National Fire Pup Day
October 1st is National Fire Pup Day. Today we at SERVPRO recognize the canine firefighters that have long been members of fire departments across the country. When most of us think of a “fire pup”, the image that comes to mind is a Dalmatian. Have you ever wondered how Dalmatians became the firefighter’s mascot?
In the days of horse-drawn carriages, dogs were a popular means of protection for the carriage’s occupants. Dalmatians were a popular carriage dog breed, partly due to their natural athleticism, and partly due to the fact that they were well-behaved around horses. It didn’t take long for the Dalmatian to make the jump from carriage dog to fire dog.
Early firefighting equipment was horse-drawn, and Dalmatians were frequently used as “sirens” running along ahead of the horses, barking warnings that told people the fire wagon was coming and to “get out of the way.” Fire pups also guarded the wagons as the firefighters worked, and even did “chores” (like chasing rats) around the firehouse. Today Dalmatians don’t run ahead of fire trucks, but they still maintain a visible presence at many fire departments as a mascot and fire-safety symbol.
While most firefighting-related jobs have been taken over by machines, machines haven’t completely replaced dogs in search and rescue efforts. According to the Search Dog Foundation—a non-profit organization that helps partner rescue dogs with firefighters—fire pups need to be able to focus and concentrate even when surrounded by loud noises or strangers, and they need to be healthy and athletic. Not surprisingly, common search dog breeds include retriever breeds like Golden Retrievers and Labradors, as well as herding breeds like German Shepherds and Border Collies.