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Florida Hospital Fish Memorial Donates Stuffed Dalmatians to Fire Departments

ORANGE CITY, Fla., December 30, 2013 –On December 4, Florida Hospital Fish Memorial donated nearly 200 stuffed Dalmatian dogs to the DeBary, Deltona and Orange City Fire Departments for the Recovery Rascal program. This annual program provides donated stuffed animals to the local fire departments, so they can give them to children at accident scenes throughout the year.

“We've done this for years,” said Orange City Fire Department Deputy Fire Chief Ronnie Long. “Anytime there is an incident, we want to make the child feel more comfortable with our presence, especially if their mom or dad is having a medical issue. We give them the stuffed animal and try to talk to them and get that connection with us.”

This is the third year Florida Hospital Fish Memorial has given Dalmatian dogs. Historically, the Orange City hospital gave teddy bears, but transitioned to the more apropos Dalmatians. 

Dalmatians were originally trained to be coach dogs and run alongside horse-drawn carriages. This training continued as Dalmatians were further trained to run in front of the fire cart, clear a path, and guide the horses-drawn fire engine toward the fire. Even after horse-drawn fire carriages were phased out by motorized fire engines, Dalmatians have remained in firehouses as guard dogs and mascots. 

This program is another example of Florida Hospital Fish Memorial’s Christian mission. The Orange City hospital is part of the Florida Hospital Volusia/Flagler nonprofit hospital system with a mission to extend the healing ministry of Christ. In 2012, Florida Hospital Volusia/Flagler collectively contributed more than $110 million in benefits to the underprivileged, the community’s overall health and wellness and spiritual needs, and capital improvements.

Photo Caption:
The Orange City Fire Department (left) and Deltona Fire Department (right) received stuffed Dalmatian dogs from Ed Ostarly, Florida Hospital Fish Memorial Chief Financial Officer, and Ed Noseworthy, Florida Hospital Fish Memorial Chief Executive Officer. Area firefighters will give the stuffed animals to children at accident scenes throughout the year.