Four-legged fire victim joins Madeira Beach Fire Department

- Clover's story starts out sad: A small puppy burned so badly she was permanently disfigured.  But now, she's getting better and helping others along the way after being sworn in to the Madeira Beach Fire Department.

Clover’s ears and body were burned when something fell on her during a house fire in Alabama.  That’s when a local rescue group swooped in and helped the injured pup.

“The Suncoast Animal League took care of her, did a great job of nursing her back to health, along with the rest of her litter,” explained firefighter-paramedic John Sleppy.

Moved by her story, the Madeira Beach Fire Department decided to adopt Clover. They plan to teach her how to stop drop and roll as part of her new job helping kids and other members of the community learn important fire safety lessons.

She's still picking up the finer points of firefighter life, but Sleppy says she’s a natural at connecting with people, even just on walks around the station.

“We ran into a young child who saw the scars and he goes, ‘Oh I have scars, too.’  His scars were from cancer,” Sleppy continued.  “She was just really, really loving with him.  It was just cool to see them relate – two fighters.”

Clover lives at Station 25, where the 12 firefighters take turns walking, feeding, and bathing the pup.  It’s a welcome distraction for all of them.

“In our line of work, we see things and do things that a lot of people don’t see in their entire lives and sometimes that can affect you,” Sleppy added.  “It’s nice to come back to the station where it’s more like a home now when your dog’s always got a smile and wants to lick you.”

The fire department is hosting a screening of 101 Dalmatians on May 4 as part of a meet-and-greet event with Clover.  Visit the department’s Facebook page for more information.

LINK: You can also follow Clover's adventures on her own Facebook page.

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