In the Chilean city of Iquique, firefighters laid one of their own to rest this week. And they gave him the full treatment he deserved as a treasured member of their company for more than a decade. Yet he never fought a single fire in his life.
Negro, a sweet, black dog, made his home with first responders from the Iquique Fire Department. Although he didn't ride in the firetruck with them to extinguish blazes, he nevertheless had a very important job to do.
Fighting fires is a dangerous, extremely stressful job. When the unit jumped into action and went to a fire, Negro watched over the station. When they returned, he was there to greet them. His steadfast love was a balm for their often aching souls, and his presence made everyone feel easier. But now, Negro's service has come to an end.
Last Tuesday, the station announced that the loyal dog had gone on to greener pastures. At age 14, his health had been declining for awhile. "This afternoon, one from our ranks left the earth — our four-legged firefighter,” the fire department wrote online. “Thank you very much for all the years you’ve been with us. We’ll remember you forever.”
With input from the firefighters themselves, the department's board of directors decided to recognize Negro's years of service by bestowing upon him the rank of "honorary firefighter." That distinction comes with some special respects, all of which were given to the faithful dog
The department held a full-honors funeral ceremony, including an honor guard around his casket.
"Negro was one of us, one of this family. He was respected, loved," Fire Captain Jorge Tapia told Soyiquique.cl. "We said goodbye in a very emotional ceremony because we were saying goodbye to one of our own, who was an important part of this company."
Everyone turned out to honor their fallen comrade as they carried his casket to its final resting place. His body was laid to rest in a nearby plot and a tree was planted in his memory. A fitting sendoff for one of their own. Will they have another dog at the station some time in the future? That remains to be seen. One thing is for sure, though. There will never be another one like Negro.
Share this touching story with your friends. Have you ever lost a four-legged buddy of your own? How did you deal with the loss? Let us know in the comments!