Everyone knows that the traditional firehouse dog is the Dalmatian, but the new Haines City, Fla., Fire Department is not of the white-and-black-spotted variety. Instead, the firefighters have adopted the adorable American Staffordshire Terrier mix they recently rescued.
Members of the department rescued the Staffie mix earlier this year after they found her tied to a tree, abandoned, a muzzle strapped over her mouth and no food or water in sight. The firefighters were unsure of how long the dog had been there, but they knew that if they did not act she would certainly have died.
“We weren’t going to leave her there, so we untied her and we walked over to the truck and when we got to the truck she just jumped right up into the back,” Haines City Fire Chief Bill Jolley told ABC Action News of the pup.
When the guys brought the dog back to the station, she seemed to make herself right at home. Taking it as a sign, the firefighters decided to adopt the dog that they had rescued, giving her what they knew was the perfect name: Ember.
“She’s very calm and gets along with everybody,” Jolley says of Ember, who spends her time at the station chewing on old, worn out fire hoses and playing fetch with the on-duty firefighters.
To care for Ember, it was very important to the firefighters that they be the ones to pay for things like food, toys, treats, veterinary care, and other essentials — not the taxpayers. The guys started a “dog fund,” and everyone at the station contributes.
“Whenever someone has a spare dollar, they’ll throw it into the dog fund,” firefighter and EMT Jonathan Herlocker explained.
As the firefighters watch Ember napping and playing at the station, or wagging her tail happily as she visits one of the guys, they do not understand how anyone could have left such a great dog to die. They can’t help but marvel at how much Ember’s life has changed since she became a member of their family.
“Now she’s the most spoiled dog in the world,” firefighter Brett Dipiero says of Ember. “She gets all the food she wants, all the treats she wants.”
“If she could tell you herself, I’m sure she’d tell you she’s in heaven,” Dipiero added.
And for the firefighters who call the Haines City Fire Station home in between calls, playing tug-of-war or cuddling with Ember has become one of the best parts of their work days and nights.
“Having her around just makes that time go by a little faster and keeps everyone a little more cheerful,” said Dipiero, “so it’s a great help and a great improvement to the fire station.”