Today is National Fire Pup Day, a date set aside to recognize and salute the many canines — past and present — who have contributed their time and efforts to help our firefighters keep us safe.
Dalmatians have long been the mascots of fire dogs. Back in the days of horse-drawn carriages, these athletic dogs would run ahead of the carriages as they sped toward a fire call, barking out warnings for people to clear the way.
Although many firefighting tasks have been replaced by machinery, dogs still help in search and rescue efforts. Breeds include retrievers, German Shepherds and Border Collies. The main qualifications for being a good fire dog are being healthy, energetic and able to focus despite any distractions.
That large white dog with the beautiful black spots may forever hold the firefighter image, but all dogs who do their part to help deserve a big round of applause.