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Dog finds his station

February 26, 2002|By KIMBERLY YAKOWSKI

Sharpsburg Volunteer Fire Department's newest member will never fight fires or flip burgers for fund-raisers, but he's the station house favorite just the same.

In December, the fire department adopted a 4-month-old dog that members describe as 99 percent German shepherd. A woman who had been given the dog but was unable to care for it brought it to the fire station, department Secretary Erin Knight said.

Knight said the department's members voted and the majority wanted to keep the dog they've named Spanner.

"He loves to play. He's all puppy," she said.

The friendly, affectionate Spanner quickly won over even those who initially hadn't wanted to keep him, Knight said.

"Now they're the ones who give him the most attention," she said.

Spanner is teething and likes to bark. Right now he isn't fond of the shrill siren, so it's too soon to tell if he'll go on fire calls, Knight said.

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"He sleeps a lot and has a good temperament," she said.

Spanner, who was named for the wrench used to connect fire hoses, is content to be patted and treated like a fire station mascot, said Knight.

Spanner has learned to heel and roll over and is going through a form of "driver training" to see if he will adjust to riding in the fire engine, firefighter Matthew Ryan said.

"He's a wonderful dog, very cute," said Ryan.

Members of the fire department donate money to the Spanner Fund, which pays for the dog's food and any medical bills, said Ryan, who often brings his 8-year-old mixed breed dog Oscar to the station to socialize with Spanner.

Spanner has the run of the fire house most of the time, but is kept in a large cage when firefighters are out on calls.

A dog run was placed at the rear of the fire station property and Spanner loves to stretch his legs by running the length of it, he said.

Spanner is the station's first live-in mascot, said Ryan.

"He's lovable but has very sharp teeth," he said.

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