On Jan. 27, 2014, an Alexandria, Va., townhome was destroyed by a fire. The residents of the home not only lost all their material possessions that day, but one of their five dogs, a Bernese mountain dog, perished in the fire. Firefighter Lieutenant Rick Trudeau helped rescue the homeowners and the surviving pets, and as an animal lover and Bernese mountain dog owner himself, he felt he needed to do more for this family.
The surviving dogs, a Corgi and three Bernese mountain dogs, were injured in the fire. They were rushed to a vet clinic all in critical condition.
The day after the fire, Trudeau stopped by the burnt home and found the pet owner rummaging through the ashes looking for his wallet.
“I asked if there’s anything I can do and he said, ‘you know when I get out…when the dogs get out of the vet, there’s no place for them to stay and the vet bills are climbing,'” said Trudeau in an interview for ABC 7. “Soon as he said that, it struck me that I can probably help with this.”
The experienced firefighter started a fundly.com donation page, and immediately the donations started pouring in from the community.
“It’s unbelievable,” he said. “The outpouring of assistance has been overwhelming.”
Trudeau is not the only one surprised by the community’s response. Dr. Colleen Mullally of the Regional Veterinary Referral Center where the dogs are being cared for is also taken back by the support.
According to Mullally, the around the clock medical care the dogs require to recover from their extensive injuries has an astronomical cost of up to $20,000. As of today more than $25,000 have been collected, and the donations continue to come in.
Even though the pet owners lost everything in the fire, including one of their beloved dogs, the community’s support gives them hope that better things are yet to come.
Firefighter Trudeau is a great example to follow. Not only does he risk his life rescuing humans and pets from fires, but he goes above and beyond to make sure that those that need help the most – in this case our four-legged friends – get it.
Thank you Lieutenant Rick Trudeau!