The DeLand Fire Department recently took in a new furry, firefighting friend. Named for City of DeLand founder Henry DeLand, “Hank” the pup is the Fire Department’s new mascot and live-in buddy.
The small, beagle-like pup made his first appearance at the grand opening of the DeLand Fire Department’s new Fire Station 81. While city officials were cutting ribbons and marking the official opening of the new fire station, a stray dog traipsed right up to the fire station like he owned the place.
And while he may not own the place, he at least lives there now.
After his appearance at the ribbon-cutting Jan. 15, Hank was taken to the animal-control kennel by DeLand Animal Control Officer Jennie Fiore. After all that, DeLand Community Information Specialist Ava Hanner didn’t anticipate her offhand suggestion to Fire Chief Todd Allen that they adopt the dog would go anywhere.
“I made the call to Animal Control the week following our grand opening/ribbon-cutting here at Fire Station 81,” Allen told The Beacon. “After speaking with Animal Control regarding the dog’s demeanor, it became clear that this may be a good fit.”
Hank was not microchipped, nor was there any indication that he had an owner. After spending 30 days at the shelter, the Fire Department brought him to his new home at the new Fire Station 81.
“Henry has been well-received by the firefighters, and the firefighters are very excited to have him around,” Allen said. “With our firefighters living at the fire station 24 hours at a time, it brings a sense of home, and is therapeutic for our personnel.”
And even though he was just adopted Feb. 15, Hank has already turned the Fire Station into his home.
“He spends most of the day upstairs in the day room where the firefighters mostly spend time throughout the day when they aren’t on calls,” Hanner said. “He already has a few beds around the station for him to rest both upstairs and downstairs, but at night he will sleep upstairs in his crate near where the firefighter bunkrooms are so they can check on him at night if they need to.”
Hank is mild-mannered and sweet and likes to play with the “great deal” of toys he’s been given by the Fire Department, Hanner added.
The city’s new fire dog will join the Fire Department on trips to schools and in local parades.
Fees for the dog will come out of the Fire Department’s budget, Hanner said, but if you ask Chief Allen, it’s a small price to pay for the station’s newest firefighter and mascot.
“From the streets to a fire dog, Henry is a lucky dog,” Allen said. “It would make a good illustrated children’s book!”