Three weeks old and with burns to much of his body, Pit Bull puppy Jake was dramatically rescued from a fire by a firefighter. Jake's rescuer not only became his hero but also his new dad. And then Jake received a wonderful accolade!
It's one thing to escape a fire, albeit with serious burns, but it's another to have the firefighting hero who rescued you take you in under their wing - and then make you an official part of their work team!
Well, that's exactly how it happened for Jake the Pit Bull.
Firefighter to the rescue
In April 2015, Hanahan Fire Department's William Lindler was called out to a South Carolina property where a shed was rapidly burning down. As the flames and smoke engulfed the place, William was fortunate to notice something small nearby before the black smoke engulfed everything.
On the floor, William found a tiny puppy badly burnt and in a very poor way.
"I literally found Jake in the last place you could see before the smoke became pitch black and was too dark to navigate through," William said.
"He wasn't doing too good, and I gave him mouth-to-snout breaths until we could get an oxygen mask for him."
The tiny puppy was then rushed to a local vet’s office, where they informed William that Jake had a low chance of surviving.
With Jake's burns needing extensive treatment, William soon learned that the puppy's owners had to abandon the animal as they were unable to pay the medical bills. Having seen Jake go through so much already and feeling attached to him from the outset, William knew he had to adopt him.
A real fighter: Jake's treatment
Jake had a tough road ahead of him following his rescue. Due to the severity of the burns, he was required to take antibiotics and morphine for a month following the fire. He also underwent laser therapy as well as regular scrubbing of dead skin cells by his team of vets.
William said it took Jake four months to fully recover. Despite this, Jake had to continue taking various medications as well as requiring a daily ritual of ointment applications.
"We actually have to put sunscreen on him when we take him to the beach," William said.
Jake the firefighter
After the lengthy treatment process, William knew Jake was well enough to join him at the station. With many of the firefighters having witnessed Jake's story, he was welcomed with open arms and even given small, fun 'jobs' to do.
Very quickly the whole fire department considered Jake one of their own - Jake certainly thought he was one of them too. He quickly became a local celebrity in the town with people dropping by for pats and to offer gifts.
"All the guys fell in love with him, and the ladies at [the] town hall always have treats for him," William said.
With Jake's influence on the local community, and some excellent training skills William and his colleagues were teaching him, it was realised that their new fur friend really was becoming an official part of the team.
So, to recognise the contribution Jake was making, Hanahan's fire chief and mayor of the town bestowed on Jake the title of Honorary Firefighter and the official mascot of the Hanahan fire Department.
A bright future for Jake
William now has his sights set on training Jake to help the fire department as an arson detection dog.
"He loves sniffing and snooping around when I play with him and hide his toys," he said. "So I figured, hey, he might be a good fit for being a detection dog."
It seems Jake has a world of adventure ahead of him, and the only signs of his past trauma are the scars he seems to carry with pride.
Well done Jake! And a big shout-out to William for his love and care of that tiny, helpless puppy that fateful day.
Source: ABC News
Photo credits: William Lindler