Stray dog, left for dead in bitter cold, now warming firefighters' hearts


A stray dog, left for dead in bitter-cold December temperatures, is now training with a Stark County fire department.

Halligan, a 2-year-old lab and pit bull mix, is in training with North Lawrence firefighters to become a station therapy dog.

Firefighter Elliot Lee said a Stark County engineer rescued the dog from sub-freezing temperatures back on December 11. Halligan, named after an all-purpose tool firefighters use to force entry into a structure, had frostbite covering much of his body and almost died.

The department, which has a mix of paid and volunteer personal, took him in to get him back to health and eventually just decided to keep him.

“Through the time of us getting him healthy, which was about a month, all the shifts warmed up to him,” Lee said. “He’s boosted our moral probably 10 fold."

Heidi Knight was there the night he was brought in and immediately fell in love.

“He was covered in mud, really skinny,” she said. “He’s very well-behaved. He’s very good with children. We really couldn’t pass him up.”

Halligan lives at the station and is cared for by first responders who staff the firehouse 24/7.

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