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In East Haven, an underdog becomes the stationhouse dog

Rescue dog “Riggs” is adopted by his rescuers.

EAST HAVEN, Conn. — Alongside the giant red engine at Station House One in East Haven, there’s a bit of beige and black walking by. 

That would be Riggs.

Riggs has joined the ranks, and this beagle and boxer mix knows about the fighting back. 

On August 20, Riggs was rescued by East Haven firefighters at the town beach lot. Riggs was left inside a car where temperatures were approaching 120 degrees.

Essentially abandoned, East Haven Fire Chief Matthew Marcarelli made a case for Riggs to get adopted by the fire department and the firefighters welcomed him. 

“There’s a few departments around the state that are doing service dogs, therapy dogs, or support dogs and we thought it would be something good here," Marcarelli said. 

Riggs, who is estimated to be around six months old, was named via an online contest. The East Haven community all rang in and “Riggs” – a slang term for a firetruck – finished first. 

So far, Riggs has adjusted well to his new surroundings at the firehouse. 

“You know you see a gruff, hard-nosed firefighter or paramedic, as they encounter the pup, they melt so it’s pretty cool.," Marcarelli said.

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Firefighter John Depino, a five-year veteran of the East Haven Department said, “It totally changes your mentality. You could be having the worst day, you could be running calls left and right and the second you come back and he’s waiting for you at the top of the stairs, all of that goes away.”

Marcarelli added that Riggs the support dog is at the fire station to stay, “It changes the whole atmosphere of the fire station and we’ll be taking him out to the community quite a bit.”

Jimmy Altman is a reporter at FOX61 News. He can be reached at jaltman@fox61.com. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


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