PORTLAND, Texas — Last Sunday’s shift started out as most do for the Portland Fire Department. The crew starts off their day by checking trucks and gear.
But at around 10 a.m. on that date, a call came in to assist Portland Animal Control and the Portland Police Department for three puppies stuck in a ditch.
“They just gave us a heads up that they were actually in a culvert under a driveway," Capt. Chris Kahl said. "The puppies were maybe a week old, they weren’t able to get themselves out, they didn’t have their eyes open."
It was a simple call, but doing their job means helping out no matter how big or small the stakes.
“The big jokes are saving cats out of trees and stuff, but we do it all," Kahl said. "We’ve had ducks in a storm drain, we’ve had these puppies in a culvert, and you get it all. Cats in trees, it does happen, believe it or not. We do it all."
Helping is the job of a firefighter, whether it’s in a fire, a car accident or animals stuck in need of rescue. Lending a helping hand is one of the biggest reasons Alex Alaniz wanted to become a firefighter.
“All the people you get to help, just like this," Alaniz said. "It was a couple of puppies, and we were able to get them out of a possible dangerous situation."
Alaniz was the man tasked with digging a hole big enough to rescue the pups. He has been with PFD for just less than four years, and was inspired to be a firefighter by his father.
“My dad’s a firefighter, and growing up that’s what I’ve always wanted to do," he said. "I already knew from a young age that’s what I was going to do."
The hole Alaniz dug was enough for animal control to get the puppies out safely. Kahl said despite a simple call, the crew was still able to learn from the experience, using their thermal imaging camera to make sure the three puppies were the only ones in the ditch.
“We use the technology that we have at our disposal to help out in this situation," Kahl said. "Typically, it’s used in a house fire, something like that, where we can look through smoke, and look through walls, and detect heat, it shows any type of a heat signature."
Kahl said it was a group effort between PFD, PPD, and Animal Control to rescue the dogs safely. Alaniz was glad he was able to lend a helping hand.
“It feels good, it makes me happy to see the public happy, make sure they feel safe with us around, and that’s just the good feeling,” he said.
The puppies are currently being cared for in Corpus Christi, and are not currently available for adoption. No official word has been shared if/when they would be available.