Every day, thousands of firefighters and police in the four corners of the world put their safety at risk for the good of the community in which they live. However, firefighters in the Chilean city of Iquique decided to show their love to a four-legged member of their department, who passed away this week.
For over a decade, this sweet dog named Negro has lived alongside first responders from the Iquique Fire Department. In his role as station dog, he kept watch while firefighters were dispatched to take calls and was always there to greet them with affection and tail wagging as they returned.
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The dog’s happy presence no doubt helped relieve the stress of those around him as they went about their often dangerous work, and made the long periods of silence more pleasant.
But unfortunately, just as everything good in life is gone, Negro’s joyful years of service are over. On Tuesday, it was announced that the faithful dog, after a period of deteriorating health, had died at 14 years old.
“This afternoon, our four-legged firefighter left Earth,” the fire department wrote in an online post. “Thank you so much for all the years you’ve been with us. We will remember you forever.”
But Negro’s colleagues continued to honor him with more than just words. The department’s board decided to go a step further, conferring on the dog the title of “honorary firefighter” and granting him the final respects that go with it.
In a ceremony for the beloved dog, the fire department held an honor guard funeral to bid heartily farewell.
“Negro was one of us, one of this family. He was respected, loved,” said fire captain Jorge Tapia. “We said goodbye in a very emotional ceremony as we are saying goodbye to one of our people who was an important part of this organization.”
And as the dog’s coffin was carried, flanked by his colleagues, its importance to them became apparent.
Negro’s body was buried that night in a land not far from where he so obediently served. A tree was also planted nearby, in his loving memory.
While this fire department dog has clearly touched the hearts of everyone who has known him personally throughout their many years together, Negro’s legacy goes much further, through the gesture of respect and love shown to him this week.
“In memory of our Negro. Faithful pet, friend and protector.”