The East Haven fire department said the sweet pup named Riggs will serve as the fire department Station Support Dog.
Animals left behind in hot cars often don't survive, but thankfully, a 6-month-old pup was rescued just in the nick of time. Firefighters busted Riggs, a beagle mix, out of a locked car on Sunday near Town Beach, a public beach on the Long Island Sound. The New York Post reports that the young animal was left in a sweltering vehicle where the temperature was a whopping 122 degrees! “There was a dog at the beach locked in a car. Probably about high 80s during the day so they’re figuring it was about 120 degrees in the car. There was a dog locked inside. Windows were only cracked open about an inch," Chief Matthew Marcarelli said, per NBC New York.
The sweet animal was fortunately found to be healthy when his rescuers found him. The East Haven Fire Department saved the puppy, who was ultimately surrendered to East Haven Animal Control. Once the animal's story made headlines, many people came forward to take him in. However, with the town's support, the East Haven Fire Department adopted the dog as the firehouse's new support pet. “We’re a compassionate group here and we took an immediate liking to him and decided he’d be a good fit for us,” East Haven Fire Department's Chief Matt Marcarelli told NBC Connecticut.
The East Haven Fire Department also asked the public for help to name their firehouse pet and some of the options included Cinder, Jake, Spartan, Riggs, and Ash. The poll had 700 members of the public cast their vote and the name Riggs ultimately won the name contest. "The East Haven Fire Department is deeply grateful to the residents of East Haven for taking the time to participate in this endeavor," Chief Marcarelli said in a statement. "Each vote not only solidified a name but also underscored the vital role the community plays in fostering a sense of unity and camaraderie within the fire department."
Speaking of the young pup's personality, East Haven Mayor Joseph Cafora told WFSB, “He has a great temperament and will get along with the on-duty crews as well as be an ambassador to the department at public education and community events. As a Station Support Dog, Riggs will help firefighters cope with the stressors of the job and mitigate the effects of post-traumatic stress." He "will live among the crews and will serve as a welcomed and friendly distraction from the trauma experienced in the course of their duties. Vet care, food and other expenses will be funded through donations,” added Chief Marcarelli.
As the adorable pup settles into his new role, the department says it is looking forward to the positive impact he will have on the well-being of the firefighters and the community. "When we come back and we are stressed out from what we'd just seen and dealt with, you walk upstairs and see his tail wagging and smiling. It allows all of us to come in around him and destress from what we just saw," firefighter Jon Depino said, per NBC New York.