TREASURE ISLAND, Fla. — The Treasure Island Fire Department adopted an 8-month-old beagle from the Humane Society of Tampa Bay this week.
The beagle named “Captain” has become the newest member at Station 24.
“When we first got him, he wasn’t sure how to act like a dog. Now two days later, seeing him playing with treats and toys, yeah, it’s pretty fun. It’s pretty special,” said Lt. Steven Rowland, a paramedic and firefighter at Treasure Island Fire Rescue.
Lt. Steven Rowland picked up the beagle at the animal shelter earlier this week.
“Walked up to him. His name was on the kennel. He was excited. His tail was wagging. He was just wanting to come out. I asked if we could take him out of the kennel. They said, yes, just be aware he’s never been on a leash before. They weren’t sure how he was going to respond, but he was awesome. He just really has been pure joy,” said Lt. Rowland.
The young puppy was rescued from a facility in Virginia that was breeding and selling the beagles for scientific research. Court records indicate the company was violating the Animal Welfare Act. The Humane Society of the United States rescued around 4,000 beagles from the facility.
“This dog had not been associated with humans much and not in a kind way anyways. We’ve had him for three days. He’s currently running all around the station,” said Chief Trip Barrs with Treasure Island Fire Rescue.
A handful of the dogs ended up at the Humane Society of Tampa Bay and the Humane Society of Sarasota.
“Captain” will serve as a therapy dog for first responders. He will also join the department at public education events and become the fire department’s official mascot.
Chief Barrs said the dog will join the department at community events.
“We do beach safety a lot. We do car seat safety, We teach CPR and just general safety hurricane preparedness,” said Chief Barrs.
“Captain” is learning his way around the fire station. He is adjusting to a life with love, treats and toys.
“We’re here 24-7. He’s going to have one of our three shifts here at all times. I don’t know which one is going to be his favorite,” said Chief Barrs.
“He’s definitely going to get plenty of love.”