Dalmatian puppy bringing smiles to local fire department

West Memphis Fire Department Facebook page

WEST MEMPHIS, Ark. — The West Memphis Fire Department has a new recruit in training. So far, he’s learning to “sit” on command.

Max, a 9-week-old Dalmatian puppy, is becoming the new face of the fire department, drawing comments on the department’s Facebook page.

Assistant Fire Chief Jeff Jones says he has been a firefighter for a little more than 25 years and has always wanted a Dalmatian, something he thinks most firemen want.

“I’ve always wanted a Dalmatian, and an opportunity came and I wound up getting me one,” Jones said.

When he had the chance to get one he took it — but his wife didn’t know.

“I said, ‘Sweetheart, you asked me what I wanted for Christmas. Well, this is it,’” Jones said.

Jones said his close friend Rick Lasky, who is now a fire chief in Louisville, Texas, once told him if he ever he planned on being a chief that he should get a dog so he had a friend.

“So this is my new friend, Max,” Jones said.

Jones says he is still teaching Max to behave a little bit because he “still has some puppy in him” but is training him to interact with the public.

“I’d like to take him to fire scenes. You know when we go to a fire scene that’s the worst day of somebody’s life, maybe he can help cheer them up a little bit,” Jones said.

Jones is hoping he’ll be a hit with the kids.

“I’d like to take him to schools, around the kids, with fire prevention programs. Maybe he can teach them how to stop, drop and roll,” Jones said.

Jones says that despite Max having a long way to go that he has already seen an impact on the staff’s mood.

“You know being a fireman is really stressful we see a lot of bad things,” Jones said. “And I think he’ll help keep the stress down. Everybody likes him, it seemed to lighten the mood, a lot, at the station.”

From the back of the station to the Fire Chief’s office in the front, it seems Max has the station under his paw.