Friday 26 January 2024

Some Facts Behind the Fireman’s Best Four-Legged Friend

Firemen and women are the unsung heroes of the country. They are the first to enter a burning building and the last to leave it. They willingly place their life on the line in the service of protecting and saving the lives of others, even if those lives are your four-legged pets. 

In fact, firefighting is said to be so dangerous and, at times, so traumatic, many battle-tested veterans have attested to the battlefield not being nearly as dangerous or emotionally challenging as fighting a four-alarm fire where the life and limb of an innocent family is on the line. 

It's for this reason that trophies and plaques commemorating the service of firemen were created. Says the pros at EDCO.COM, a company that creates and manufactures firefighter awards, there’s no better way to recognize and honor the dedication and bravery of firemen and women by awarding them with handsome, personally inscribed trophies and plaques. 

The awards are designed not only to boost the morale of firefighters, but to celebrate their courage, sacrifice, and distinguished service. The awards are perfect for honoring individuals or teams of firefighters.     

But if trophies and awards can boost a firefighter’s morale, nothing is more effective at boosting it than the firefighter’s best, four-legged friend: the firehouse dog. According to a recent report by The Daily Wag, a fire company would not be complete without a dog such as a Dalmatian appropriately named “Sparky.” 

But the brotherhood and kinship between the dog and the firefighter is said to be centuries in the making. The role firehouse dogs play has evolved profoundly along with technological advances. However, firefighters have and will always consider the dogs their brave and morale boosting companions. 

Famous Fire Dog Breeds

The Dalmatian has become almost synonymous with the fire dog. Their long legacy with the fire department began as stable and carriage dogs back as far as the 1700s. They continued to be used as carriage dogs by the FDNY into the 1870s. In those days the “carriage canines” ran ahead of the horse-drawn fire truck to clear the way of pedestrian traffic. Also, Dalmatians and horses seem to get along very well, the canines having a calming effect on their equine workmates.     

Today, fire dogs of many breeds satisfy numerous roles at the fire station, from buddy to the firefighters to guard dog in the evenings. But here are some important first responder jobs firedogs perform daily.  

Arson Dog

The professionally trained arson dog is able to sniff out highly flammable accelerants such as lighter fluid, gasoline, propane, and more. The dogs are said to be highly treat or food driven. They are usually of a sporting dog breed like a Retriever or a German Short-Haired Pointer.  

Search and Rescue Dog

The main job these brave dogs assume is to search for survivors in disaster areas, or for people lost in the wilderness. Some of them go on the hunt for escaped convicts. Since the dogs require a lot of stamina, the breeds chosen are usually Border Collies, German Shepards, or Labradors. 

The Tracking Dog

Much like the search and rescue dig, the tracking dog focuses entirely on people traveling on foot through thick woods. These can include elderly people who have lost their way while on a Sunday hike, or children who were playing in the woods who’ve gotten lost, or a prisoner who has managed to escape a maximum-security penitentiary. 

Bloodhounds fit the bill for the perfect breed of tracking dog since they are excellent sniffers. 

Crisis Response Dog

Says the Daily Wag, crisis response dogs are trained specially to assist people who are dealing with the stress and trauma of a disaster. It’s important the dogs maintain a calm temperament. They must also possess a genuine love for humans. 

Golden Retrievers often fit the bill for this most important role, but so to do a number of other therapy and crisis response dogs. 

Fire Dog Training

An entire industry has sprung up around fire dog training. Naturally if your firefighter dog’s role is to play mascot to the firehouse, or morale boosting companion, then specialized training isn’t necessarily a requirement. But if they are needed for special, indeed dangerous situations, they must be taught fire safety, and how to sniff out certain chemicals or learn how to respond to specific crisis events. 

For instance, an arson dog requires specialized training so they can sniff out even trace amounts of accelerant that humans or even high-tech machines cannot. They will also require training for navigating difficult and challenging environments without suffering severe injury. The training period can take months before a dog is considered skilled enough for the job.   

Fire dogs might be man and woman’s four-legged best friend in and around the firehouse. But they are also an integral part of fire prevention, plus search and rescue missions, making them an indispensable part of any first responder firefighting team. 

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