discharged the next morning and reunited with mother Oreo; they are currently in foster care while their family recovers. Oreo and her kittens can be seen on Red Paw’s live stream at

Bella and her family were displaced by a fire from their Germantown home. While in Red Paw’s care, Bella was spayed, vaccinated and vetted before reuniting with her family, including Sy’annah, seen here.

Red Paw works with a network of local partners, including Central Bark. Jasmine, a Central Bark staff member, provided foster care for fire-displaced pup Conchi, who has since been reunited with his family.

Lola was displaced by a fire in her home in Delaware County. Although she was unable to be permanently reunited with her family, she has gone on to become Red Paw’s “Ambassadog”, representing the group at events like No-Kill Philadelphia’s Super Adoption Day.

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1. Anonymous said... on Apr 18, 2014 at 01:29AM

“Congratulations to Ms. Leary and the wonderful work she is doing for animals and their humans!


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