A 6-month-old beagle mix named Riggs, once saved from a scorching hot car by East Haven, Conn., firefighters, is now their devoted savior. Chief Matthew Marcarelli shares how Riggs has brought a new kind of rescue to their lives.
“We’re all paramedics here and we see a lot of tragedy,” Chief Marcarelli says. “He provides a level of comfort.”
Riggs’ journey to hero status began on a blistering August day when he was found locked inside a sweltering car at the town beach. The temperature inside the vehicle had skyrocketed to 122 degrees while the outside thermometer read 85 degrees.
Firefighters sprang into action, rescuing Riggs from the life-threatening situation. “If he was in there any longer,” Chief Marcarelli warns, “there was a very good chance that he would’ve succumbed.”
The incident serves as a vital reminder to never leave pets unattended in a vehicle. According to the American Veterinary Medical Foundation, a car’s interior temperature can surge nearly 20 degrees in just 10 minutes, putting animals at severe risk.
The beagle mix’s owner chose to surrender Riggs, sparing themselves a summons and court appearance. But it was Riggs’ fate that truly changed for the better.
Welcomed into East Haven’s main firehouse, Riggs has found his forever home among firefighters. He’s become their faithful companion, boosting morale after challenging calls. “You’ll see the guys come back from a tough call, and they’re greeted by a wagging tail and a few licks on the face and they perk right up,” Marcarelli says. “It’s pretty cool to see.”
East Haven residents rallied around the charming pup, showering him with toys, treats, and offers to cover his expenses. The town even helped name him.
Now, Riggs is gearing up for a new role. He’ll accompany the firefighters on fire prevention visits to schools and community events, sharing his friendly and non-barky demeanor with all. Chief Marcarelli sums up Riggs’ effect, saying, “He’s a very loving dog, very affectionate, and he’s just a pleasure to be around.”
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