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Lifestyle & Human Interest

Firefighter Makes Stunning Decision After Dog Rescued from Burning Building, Gets New 'Best Friend'

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Sometimes, despite their best efforts, pet owners are stuck between a rock and a hard place when it comes to paying for care after serious accidents. Heartwrenching pleas for help and fundraisers sometimes work out, but other times the situation is too overwhelming and assistance seems impossible.

Firefighter Malcolm Cortner encountered a situation like this when a family experienced a fire that threatened the life of their dog and were faced with a difficult decision.

When a fire broke out in their apartment in Des Moines, Iowa, their 16-month-old mastiff puppy was still inside. By the time he was located, the fire was already being extinguished and the damage had already been done.

Cortner had been one of the firefighters who had rescued the large puppy, and though the dog had made it out of the home alive, he faced an expensive road to recovery.

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First responders immediately began to administer oxygen, but after the dog was evaluated, it was clear he would need more care.

That put the owners in a tough spot — they’d just lost everything and were facing all kinds of expenses. Would they be able to spend more on properly treating their dog?

“Once Animal Control arrived, they determined that there were two options of care for the dog: potentially expensive treatment at the owner’s expense or euthanasia,” the city of Des Moines posted on Oct. 15.

“The owner opted for the latter one.”

But thankfully for all involved, Cortner had saved the mastiff once, and he was determined to save him again.

“Fire Fighter Malcolm Cortner, who had helped pull the dog out of the building, asked to sign for possession of the Mastiff for further treatment at his own expense,” the post continued.

“He was granted his request, arranged for treatment, and the second picture really says it all.”

The first photo the city shared was of the dog in distress, lying on his side in the grass with an oxygen mask over his nose and mouth as he panted and firefighters attended to him.

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The second photo shows the mastiff looking much better, lying comfortably in the grass and clearly settling in with his new family.

“Congratulations to Fire Fighter Cortner who has a new best friend, George,” the post concluded.

Most people commented to thank Cortner for his heart and willingness to go out on a limb to save George.

Some chastised the former owners for their seemingly selfish decision, but others empathized with them, understanding that they had just been through a disaster and might not have had the funds to pay for George’s treatment.

It was the best possible outcome for George: His hero adopted him, and he will no doubt spend the rest of his life repaying that kindness with the love and appreciation only a dog can give.

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Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she's strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.
As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn't really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.
She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she's had teal hair.
With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children's books with her husband, Edward.
Austin, Texas
Languages Spoken
English und ein bißchen Deutsch
Topics of Expertise
Faith, Animals, Cooking