Back home from a long day’s routine at the Hanahan Fire Department in South Carolina, firefighter William Lindler was just getting on with some yard work when he heard a commotion. Smoke came out of his neighbor’s house just across the street. Wasting no time, he rushed back into his home, put on his firefighting gear and raced across the street to help.
As the fire raged on, the family called out to rescue workers that their pit bull pup was still trapped inside the house. Lindler helped save the 4-month-old, 4-pound puppy out of the raging fire just in the nick of time. He sure was lucky to be alive, but he was in the worst of conditions – his burns covered over 75% of his body, which included his paw pads.
The vets at the Animal Medical Clinic of Goose Creek started treatment immediately that included oral and topical antibiotics. The pup was given a guarded prognosis, which means that the treatment outcome was not very promising. The damage to the puppy was so extensive that the chance of him surviving was doubtful.
Amazingly, the puppy fought on for dear life. With the dedicated care he received from the medical team, he gradually nursed back to health. Unfortunately, his former owners, who were unable to pay for his medical care, abandoned him. Had he been human, he’d have fallen back ill again with the mounting bills.
At best, he’d be given up to a shelter; at worst, he’d roam the streets just like any homeless dog.
It was a pretty bleak thing to face for a little guy. But thanks to William again, the dog would not only find a home, but a job too. He said that he just couldn’t bear to see the badly-shaken puppy endure homelessness – that would be nightmarish for one who just went through hell and back.
New life, new home, new name – William called him Jake and welcomed him to the Lindler family. On his first night with the Lindlers, Jake slept with William in the firefighter’s bunk. Life for the pit bull took a drastic turnabout, and how William loved it! He and Jake became such a pair, about time too for the little thing to feel loved.
Jake still bears the scars, but those scars are only reminders of his doggedness to live. Those scars told of how he pulled through from a tragic fire that nearly killed him. That gave Lindler an idea.
Because Jake went through a lot, he’d make a compassionate therapy dog for burn survivors. And so Lindler’s dreams for Jake began. In less than a year after Jake was pulled out from that fire in May 2015, he became an honorary firefighter of Hanahan Fire Department in South Carolina.
Lindler, like any proud parent, was excited to see Jake sign (or rather stamp) an official document with his own paw to become the firefighters’ mascot. That sure looks like one paw closer to becoming a therapy dog for burn victims!
In a year, Jake would be ready to start his training. It looks like Jake has his future laid before him. With the support of the firefighters, his family, and the community behind him, that’s not really too far ahead.