From DAKOTA’S DEN: Today is National Fire Pup Day! In honor of this special day Mom and I want to introduce you to an incredible woman, Dayna Hilton, who is the Executive Director for the Keep Kids Fire Safe® Foundation. Her mission is “Helping keep children and their caregivers fire safe.”
Mom first met Dayna at the BlogPaws conference in 2011. Mom was completely in awe of all that Dayna does in her quest to educate children and their caregivers about fire safety. Mom and I are honored to feature Dayna as our guest blogger on this most special day! We are proud to present to you…Dayna!
Little did I know that in 2003, my life was about to change. Daisy, as she was called by the folks at the Dalmatian Assistance League of Tulsa, had been rescued from a home with 62 other dogs. The look on her sweet face on the DAL website was too much. I knew that I wanted to adopt her to give her a loving forever home.
After a little help from friends and fellow firefighters, I decided to name her Sparkles. She certainly lived up to her name! With a constant “smile” and wagging tail, the name fit perfectly!
Sparkles the Fire Safety Dog
Sparkles was my best friend. We spent so many hours sharing fire safety together that I couldn’t even count the number of programs. We had a connection that was like no other. Not only did we share fire safety together, we really cared about each other and were constantly together.
Firefighter Dayna Hilton and Sparkles the fire Safety Dog. 2006
Sparkles crossed the Rainbow Bridge almost two years ago on October 10th and I thought my days sharing fire safety with a canine companion were over. Little did imagine that things were just beginning….
With educationally sound programming based on the latest research, the Fire Safety Dogs have been helping reduce fire related deaths and injuries for almost ten years. With nine “saves” (helping save the lives of 7 children and 2 adults in actual fire related situations), the dogs continue to work hard helping save the lives of children and their caregivers.
Tango the Fire Safety Dog, Siren the Fire Safety Dog, Molly the Fire Safety Dog and Deuce (a rescue), are not only members of our local fire department, but mascots for the Keep Kids Fire Safe Foundation, a foundation founded in memory of Sparkles. The dogs love helping keep people safe.
Tango the Fire Safety Dog, Deuce and Siren the Fire Safety Dog
The newest “recruit” to the fire safety team, is 12 week old, Molly. Molly is learning all the ropes and loves helping her big brothers keep everyone safe! She is such a joy. It was truly fate how I found her. She was the last in the litter after being picked over by all her litter mates. At that time, Hurricane Isaac was passing over New Orleans, and I had to wait until the storm passed before I could fly down to get her. It was love at first site and I couldn’t wait to get her back to Arkansas.
Molly the Fire Safety Dog-12 weeks old
The dogs love to Skype with school children and other organizations (reading their nationally recognized award-winning children’s fire safety books, sharing fire safety tips, singing songs, etc…) FREE with schools for all over the world from their very own clubhouse, Sparkles’ Clubhouse.
Sparkles’ Clubhouse is named after Sparkles, and we are very grateful to our friends at First Alert for believing in us and partnering with us to help keep children safe with this amazing building.
Not only do we Skype with schools in the clubhouse, we also share fire safety on our weekly program, Sparkles’ Safety Spot, streamed live on the web every Friday morning. Children and their caregivers can join the chat and have fun learning at the same time. This last week we streamed our 56th episode! As far as we know, it is the only fire safety related show streamed weekly on the web. We love the opportunity to come into people’s homes and classrooms each week and hope that our efforts are helping keep people safe.
The dogs and I are getting ready to go on our Chicago Fire Safety Tour next week and will visit Sears Headquarters and Skype with school children from all across the county at Chicago Fire Department’s Survive Alive House. I am trying to set up a meet and great for the dogs while we in the Chicago area. Stay tuned to the fire Safety Dogs’ Facebook page to learn more and you can meet them live and in dog!
We recently started another new webpage, www.firesafetydogs.com in addition to Sparkles’ website. In addition to their personal Facebook pages, we also started a new Facebook page for all of the dogs. They are always adding new photos, videos, free downloadable materials and more on their pages. They would LOVE to have you as a friend!
We would like to remind everyone to have working smoke alarms on every level of your home. Be sure to test the batteries once a month and change the batteries twice a year. In addition, make an escape plan and practice your plan. Homes can become engulfed in flames in as little as three minutes, so by having a plan and knowing what to do, you can help keep you, your family and your furkids safe!
To learn more about Sparkles the Fire Safety Dog and Sparkles’ Memorial Pathway at the National Emergency Training Center on the National Fallen Firefighter Foundation’s Walk of Honor, please visit http://www.sparklesthefiresafetydog.com/sparklesmemorialpathway.html.
Sparkles’ Memorial Pathway
On the National Fallen Firefighter Foundation’s Walk of Honor
National Emergency Training Center
Please help support the work of the Fire Safety Dogs. We are in the process of sending free fire safety books to schools that we Skype with and need help with postage. To donate, please visit http://www.keepkidsfiresafe.org/supporters_information.html. Help save the life of a child.