A furry friend has found a forever home surrounded by firefighters.
Station One has welcomed a new rookie on the scene after firefighters adopted a puppy found outside the station.
One day, a firefighter went outside to find the puppy sitting outside.
“He came up to us and was real playful,” said acting Fire Chief Barry Young.
Young said they originally turned the puppy into the Humane Society, not originally planning to keep him. Young said Missy Collins of the Humane Society contacted him asking if they wanted to adopt the stray puppy.
Fire Chief Manny Gomez was said to quickly say “yes” to allowing the station to adopt their furry friend and bring him to his new home.
“For years the department communicated that, and they’re all animal advocates and want to ensure a lot of these (animals) that are mistreated and not treated correctly are treated properly and have a forever home,” Gomez said.
Even though the station officially adopted the puppy Aug. 5, they decided their new companion’s name by voting on each shift. The three names being decided on are: Rookie, Pep and Axe. Gomez suggested the name Pep, which represents the acronym for the fire department’s mission statement of preservation, education and professionalism.
When the dog-name voting came to a close Monday, the winning name was Axe.
The puppy will have an emotional purpose on the team, being a support dog for firefighters when needed. They also plan to take him into the community.
“We can take him to the many events that we are requested to attend, whether it be Hobbs August Nites, or the chili cook-off, or going to the schools to read to the kids, our fire prevention week programs,” Young said.
The fire station is wanting to train the puppy to help with tough days, and get help to make sure that he reaches his therapy potential.
“I think just as important as those things is maybe training him or getting him trained to be that type of therapy dog for our personal. PTSD and behavioral health is becoming a big, big thing in the fire service on a national level,” Young said. “There are studies that show having an animal provides that bit of therapy, so our personel go out on a rough call, the dog is here for them. Just having that presence would be a good thing.”
The puppy’s home is Station One, where he has dozens of people to spend time with.
“We hover between 70 to 80 personnel at all times,” Young said. “The puppy, he’s exposed to quite a number of people day in and day out. He’s got a nice little crate, and we have several people that have been working with him.”
The department is working with the playful puppy on temperament to get him ready to go out into the community and not to mention potty-training while he lives at the station.
“We’ve had some accidents, but he does know where to go to the bathroom and knows to stay within the gates so far,” Young said.
The puppy brings more chores to station one, but also more love.
“He’s a cuddler,” said firefighter Whitney Moody.
The department thinks the puppy will be a great mood booster in the station.
“Everybody at the station has taken well to him,” Young said. “It’s definitely a morale booster. I wouldn’t say the morale around here was bad or anything, but anytime you introduce something like that, it gets people going.”
Young says the station has been throwing around the idea of having a pet at the station for over five years and knew they wanted to adopt, rather than buy from the beginning.
“We don’t want to purchase, there’s dogs in our local animal adoption center that need homes,” Young said. “Then just, that one morning, this little guy was sitting outside of our station.”
Along with fetch, the puppy likes to cuddle, and is said be loved and love everyone, creating a positive environment for all.
“It’s a glue, it’s an adhesive, if you will, to kinda put firefighters together, shifts together, and I think it’s a happy-go-lucky puppy,” Gomez said. “I think that will pretty much create that environment throughout the shifts.”