Life with the Fire Department

Old Joe & the Department
With an understanding sometimes vouchsafed to man's best friend, Old Joe climbed into the Fireman's car and was taken down to the firehouse, where he was introduced to the crew. That's the way Old Joe, the circus dog, became the Valparaiso Fire Department's mascot - a position he held for three years. For quite some time, Old Joe was able to climb up to the driver's seat and ride to the fires. He learned the alarm above all other noises and was the first to respond. In time, he couldn't make it, so he would go to the Fireman's cot by the alarm and occupy it until the equipment returned.

One day in the summer of 1936, H.H. Wood's Fanney-May was expecting a blessed event, and Miller, being on the sick list, asked the Firemen to give the dog a blanket and a box and look after her during the days of expectancy. Old Joe wasn't exactly pleased with the arrival of another dog, but he was a gentleman, so Fanny-May came to share the attention of the Firemen. She presented the world with eight fuzzy brown pups - all pure mongrel, but as lovable as all tiny animals. When weaning time came, she and seven of the pups went back to the mill. A solid brown pup was accepted as a gift by the Firemen, and he was named Little Joe.

Little Joe
Old Joe and Little Joe got along well enough. Any unduly venturesome street dog who attempted to worry the little brown pup was driven off by Old Joe. Little Joe learned the routine of the Fire Department as he grew up. Old Joe eventually became sickly and in pain from his Rheumatism over the years with the FD, and was given a gentle exit by a Veterinarian. He became well known as our mascot, and The Vidette-Messenger even published his picture and gave him a nice obituary in the newspaper. His heavy, brass-studded harness went on a hangar, as a memorial, like the displayed badge of a Fireman or Policeman killed in the line of duty. After the passing of his mentor, Little Joe became the next Department mascot.