Firefighter saves puppy, makes him part of firehouse family
The puppy, Jake, was rescued from a fire with burns over 70 percent of his body; he is now the station mascot and is being trained to be an arson detection dog
HANAHAN, S.C. — A South Carolina firefighter had no idea how much a dog he rescued from a fire last April would impact his life.
The Dodo reported Bill Lindler, a firefighter with the Hanahan Fire Department, saw flames rising from his neighbor's garage last April and jumped into action.
"I saw mama dog and several puppies running out," Lindler said. "I saw one puppy trying to make his way out, when a piece of the ceiling fell on top of him. He started yelping, but he wiggled himself free and backed into a corner and cowered down."
As soon as backup arrived, Lindler entered the garage and found the pit bull puppy hiding behind a couch.
"I brought him outside, and he was pretty bad," said Lindler. "He wasn't moving. He wasn't breathing. I did mouth-to-snout on him, until we could administer oxygen."
Despite suffering serious burns to more than 70 percent of his body, the puppy survived and was sent to an emergency vet clinic.
A few weeks later, Lindler stopped by the clinic to check on the puppy and learned no one had claimed him.
"I told the vet I would like to get him. I asked how much the medical bills would cost, and the vet told us that it was fitting that I should want him, since I was the one who saved him," Lindler said. "He told me we didn't have to worry about the bills."
Lindler took the puppy home and named him Jake.
Lindler spent weeks nursing Jake back to health. Once he began to get stronger, Lindler started bringing Jake with him to his shifts at the fire station.
"Everybody was just thrilled to death. He's just the cutest little thing there is. Everybody fell in love with him," said Lindler.
The firefighters embraced Jake as the new station pet, making a bed for him and dressing him in a converted firefighting jacket.
As Jake continued to grow, Lindler began taking him to presentations at local schools about fire prevention.
Last December, Jake was awarded two titles from the community.
"Talking with my chief, and higher ups from the city, they thought it would be fitting to swear him in and make him an honorary firefighter," said Lindler. "He's also now our official mascot for the fire department."
Lindler said he is currently training Jake to be an arson detection dog. He also wants to train Jake to be a therapy dog.
"I'd like to see him be a therapy dog for burned children one day, so they can see that he's a survivor and that, despite the scars, they're all still beautiful," said Lindler.
- Animal rescue