To continue Prudent Pet’s Badass Dogs series, we want to recognize firefighter dogs in this second featured post. Our last post discussed Police K-9s, and now we are going to honor the dogs that help firemen and the communities they serve. Doggos are extremely versatile in their abilities and skill sets and these heroic canines are prime examples of this.
Firefighter Dogs History
Beginning in the 17th century, brave pups began serving their communities as firefighter dogs. Not only were they given tasks to perform, but they also served as symbols for their human counterparts and the heroism they demonstrate. Dalmatians especially are associated with firefighters – serving as a beacon of hope to raise awareness to firehouses.
Firefighter dogs derive from the concept of carriage dogs. Carriage dogs used to run with horses to clear the way for the carriage and comfort the horses from any distractions that may spook them. This same concept spawned firefighter dogs!
As technology progressed, carriages were replaced with motorized firetrucks, thus reducing the importance of firefighter dogs. However, new duties became available for these valiant doggos.
Firefighter Dogs Duties Today
These valiant canines perform many different duties in today’s firefighter world. They include different tasks from discovering why fires started to saving people. The following are some of the most important assignments of a firefighter dog:
Arson: These special firefighter dogs are trained to sniff out accelerants in the remains of suspicious fires. They smell for trace amounts of common fire starters like gasoline. If they find anything suspect, they will stop and sit next to the source to alert their handler.
Arson doggos are typically from the retriever or spaniel breeds. Many of these hard-working pups are trained and provided by the State Farm Arson Training Program. Founded in 1993, this program has put more than 400 dogs to work.
Tracking: These dogs are used when there is a possible criminal on the loose. After an arson dog finds a suspicious accelerant, a tracking dog would be deployed to locate the suspect.
They are typically Bloodhounds since they are known for their keen sense of smell.
Search & Rescue: These dogs are employed to find missing persons quickly after the fire has been put out. Time is of the essence when someone is trapped in a burnt building and cannot be found. These special pets are trained to recover lost individuals in a fast manner and save many lives.
Crisis Response: These animals are therapy dogs. They work during catastrophes to help calm first responders and survivors. Firefighters often are some of the first to arrive on the scene, so it makes sense to have a doggo there to comfort those affected by traumatic experiences.
Crisis response furballs can be any breed of dog, but they must have a calm temperament and be extremely well trained. HOPE Animal-Assistance Crisis Response is an organization that trains dogs to provide comfort and encouragement to those affected by crises.
Mascots: These dogs are occasionally just for show, but are still well-trained pups. Mascots don’t have any specific duties other than comforting firefighters and keeping a great public image. Sometimes these doggos even get to ride in the firetruck!
Dalmatians as Firefighter Dogs
Nowadays, dalmatians serve as more of a mascot than performing tasks. But when you hear firefighter dog, the image of a spotted dalmatian is inevitable in American pop culture. Why is this the case?
Dalmatians’ incorporation in firehouses began in the 1700s and made exceptional firefighter dogs for a few reasons:
- Dalmatians are friendly with horses
Early fireman didn’t have bright red fire trucks; instead, they used fire carts which were horse-drawn carriages. Horses would get spooked by both the sirens and flames, so the dalmatian would run beside the horses to comfort and calm them while clearing the path for the carriage.
- Dalmatians are great at protection
Dalmatians would protect the firehouse and the firetruck from thieves. Back in the day, firehouses were very competitive with one another because whoever put out the fire first got paid. This made it important to defend all the equipment and valuables.
- They’re great at chasing away vermin
Old firehouses would get infested with rodents. These spotted canines could chase away unwanted visitors and keep the firehouse clean and safe.
As time progressed, there wasn’t much need for these hard-working canines, so they lost some of their actual duties. We still associate Dalmatians with firefighters today and they personify fire safety and peaceful communities.
National Fire Pup Day
We know these dogs are incredible, thankfully there is a day set aside to celebrate their accomplishments.
When is National Fire Pup Day? This holiday is celebrated on October 1st.
What is National Fire Pup Day? This special day recognizes the firefighter dogs that have been serving our communities for centuries. It also educates the public about fire safety and celebrates past heroes.
How to Observe?
- Head down to your local firehouse and show your support.
- Donate to the volunteer firemen that protect your community.
- Use the hashtag #NationalFirePupDay to raise awareness.
- Educate your peers about the importance of fire safety.
Celebrate your local firehouse dogs this October 1st! While these pups protect your community, why not protect your special friend with a Prudent Pet dog insurance policy to ensure a happy life for your companion? Receive a free pet insurance quote today!