HAINES CITY, Fla. - Tug-a-war with an old, torn-up fire hose is Ember’s new favorite pastime at the Haines City Fire Department.
Earlier this year, firefighters there adopted the two year old American Staffordshire terrier after it appears someone left it to die.
“She’s very calm and gets along with everybody,” said Bill Jolley, Haines City Fire Chief.
Jolley and others found the dog tied to a tree in a rural area, wearing a muzzle, left with no food or water.
“We weren't going to leave her there, so we untied her and we walked over to the truck and when we got to the truck she just jumped right up into the back,” Jolley said.
As soon as they got back to the fire station, the guys couldn’t resist. They named her Ember and the days of starving for food and love suddenly ended.
“Now she’s the most spoiled dog in the world,” said Brett Dipiero, one of Ember’s favorite firefighters at her new home. “She gets all the food she wants, all the treats she wants. If she could tell you herself, I’m sure she’d tell you she’s in heaven.”
Everyday at the firehouse, Ember has seven guys to give her all the attention she needs. Downtime for them, means playtime for her.
“Having her around just makes that time go by a little faster and keeps everyone a little more cheerful, so it’s great help and a great improvement to the fire station,” Depiero said.
Adding the dog to the firefighting family did take some adjusting.
Ember had to learn to trust that when everyone leaves for a call, they will eventually return.
Plus, the firehouse needed ground rules -- Ember can’t be cared for with tax dollars.
“We’ve got a little envelope that whenever someone has a spare dollar, they’ll throw it into the dog fund,” said Jonathan Herlocker, firefighter and EMT.
A local vet gave the fire station a great deal on a check-up and shots for the dog. Eventually they hope to bring her along on an antique fire truck during parades and show off their new family member to the public.
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Plenty of sunshine with warm temps and humid conditions. Only a 20% chance for an afternoon shower or storm.