Hi Mary and Crew
Boo - Lance Overholser
I guess the best way to tell this story is from the very beginning. I work as a firefighter/paramedic in Cicero Indiana. My battalion chief, Darren Collar, and I were talking one day about the life of a single guy and he made the comment "you need a dog to keep you company". We talked about how it would not be fair to the dog to be left alone that much due to my work schedule. I work 24 hours on and 24 hours off. Darren said he understood and the conversation was dropped. About 30 minutes later, he came back to me and made the statement "Go get a dog". I looked at him confused and reminded him of our previous conversation. Darren explained to me that he had spoken to our Fire Chief, Steve Peachey, and that chief said it would be ok to bring the dog to work with me and we could have it as our shift dog. Well, needless to say, I was very excited. Darren and I went to our kitchen table and started the search. After about 20 minutes, I came across a picture of the cutest dog I had ever seen. I told Darren, "Here is the one". I made a phone call to Pals for Paws and set up a time pick her up. Darren and I met in Kokomo and together; we went to pick up "Boo". Boo finally arrived and we hit it off right away. After getting all the paperwork done, Darren, Boo, and myself headed to Pets mart for some shopping.
Over the next few weeks, Boo and I became inseparable. Her past history was one of being kept in a cage a lot. I had a kennel set up at home and one at the station. I tried very hard not to put her in it, but there were times she had to. She figured out pretty quick how to get the cages open. We would come back from a fire call, and there she would be, sitting by the truck bay door, just waiting for us to get back. She was always glad to see us. Over time, she became accustomed to the bell ringing at the station. When it would go off, she would head to her kennel and lay down. It got to the point that the kennel door was never closed. Most of the time I worked on the medic truck alone. I would leave on a call, and she would sit at the door and not move until I got back. The guys would just shake their heads and laugh. After she got comfortable with things here at the station, she even started going on some calls with me. It sure was fun to look over and see my co-pilot, head out the window, and I swear she was smiling.
A concern we had at the station with her was summer time. Given her past history, we were afraid she would be running off with the bay doors up. She did a couple of times, but we worked with her and she did great. She would be out in the truck bay with us and walk to the edge of bay floor and just look outside. Only when we gave her the "lets go potty" command would she head outside. She loved to play in the grass, running and just goofing off. One thing that we found out early on was she liked to play hide and seek. We would be out around the fire trucks and jump up on one and hide. She would run around all the trucks looking for us. We spent hours playing. One day we were playing and the bell rang for a call. I took off in my medic truck and Boo thought we were still playing. The guys said she kept looking until I returned from the call. She looked at me with a look of confusion, and we all laughed till we had tears rolling down our face.
Boo was very good with people. We would have people come to the station just to see her. One of our firefighters had a child who was deathly afraid of dogs. He would never get down and play while he was here. Within a couple of visits, he was down petting her, and she would just lie there and allow him to touch her. She never was aggressive with him and was always loving towards him.
Boo was killed by a car as she was chasing a cat. She had jumped a fence one night and was running after the cat. I'm sure she was having a ball, being free and exploring. She did not see the car coming. I was on vacation when the accident happened. This is where firefighter brotherhood really showed its true colors. Darren, Chief Peachey, and the whole crew took care of Boo, just like one of their own. Chief Peachey made all the funeral arrangements. We had Boo cremated and her ashes rest here at the station. Chief Peachey had her placed in a beautiful urn, with a plaque that reads "Boo - Cicero Fire Department"
Although we only shared her life for 6 months, she left a lasting effect on all of us. In the days after her death, people from all over the community called, sent cards and stopped in to offer their thoughts and prayers. Life is about change. I know she changed me and who I am today. I am thankful for the time I had her, and I know I'll see her again. Just like the poem "The Rainbow Bridge" she is playing, running, and having fun.
A big thanks to Mary and all the people who are involved with Pals for Paws. It is a worthwhile cause and you guys do a great service to the animals you save.
Thank you for your efforts!
Cicero Fire Department