WASHINGTON (WUSA9) - A Maryland-based non-profit organization uses recycled water hoses from local fire departments to help animals in captivity.
Hose2Habitat started two years ago, although Lisa Daly said she and her husband have been recycling fire hoses for years.
"You can edit this part out but Tony says people are going to think we're making houses for prostitutes,” Daly said, laughing. “Let them think what they want, I don't care. Cause this was supposed to be our passion project.”
It's a love story that started when Daly, the Hose2Habitat co-founder, and her husband, Anthony Slamin, first met as volunteer medics with the Montgomery County Fire Department. Daly said she was already trying to donate old fire hose to the National Zoo.
"I wanted to take it to the Zoo anyway so I figured, if I asked him to drive me down there in the truck, he would think I was, like, great,” she said.
Seven years and thousands of feet of hose later, their love for one another and animals turned into a non-profit that's sparing landfills of what Daly said is about 20-tons of non-biodegradable fire hose each year.
The old hose is turned in to habitat items.
"So it goes from the animals on the fire house to the animals to uh, the gorillas on the truck company, oh I'm just kidding,” said Montgomery County Fire Spokesperson, Pete Piringer.
Piringer said they've been donating for a while now. The fire department’s hoses only last for a couple of years because of the pressure put on them. A crew at the Cabin John Station was actually pressure testing their lines for any possible leaks Wednesday.
“I've seen swings, balls, other contraptions that the animals find, you can imagine,” Piringer said. “All different varieties of animals have different needs and wants and play things so, yeah, that's pretty cool to see it put to that use."
Daly said the organization works with hundreds of zoos and various fire departments across the country, including zoos in Baltimore and Columbus.
"I get goose bumps when I see it. It's just so much fun and they get, it gives them not just things to engage them to get them using their instincts and natural behaviors,” she said. “But we're also bring them comfort. Like we make fire hose beds for geriatric cats that have joint problems and it hurts them.”
Daly said they didn’t come up with the idea, but they are trying to move it along and now host workshops that teach zoos how to building obstacle-like structures, netting and enrichment toys for the animals can play with.