A Home for Gibbs 4/30/15

Mention a mascot dog for a fire department, and you’ll instantly conjure up an image of a Dalmation.  Black.  White.  Spots.

Not so here in Flagler Beach!

The firefighters at the Flagler Beach Fire Department have happily broken with tradition and opened their hearts – and the run of the fire station – to Gibbs, a happy-go-lucky hound mix who’s mostly white, with a few beautiful brown freckles sprinkled on his ears and shoulders.

Meet Gibbs!

Meet Gibbs!

I remember photographing Gibbs the very first day I volunteered at the Flagler Humane Society.  He was standing behind the wire doors of his cage with his kennel-mate (another hound mix), and I took the photo because they looked so poignant standing there together with those big eyes looking up at me. When I got home and enlarged the photo on my computer screen, I knew I’d never use the shot.  It was just too sad.

Gibbs was picked up as a stray over a year ago, and his sweet temperament got him adopted out twice during that year.  But back to the shelter he came each time – with claims he had not fit in with the owners’ other animals.

Gibbs was taken to almost every event the Humane Society held – over 60 hours of events in all, says Howard Tessler, volunteer outreach coordinator for the Society.  At an estimated seven years old, he’d lost his puppy cuteness, but he was such a mellow dog the Humane Society refused to give up on him.  While at a PetSmart adoption event, Cherry Murr met Gibbs, and although she could not adopt him herself, she was so impressed with his sweet face and manner she offered to pay the fees for whomever stepped up to adopt him.

The Humane Society brings dogs each week to the local Farmers Market at Flagler Beach, and Gibbs was there many times over the last months.  Just a few weeks ago, Alan Forehand, a firefighter for Flagler County who saw Gibbs once again at the Farmers Market, mentioned him to Fire Chief Bobby Pace.  The Fire Department had wanted a mascot for a long time, and after Chief Pace and Flagler Beach Mayor Linda Provencher checked on liability and care issues, approval was granted for the adoption.

Gibbs’ happy arrival at his forever home was reported in The Flagler-Palm Coast News-Tribune recently, but I wanted to check out “the rest of the story”.  I called the Fire Department, and they said, “Come on down!”

Gibbs has the full run of the fire station and loves to hang out  . . .

Gibbs has the full run of the fire station and loves to hang out . . .

. . . in the firefighter's den . . .

. . . in the firefighter’s den . . .

. . . as well as in Chief Pace's office.  He has doggie beds throughout the fire station, which he basically ignores, choosing instead the area rugs or the cool tile.

. . . as well as in Chief Pace’s office. He has doggie beds throughout the fire station, which he basically ignores, choosing instead the area rugs or the cool tile.

The station answers over 1,200 runs a year and is staffed 24/7.  Gibbs never spends time alone at the station, and every loves taking him out for walks and runs.

The station answers over 1,200 runs a year and is staffed 24/7. Gibbs never spends time alone at the station (the mayor volunteered to come get him if the entire crew has to go out at once), and everyone loves taking him out for walks and runs.

Here with volunteer Seth Carey and firefighter Andy Thomas, Gibbs has come a long way from the sad-eyed dog I photographed a few months ago.

Here with volunteer Seth Carey and firefighter Andy Thomas, Gibbs has come a long way from the sad-eyed dog I photographed a few months ago.  Thomas said that everyone on the block knows him now from his daily walks, and a local restaurant cooks up a little extra bacon for him each morning.  He also noted they’ve had food and dog toys donated for Gibbs since his arrival at his new home.

That's one happy hound!

That’s one happy hound!

Although Gibbs’ adoption was rather unconventional, it just goes to show there’s more than one way to bring happiness into the life of an abandoned dog or cat.

For Gibbs . . . the best is yet to come!

29 thoughts on “A Home for Gibbs 4/30/15

  1. Thank-you SOOOOOO much for sharing this story! It brought happy tears to my eyes! I really needed my spirits lifted after hearing some sad news today. I just smiled from ear-to-ear while reading this story. I think my smile got bigger and bigger the more I read and with each picture I saw! I am soooooo happy for Gibbs! Looks like he’s bringing a lot of joy and happiness to a lot of people…and I’m sure he’s one happy fellow too! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a great story and one with a happy ending. Thanks for sharing. How does the fire department fund the food and care for their new family member? I’m sure they would be happy to accept donations right?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Absolutely, they will accept donations, Karen. I didn’t ask about funding, but I’m pretty sure they have enough workers at the station that splitting the costs between them wouldn’t make it a burden on anyone. But again, I didn’t ask.

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      Like

  3. Thanks for sharing this wonderful story! It brought tears to my eyes knowing how happy and cared for this pup is 🙂 Wish all dogs could have such a happy story!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you again for the article! It was a pleasure having you come to station 11 and visiting Gibbs! If possible could you email all the pictures you took to me?

    Thanks!
    Flagler Beach Fire Rescue Volunteer Seth Carey

    Like

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