The American Dog Magazine Winter 2010 : Page 33

SpARkLES THE FIRE SAFETY DOg: SpOkESDOg! PhotoS BY DaYna hilton RepoRted by dayna Hilton (SpaRkle’S mom) successful our program has been (Sparkles has helped save the lives of two families from fire), we want to work even harder. We are truly passionate about helping keep children and their caregivers fire-safe. S Sparkles was rescued from a home with 62 other dogs. After adopting her in 2003 (with the sole intention of her becoming a member of our family at that time), I soon realized that Sparkles was a fast learner and enjoyed going to the fire station and being around the firefighters. One evening, just for fun, I thought I would see if Sparkles could crawl low (one of the key fire safety behaviors that we share is the importance of crawling low, getting out, and going to your meeting place). With a video camera in one hand and a treat in the other, I asked Sparkles to crawl for me and she did so on the very first attempt! I was very excited and before I knew it, I had a partner helping me share the fire safety message. I am very thankful that I have that video and it amazes me to think how many miles she has crawled since that very special day! parkles-the Fire Safety Dog and I have made it our mission to help save lives, reduce injuries, and decrease property losses from fire. When we hear stories of how When Sparkles was younger, she would jump into her bed, where she would be covered with her with blanket. She would pretend to be asleep, then when she heard the sound of a smoke alarm, she would jump out of bed, crawl low, and go to her meeting place. It was a very effective way of reinforcing fire safety behaviors that the firefighters taught. Now that Sparkles is older and does not travel as much, we are doing Skype visits with schools in the United States and abroad. With schools experiencing budget cuts, this is the perfect opportunity to share the fire safety message and reach more children from all over the world. Sparkles has truly found her calling and I am so grateful that she is in my life. For more information or to contact: Website: Email: Facebook: “Sparkles the Fire Safety Dog” The American Dog Magazine | Winter 2010 33

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