College of Veterinary Medicine

In Memory of Our Beloved...

Blaze


  Blaze

BLAZE, THE FAMOUS NKF&R FIREDOG, DIES AT 13

(KINGSTON, Kitsap County) -- It is with profound sadness that North Kitsap Fire & Rescue announces the loss of their most beloved member.

Following a brief illness and surrounded by several close family members, Blaze the Fire Dog died peacefully on Tuesday, February 12th at approximately 7:30pm.

Blaze was born on June 7, 1994 in Kingston, Washington. His parents, Reba and Buttons, were members of the Steele family. The Steeles, upon first seeing the new puppy, knew that the dog was destined for life as a fire dog. NKF&R’s members agreed. A contest was held to name the new mascot and, from among many wonderful entries, firefighters selected "Blaze" as the moniker for their newest and littlest brother.

Blaze began his fire service career shortly after he was weaned, and was initially assigned to the operations division, riding in his own seat on the fire engine and responding to emergencies. But, after expressing his displeasure with his assignment by chewing through radio equipment and seat upholstery, district leaders transferred Blaze to the community services division where he assisted firefighters with fire and injury prevention efforts.

Unusually calm and friendly for his breed, Blaze charmed citizens – young and old – with his exceptional good-looks, his loving disposition, his patience with children and his impressive demonstration of the "Stop, Drop and Roll" technique. He lived in the fire station throughout his career and, between station tours and classroom visits, provided consistent service to firefighters by cleaning their plates and keeping their bunks warm when emergencies called crews away from meals and rest times. But, like many public safety professionals, Blaze sacrificed to serve. Most dogs crave the consistency of a single master, and Blaze had to adapt to a life that included a large and varied cast of human companions.

Since 1994, his frequent visits to local elementary and preschools have earned him a place in the hearts of every child he met. When firefighters sponsored a party celebrating Blaze’s tenth birthday, more than 100 fans joined in the festivities. Later that year, he was named Grand Marshal of the Kingston Fourth of July Parade. Most recently, Blaze’s handsome face was featured in the 2006 Kitsap Humane Society Calendar.

The Dalmatian breed is thought to have become associated with firefighters when the animals were used as calming companions for the teams of horses that pulled fire pumpers before the advent of internal combustion engines. Some say that the dogs – who love to run -- were also useful at improving response times by keeping other animals away from the horse teams as well as acting as watchdogs to protect horses and equipment from thieves. Today, although many firefighters own Dalmatians, modern "firehouse dogs" are apparently rare. So, Blaze caught the imagination of local and national media, appearing in a number of newspaper and television stories. He once was the subject of a seven-minute live interview on CNN.

A succession of injuries and illnesses plagued Blaze as he aged but, thanks to the firefighters’ love and the community’s generosity, he recovered from several serious situations. Approaching fourteen years of age, he was preparing to retire from active duty as worsening arthritis caused pain and threatened his mobility. Finally, a growth on his throat severely hampered his ability to eat, drink and breathe. Firefighters made the terribly difficult decision to spare their partner a painful death, and chose to end Blaze’s life in a peaceful and controlled manner with the assistance of his longtime vet, Dr.Moore at Apple Tree Cove Animal Hospital.

Blaze is survived by his family -- countless current and former firefighters -- and an entire community of friends.

 

North Kitsap Fire and Rescue

 

 

 

 



Last Edited: Oct 14, 2008 8:41 AM
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