The incidents I’ve written about in the last year all had happy endings, and I really am glad for that, but I also had and still have mixed feelings about what could have happened. The reality is that the owner’s carelessness or irresponsibility that led to the dog being in the lake in the first place could have resulted in injury to or death of the dog, the owner, or a rescuer.
I just finished catching up with the video and stories about the dog saved from the flooded Los Angeles River by the Los Angeles Fire Department. This rescue did result in a dog bite injury to a firefighter, and I’m guessing the rescue in general was quite costly as a helicopter was involved, as well as about 50 firefighters and ambulance transport for the dog. The injured firefighter, who was the one lowered from the helicopter to retrieve the dog, downplayed the extent of his injury and his heroics. (By the way, this is why we love firefighters, real ones, that is. The real ones never refer to themselves as heroes, just that they are doing their job and they are glad they could help someone.)
The Los Angeles Times posed the question to its readers on one of its blogs: Should L.A. firefighters have risked their lives to save a dog? One recurring theme was the same thing that continues to worry me about these situations: what if the rescue of an animal results in injury or death to a rescuer? Some picked the cost as the main issue; it certainly was not insignificant in this case. I’m pretty sure the rescuers themselves have just as wide a range of opinions as the commenters to the article.
One comment hit me, though: the commenter said that the Los Angeles Fire Department is working without a contract. I do not know if that is true. I do know that the Chicago Fire Department, and for that matter, the Chicago Police Department, is working without a contract. As a CFD spouse, I know I am extremely biased. But after watching the video of the dog rescue, and the countless other videos out there of humans being rescued by the brave men and women of our fire departments and police departments, how can anyone think it’s right for these folks to work without a contract?
(NaBloPoMo | January ’10: 22 of 31)