Some firemen were sitting outside at the station house on the fire truck when they notice a little boy coming down the street. The boy is in a little red wagon with small wooden ladders hanging on the side. He is wearing a fireman’s hat and has two ropes tied to the wagon. The two ropes are tied to a dog and a cat, and the dog and the cat are struggling to pull the wagon.
As the boy approaches, the fireman says “Hey little boy. What’s your name?” The boy answers, “Joseph.” “Well, What are you doing, Joseph?” The little boy says “I’m going to be a fireman and this is my fire truck!”
The fireman walks over to take a closer look. “Well, Joseph, that sure is a nice fire truck!” “Thanks mister”, says the boy. The fireman looks a little closer and notices the ropes are tied to the dog’s collar, but the cat’s tail.
“Joseph”, says the fireman, “I don’t want to tell you how to run your fire truck, but if you were to tie that rope around the cat’s collar, instead of his tail, I think you would go faster.”
Joseph says, “You’re probably right mister, but then I wouldn’t have a siren, would I?”
When my daughter, Rachael was in elementary school, her class took a field trip to the local fire station to learn about how firemen protect the lives and property of our people. Arriving at the station house, they saw a huge red pumper engine with its shining chrome hardware filling the engine bay. But the children’s attention was diverted away from the huge fire engine by a different firehouse attraction: the company’s fire dog.
History tells us that the iconic Dalmatian fire dog dates back to the 1800’s. Dogs and horses are very compatible animals, so the dogs were easily trained to run in front of the engines to help clear a path and guide the horses and the firefighters to the fires quickly. They are still chosen by many fire fighters as pets in honor of their heroic service in the past.
This particular fire company had a mascot that all the children clamored to see and pet. Eventually, they began discussing the purpose of the firehouse dog.
The first little boy said, “The dog is there to brin the firemen good luck.” The second boy said, “No, the dog is there to keep the people away from the fire while the firemen put out the fire.” Then a little girl chimed in, “You’re both wrong. It’s the dog’s job to find the fire hydrant!”