Tuesday, May 07, 2002

Fire unit gains mascot

A dog named Monroe; Gift from mayor

By Michael D. Clark, mclark@enquirer.com
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        MONROE — The newest member of this Butler County city's main fire station got his job only because of blatant favoritism and the political leverage that comes with licking the face of the mayor.

        And though the 3-month-old Dalmatian now playfully bounding about Monroe's new Main Street fire station is eager to learn, he can barely get his paws on the running board of the fire truck and is more interested in chewing on the fire hose than handling it.

        Nevertheless, his fire station colleagues gladly accept “Monroe” the pup if only because he is so darn cute.

        Monroe Fire Department Station One is Monroe's new home and the Dalmatian is a personal gift of gratitude from Mayor Mike Morris.

        In 1999, Mr. Morris' home caught fire. The blaze caused $80,000 in damage but no one was hurt. The mayor marveled at the quick response and professionalism of the Monroe firefighters, and when Station One opened recently, he wanted to show his appreciation by purchasing a Dalmatian — about $300 — and driving to Cleveland to fetch him.

        “I can still see that day with my daughter out on our lawn crying,” said Mr. Morris as he visited Monroe on Monday. “If it weren't for these guys we could have lost the whole house.”

        Monroe, whose full name as given to him by Mr. Morris is “Siobahn Monroe Blue Gold Boy,” has quickly taken to his firehouse duties and excitedly tries to climb aboard the fire engine when the alarm sounds. The fire crew brings the pup along but he stays in the vehicle until the fire is extinguished.

        David Hayes, a veteran Monroe firefighter, said Monroe the dog is a quick learner who has shown no inclination to wander from the fire house.

        “He sleeps until he is hungry and eats until he is sleepy,” joked Mr. Hayes. The pup usually bunks with one of the firefighters who work and sleep at the station in shifts.

        Monroe has also become the station's unofficial ambassador. “It used to be that the kids came to see the firetrucks, but now they come to see our dog,” Mr. Hayes said.


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