Submitted by Mike McLaughlin

“Grady better not pee on my stuff!” declared A-shift Station 2 Captain David Hohl.

That was the day before Patterson Firefighters adopted four-and-a-half year old “Grady,” a hound-mix, from Westside Animals for Adoption, which is an organization that finds homes for shelter dogs that have lost their homes or been abandoned.

Ironically, the only “accident” Grady has had inside the firehouse has been on Captain Hohl’s gear bag! Nevertheless, David has formed a special bond with Grady over the past several weeks, as have the other firefighters at Station 2.

The idea to adopt a rescue dog was first suggested by Firefighter-Paramedic Frank “Frankie” Silvia. “I’ve been wanting a dog for a while now and I just threw the idea out at an Association meeting”, said Silvia. It was kind of just laughed off by the guys who obviously never thought it was something that could actually happen, Silvia added.

After that meeting I had a few conversations with Frankie about how cool it would be to have a dog at the station, and the more I thought about it, the more I felt it could be something positive and unifying for our community.

Welcoming a dog into our firehouse goes beyond the warm and fuzzy storyline. More firefighters died from suicide than line-of-duty deaths in 2017, according to a study by the Ruderman Family Foundation. We are exposed to traumatic events often. The fact is, playing with or petting your dog makes you feel better. If we come back to the station from a difficult call, we know Grady will be happy to see us.

He is our very own therapy dog.

Chief Gregory didn’t hesitate when asked for approval to get a firehouse dog, “if the guys are ok with it, then go for it” he said.

It’s been 3 weeks since Grady moved into Station #2 and he’s adjusted quite well. He likes the big training grounds in the back of the station, but he especially loves just hanging out with the firefighters in the station. Last week he had his first ride in Truck #2, when he went for his firedog medical exam at Patterson Veterinary Hospital. You can see a video of Grady riding in the truck on our Facebook page (Patterson Firefighters’ Association/IAFF Local 4577).

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