Sign In

Service Dog Helps Firefighters

October 9, 2020

Firefighters battling the Archie Creek and Thielsen fires have had some long, exhausting days.

But for some, their troubles seemed to melt away once they got back to camp.


Meet Ralph Colombo. He hauls oversize loads.

And joining Ralph is his service dog, Cowboy – the morale boosting, firefighting puppy.

“He just keeps my life together, helps keep it together, and why not share? And the firefighters, you should see the smiles,” says Colombo.

Cowboy is a three and a half month old Labrador retriever.

As Colombo’s service dog, they go everywhere together.

So when Colombo started working on the fires in Douglas County, naturally Cowboy came with him.

And the firefighters are happier for it.

“One of the leaders says he hasn’t seen this high of morale on any fire, and he’s been doing it 40 years,” Colombo says.

Besides the cuteness, one thing you’ll notice about Cowboy is his bandanna made of Nomex.

“[I] made him a bandanna so that he can wear his Nomex up on the fire line,” Colombo explains, “because everyone’s got to wear Nomex. And a fella from South Carolina, he said you ought to have everyone put their state initials on there. So we’re up to about 16 in three days.”

He has signatures from Alaska to Kentucky, Florida and beyond.

Cowboy has become a bit of an internet sensation.

He has over 48,000 views on Facebook.

And sometimes his fame precedes him.

“All the firefighters know Cowboy,” says Colombo. “They have no idea what my name is. I’m the guy with Cowboy; that’s all there is to it.

Unfortunately, Cowboy and Colombo are heading back home soon, so the firefighters are sad to see them go.

But they’ll never forget the puppy who kept their spirits high when times were tough.

Register Your Dog

  • Most Recent News

    Former Victoria man’s diabetic alert dog helps him get back to life

    When Luke Hengen’s diabetes worsened in his early twenties, it stripped him of the outdoor activities where the country kid felt at home. Countless wilderness adventures and years of hard-fought football games took a toll on his body, to the point where he could no longer sense when his blood sugar was too high or […]

    Read more

    Students Get Therapy Dog

    When middle school students return to class on Jan. 11, they’ll find a new face at the door: Daisy. Daisy is a therapy dog and the personal pet of Rob Kreger, principal of the Rock L. Butler Middle School. The five-year-old golden retriever is not a school pet or mascot, but rather a working dog […]

    Read more

    Therapy Dogtor

    Last March, Caroline Benzel, a third-year medical student, began to notice the stress and discomfort her nurse friends were feeling from the pressures of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. “[Personal protective equipment] can be really rough on the skin,” Benzel, 31, tells PEOPLE. Benzel and her 3-year-old Rottweiler, Loki (who’s also a therapy dog) hatched a […]

    Read more

    Therapy Dog Pups

    When Stanley the miniature fox terrier’s owner passed away, the little dog started a ‘paw-some’ new role – bringing puppy love to some of the Gold Coast’s oldest residents. After Carinity Cedarbrook Diversional Therapist Julianne Staff adopted Stanley, he began visiting the aged care community at Mudgeeraba as a therapy dog. Therapy dogs help to […]

    Read more

    Puppy Cams

    A nonprofit is providing an unusual form of therapy for those on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic – puppy cams! “You spend five minutes with a puppy and try not to smile,” said registered nurse Robin Lingg Lagrone. Lingg Lagrone says watching little furballs wag their tails and prance on their paws helps […]

    Read more

    Pet Committee

    When Moore County’s school doors were abruptly closed earlier in 2020, two- and four-legged volunteers from the Moore County Citizens’ Pet Responsibility Committee (PRC) were in their 12th year of presenting a six-session Pet Responsibility Education Program for fourth-graders. The PRC quickly shifted gears and placed its program materials online as part of a home […]

    Read more