FDNY Lieutenant Finds Dog Lost for Five Months at Fire Academy
FDNY Lt. Dave Kelly, Ladder 22/Bureau of Training, used his innovative nature and kind heart to help rescue Burt – a lost Whippet puppy – at the Fire Academy just as the snowstorm hit on Jan. 26.
Over the last three weeks, Lt. Kelly said he has seen the dog only at night, rummaging through garbage cans at the Academy.
“[Whippet dogs] are skinny anyway, but this dog was really skinny,” Lt. Kelly said. “I’d try to feed him to try to capture him, but he would just run away.”
When he heard about the forecasted snowstorm, Lt. Kelly said he began to worry, “I figured it wasn’t a good outlook for the dog – I didn’t know what would happen to him.”
So he set up a cage with food near where he had been feeding the dog and attached a rope to it. He sat in a van about 40 feet from the cage, and when the dog began to eat, Lt. Kelly pulled the cage shut with the rope.
He said he searched Google for lost Whippet dogs in New York City, and came across a page talking about “Burt.” The dog was lost from the family’s apartment in Harlem on Aug. 20, 2014, when he was just 9-months-old, and had since been spotted in Morningside Park.
He said he was not sure if he had caught Burt, but notified the dog’s owner, Lauren Piccolo, and arranged to meet.
Once they realized this was Burt, Lt. Kelly said, “They were very excited to have their dog back … and the dog was even more excited.”
Although Lt. Kelly said he never made a rescue like this before, he said he was happy this worked out so well.
“I don’t like to see an animal or person suffering, so I was just glad to help,” he said.
Ms. Piccolo said she expects Burt to make a full recovery.
“I am tremendously grateful for the efforts of the FDNY to recover Burt,” she said. “While Burt is a resilient dog, I don’t think he would have survived such a fierce storm. The FDNY’s efforts were incredible and timely!”