This South Carolina fire department recently made a one-year-old pup into an honorary firefighter after they rescued him from a devastating fire months before.
Bill Lindler told InsideEdition.com that on the day of his neighbor's fire, he knew there was a 3-week-old pitbull still in the garage.
"I felt helpless," Lindler said to InsideEdition.com. Lindler is a firefighter himself, and while the entire family had escaped unharmed, he knew there was nothing he could do for the puppy until the fire department arrived.
Ten minutes later, the fire department finally arrived to the scene. Lindler said he found little Jake in a corner after having crawled out from under the collapsed ceiling.
The pup needed mouth-to-mouth for the smoke inhalation. He also had burns over 75 percent of his body, including his paws, and was given morphine for the first 6 weeks following the fire.
"Most humans would have died in those conditions," Lindler said.
Jake was brought to the vet, but his neighbors were not able to afford Jake's medical bills. The vet then deemed him abandonned, which is when Lindler decided he would step in.
Lindler adopted the little pup, and began to nurse him back to health. Once Jake was off medication, Lindler began bringing him to the fire station during his shifts.
"Everyone there fell in love with him," Lindler said to IE.com.
After Jake's spontaneous visits to the fire department became more regular, the Chief of Halahan Fire Department decided it would be appropriate to officially welcome Jake as a member of the team.
Jake was soon sworn in as an honorary member of the fire department, and a mascot of the team. He is also the first dog in the department to hold the title.
Jake's body is still scarred from the fire, but Lindler said that it was indication that he would be a perfect fit: “Before they even made him a firefighter, that was his firefighter badge.”
Firefighters at the department now bring their four-legged team member on fire prevention presentations at local schools.
"He was burned and survived," Lindler said. "I think it gets them to understand the importance of fire safety better."
In the future, the Halahan Fire Department plans to train Jake to be an accelerant detection dog, where he will learn to recognize certain scents that indicate whether an arson has occurred.