Meet Axel: The Grand Rapids Fire Department’s new pup

Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The new rookie at the Bridge Street firehouse in Grand Rapids isn’t very good at following orders.

It usually takes a treat to get him in line.

But what’s a young puppy to do?

Axel, or Axe for short, is a Labrador mix the Grand Rapids Fire Department adopted last month from a pet rescue group.

“He has a really neat nature about him. He’s very friendly. And we have people coming off the street stopping by the station… he’s one of the first firefighters they get to meet,” said GRFD Lt. Bill Smith.

Dogs have been a part of firehouse culture for centuries — from Dalmatians that ran alongside horse-drawn steamers, keeping pedestrians out of the way and calming the horses, to Rhonda, the GRFD’s last K-9.

Rhonda’s keen sense of smell helped arson investigators gather crucial evidence. Axe’s duties will be much lighter in nature.

“He is, very much, going to be a station dog used in community outreach,” said Smith. “We foresee Axel being out with our fire prevention activities. We hope to bring him to schools and community involvement opportunities out in the city.”

And as Axe continues to grow into his paws and duties, you can follow along from home. The GRFD has created Axe’s own Instagram account. You can also get Axe updates on the GRFD Facebook page.

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