Pup rescued from a fire gets abandoned by owners—then, a firefighter changes his life forever

A 3-week-old puppy was stuck inside a burning shed. When the pup was finally rescued by a firefighter, he had suffered from burns on over 70 percent of his body. His owners later abandoned him because of the treatment costs. But as fate would have it, he gets rescued again.

In April 2015, Bill Lindler, a firefighter with the Hanahan Fire Department, had just returned home from work when he saw his neighbor’s garage had caught fire.

“I saw Mama dog and several puppies running out,” Lindler told The Dodo. “I saw one puppy trying to make his way out, when a piece of the ceiling fell on top of him. He started yelping, but he wiggled himself free and backed into a corner and cowered down.”

Lindler entered the burning shed after the fire department had arrived and found a puppy named Jake hiding beneath a couch.

“I brought him outside, and he was pretty bad. He wasn’t moving. He wasn’t breathing. I did mouth-to-snout on him, until we could administer oxygen,” Lindler recalled.

Jake was later sent to an emergency vet clinic to treat the burns on over 70 percent of his body.

When Lindler went to visit Jake a few weeks later, he learned that Jake’s owners had abandoned him because they were unable to pay for his care. Hearing this, he decided to adopt Jake and helped Jake with his recovery.

“All in all, it was about four months of recovery,” Lindler told ABC News. “Of course, even when he came home, we still had to continue putting special antibiotics and ointments, and his scars will always remain. We actually have to put sunscreen on him when we take him to the beach.”

After Jake had fully recovered, Lindler took him to the fire department, and everyone was thrilled to see the pit bull puppy. “He’s just the cutest little thing there is. Everybody fell in love with him,” Lindler said.

The chief of Halahan Fire Department later decided to swear in Jake that year as an honorary firefighter and also as the official mascot for the fire department.

That’s when Lindler started planning for Jake’s career.

“He loves sniffing and snooping around when I play with him and hide his toys,” he said. “So I figured, hey, he might be a good fit for being a detection dog.”

The firefighters also brought Jake along to fire-prevention presentations at local schools. “He was burned and survived. I think it gets them to understand the importance of fire safety better,” Lindler explained to InsideEdition.com.

As for Jake’s scarring, Lindler said to PEOPLE, “He has a badge now, but I always considered his scars to be his firefighter badge. Jake survived conditions that most humans would have perished in.”

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