How Anna Joined the Fire Department

August 23, 2012  

It turned out she wasn’t brown, but snow white

By Kelly Citrin Blankfeld, first posted on Feb. 23, 2011

It’s with a heavy heart that we have to announce that Anna passed away last week. We wanted to rerun her story as a tribute to an incredible pit bull ambassador. Kelly said this of her beloved Anna, “She was a tremendous breed ambassador and gentle, loving soul who led our pack and mentored our newest rescue, Gigi, into a well-adjusted, happy, loving girl.”
Kelly shared these lovely recent photos with us.

In May of 2000, after returning from hiking at a local park, my husband and Deputy Fire Chief, Dan, was surprised to find a pit bull tied to the bumper of his fire vehicle with a small piece of rope.

A note was left on his windshield. It read: Donated dog to the fire department.

She was a scared little thing, trembling and covered in dirt and mud. The 2-year-old was obviously neglected and hungry. Dan lifted her in his arms and placed her in his vehicle.

While Dan was still bathing her, she gave him a big lick, and at that moment he knew we had to keep her.

Dan’s a dog lover: he grew up in a house with large dogs, mostly German shepherds, golden retrievers and Great Pyrenees, so he brought her home.

He popped her in the bathtub and shampooed her repeatedly. As the layers of dirt came off of her, he was shocked to discover that she was not, in fact, black or brown, but snow white from tip to tail – with one black ear and one white and black spotted ear.

While Dan was still bathing her, she gave him a big lick, and at that moment he knew we had to keep her.

We took her over to our vet, who gave her a clean bill of health. And we named her Anna.

During the next couple of years, Anna became part of the family. She went everywhere with Dan. He would even take her on calls with him in the fire department vehicle … until the night she locked him out of his car and promptly activated the lights and sirens while watching him from inside the warm car and wagging vigorously.

Needless to say, he was a bit embarrassed.

That ended Anna’s career in the fire department, but it surely didn’t end our love for her.

Anna and Rosco

Two years later, Dan decided it was time for Anna to have a K-9 companion, so we took her to the local pet adoption day at PetSmart. Anna was drawn to a boxer-bull-mastiff mix sitting on the floor looking sad. He gave Dan a lick, and we knew he was the one.

The foster mom told us that he had been brought to the shelter just a couple of weeks earlier by someone who said he barked non-stop, needed too much attention and was not friendly to other dogs. None of that seemed to be true.
Dan asked if there was any other interest in him.

“No,” the foster mom said. “You can take him tomorrow if you want.”

Rosco came to our house the next day.

That was nine years ago, and today Rosco and Anna are best of friends and our loyal companions.

Anna, Rosco and Gigi!

Last spring, I started thinking about rescuing another pit bull.

After seeing a handsome brown and white pit bull featured on the local news one morning, I called the Montgomery County Humane Society and arranged to come meet some of the dogs.

After a strict interview with the adoption coordinator, I met several wonderful candidates. Naturally, I wanted to take them all home, but I knew we could only take one.

We narrowed the field to a handful, including Gigi, a beautiful 6-year-old brown pit bull who was lying down timidly in her cage. Gigi had begun her life in a shelter and been adopted as a puppy by a family who kept her for five years. Her parents divorced and dropped her back at the shelter because neither of them felt they could keep her. She had scars down both sides of her body. We call them her “racing stripes” and we learned they were caused by a lifelong, untreated thyroid condition.

Gigi had three strikes against her chance of being adopted: She was 6 years old, she had those scars and she was a pit bull.

She immediately grabbed our hearts.

We arranged a meet-and-greet so Anna and Rosco could decide if they wanted a third dog in the house. When we brought Gigi out, she and Anna began to roll in the brush side by side, expressing their pit-bulliness. Clearly, the decision had been made. Rosco and Anna had a new baby sister.

We brought Gigi to Basic Manners class, where she was the valedictorian. She was the fastest learner I’ve ever seen.

That was almost eight months ago and today we are so proud of our wonderful, affectionate, loving pack.

Photos courtesy of AlexsandraG

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14 Responses to “How Anna Joined the Fire Department”
  1. Donna says:

    What a wonderful, heartwarming story.

  2. Kelly says:

    We feel lucky that they found us!

  3. Sally says:

    They just need love like the rest of us. Fortunately for them there are people like you who know the rewards of giving a home to these wonderful animals.

  4. SharonThomasTrigona says:

    I am so sorry for your loss of Anna but I am so glad she had a family’s love…..I’m sure she returned the love tenfold. God bless and comfort you.

  5. GayleGriffin says:

    So sorry for your loss. She looks like my sweet Daisy. I hope they play together as they wait at the Rainbow Bridge.

  6. barbaraleeanderson07090 says:

    Run free, Anna……you deserve the peace and tranquility you worked so hard on Earth for.  How fortunate Dan is to have the memory of those flashing lights, blaring sirens, and a wagging pittie smiling at him through  the locked vehicle window!!  A brief moment of embarrassment, perhaps, but a memory that can’t be compared!!

  7. barbaraleeanderson07090 says:

    Run free, sweet Anna……you deserve it for all that you did here on Earth.  How lucky is Dan to have the memory of flashing lights, blaring sirens, and a wagging pittie smiling at him through the locked vehicle window!  A brief moment of embarrassment, perhaps, but a memory that cannot be compared.

  8. jennmartinelli says:

    What a lovely story! Thanks for re-sharing it. I’m sorry to hear of your loss, but luckily Anna had a wonderful loving life as part of a beautiful family.

  9. ReneeMKeller says:

    Im so sorry for your loss.  The story is a wonderful one!!  Thank you for rescuing so many dogs in need.  You are an angel to them!!!  

  10. lilpenny_21 says:

    What a BEAUTIFUL family picture (above) and heartwarming story!! Thank you for sharing – very sad to hear about Anna but I believe all dogs go to heaven…. RIP Anna girl. 

  11. avegas72 says:

    I’m sorry to hear about Anna’s passing. She looks like a beauty!Love your story…made my heart melt.

  12. avegas72 says:

    Im sorry to hear about Anna’s passing. She was a beauty!Your story made my heart melt.