Firefighters pay loving tribute to station dog who passed away
Firefighters in the Chilean city of Iquique put their safety on the line for the community every day – but it’s their loving gesture to a four-legged member of their company who died this week that is making headlines across the country.
For more than a decade, this gentle dog named Negro lived alongside the first responders of the Iquique Fire Department. As a firehouse dog, he ensured that firefighters were dispatched to the scene and welcomed them back with a wagging tail.
The dog’s cheerful presence undoubtedly helped to reduce the stress of those around him in the performance of their often dangerous work, and made the long periods of calm more enjoyable.
Unfortunately, Negro’s years of service came to an end.
On Tuesday, it was announced that the faithful dog, after a period of declining health, had died at the age of 14.
“This afternoon, a member of our ranks left the earth – our four-legged firefighter,” the fire department wrote online. “Thank you so much for all the years you spent with us. We will remember you forever.”
But Negro’s colleagues continued to pay tribute to him with more than just words. The department’s board of directors decided to go a step further, bestowing the dog with the rank of “honorary firefighter,” and the final respects that go with it.
In a ceremony for the beloved dog, the firefighters held a funeral with an honor guard to bid him a heartfelt farewell.
“Negro was one of us, a member of this family. He was respected, loved,” said Fire Captain Jorge Tapia to Soyiquique.cl. “We said goodbye in a very emotional ceremony because we were saying goodbye to one of our own, who was an important part of this company.”
And, when the dog’s coffin was carried, flanked by his colleagues, the importance he had for them became apparent.
Negro’s body was buried that evening in a plot not far from where he had served so conscientiously. A tree was also planted nearby in his memory.
While this firehouse dog clearly touched the hearts of all those who knew him personally during their many years together, Negro’s legacy will go far beyond that, thanks to the gesture of respect and love shown to him this week – a fitting tribute to a wonderful pup.
“In memory of our Negro. Faithful pet, friend and protector.”
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