In what seem to be ideal win-win situations, two dogs that survived severe burns have been adopted by fire departments in Florida. They not only serve as fire safety ambassadors and inspire burn victims, but they also help provide comfort to their stressed-out, two-legged coworkers.
Meet Clover and Ruby, who will hopefully motivate fire departments across the country to adopt four-legged burn survivors of their own.
Two years ago, when Clover was only five weeks old, a propane heater ignited a fire in the Alabama shed in which the Cur Hound mix was living with her mom and littermates. The other dogs made it out unharmed, but when a piece of wood fell on Clover, she suffered severe burns to her head, paws, chest and back.
Clover was taken in by the Suncoast Animal League, a Palm Harbor, Fla., nonprofit dedicated to caring for homeless pets and wildlife. The league posted photos of the resilient puppy as she recovered, and Clover’s fan base quickly grew. Among those following her amazing progress was the staff at Florida’s Madeira Beach Fire Department (MBFD), who, coincidentally, had been thinking about getting a firehouse dog.
Suncoast Animal League arranged a meet-and-greet. For the firefighters, it was love at first sight. When Clover was four months old, the department adopted her, and she was officially sworn in as Fire Station 25′s new firehouse dog.
Clover visits local schools as a fire safety ambassador and shows kids how to stop, drop and roll. She’s also proven to be an inspiration for two-legged survivors of fires and health issues.
“We ran into a young child who saw the scars and he goes, ‘Oh, I have scars, too.’ His scars were from cancer,” MDFD firefighter-paramedic John Sleppy told FOX 13. “She was just really, really loving with him. It was just cool to see them relate – two fighters.”
Having Clover around the station also lifts the firefighters’ spirits. The 12 who work there take turns walking, feeding and bathing her.
“In our line of work, we see things and do things that a lot of people don’t see in their entire lives, and sometimes that can affect you,” Sleppy told FOX 13. “It’s nice to come back to the station, where it’s more like a home now when your dog’s always got a smile and wants to lick you.”
You can follow Clover on her Facebook page.
Ruby, who appears to be a Pit Bull mix, was only a few months old in 2018 when a fire broke out in the Georgia home where she lived with her owner and another dog. Running through the flames to escape, Ruby was the only survivor. She suffered third-degree burns and was in critical condition for over a week. Like Clover, Suncoast Animal League eventually took Ruby in.
In the meantime, Florida’s Palm Harbor Fire Rescue (PHFR) heard about Clover being adopted by the MBFD, and thought it would be a great idea to adopt their own furry burn survivor. Later that year, Ruby was sworn in as the official firehouse dog of PHFR Station 65.
Like Clover, Ruby serves as a fire safety ambassador, helping with public education outreach programs.
“She already knows how to stop, drop and roll and we’ve been teaching her to crawl low under smoke,” Elizabeth Graham, PHFR public information officer, told FOX 13 in 2018. “She’s a part of the family now and I can’t wait to see how many lives she will touch.”
As Clover has also done, Ruby attends camps with children who are burn survivors. To have her there “and show everybody that she is a survivor and that she can make it through, it’s amazing,” Graham told ABC News.
Ruby has proven to be a welcome addition around the fire station. “As a department, having a dog around, if you are having a low day or something, the dog is always going to be there, always be loving,” firefighter-paramedic Tyrell Platt told FOX 13. “The dog has no negative. So I definitely think it is going to be good for the department and people individually.”
This story was originally published on Care2.com.