Bardstown Fire Department unveils its new mascot, Oreo, the dalmatian pup

Assistant Police Chief Capt. Joe Seelye and a group of young friends pet Oreo the Fire Dog Friday morning outside the Bardstown Fire Department Station 1. Click to enlarge.



Friday, June 29, 2018 — The newest member of the Bardstown Fire Department was romping around Friday morning in the grass next to City Hall, oblivious to the group of city officials and media there to welcome here.

Mayor Dick Heaton makes comments while holding Oreo Friday morning outside the fire station.

With her tail wagging, “Oreo,” an eight-week-old Dalmatian puppy, basked in the attention of guests — particularly the younger ones — at Friday’s short indtroduction ceremony in front of the Fifth Street fire station 1.

As a breed, Dalmatians have had a traditional role in American firehouses going back many years, Fire Chief Billy Mattingly told the crowd. Because Dalmatians work well with horses, they were used to help guide horse-drawn fire equipment to a fire. The breed also served to guard the horses and equipment. Though horses have disappeared from modern firehouses, Dalmatians have not, Mattingly said.

Mattingly said Oreo’s name was chosen as the winner of a contest from local schools who were asked to submit their favorites. Two classes at Bardstown Primary School — Jenny Pageau’s first-graders and Catherine Barnett’s second-graders — both worked independently but ended up with the same name: “Oreo.”

Following remarks by Mattingly and the Mayor, Oreo was turned loose among the children in attendance where she was a big hit. She ran and played between relishing the many young hands who stroked her white and black-spotted coat.

“The kids took this very seriously,” Pageau said. “This was serious business.”

From left, Jenny Pageau and Catherine Barnett pose with Oreo. Both of their classes — Pageau’s first-graders and Barnett”s second-graders — independently came up with the winning name of “Oreo.”

Mayor Dick Heaton noted that Oreo was an idea brought forward by Mattingly, who also paid for purchasing Oreo from a breeder.

“It’s hard to say ‘no’ to a project when someone else is paying for it,” Heaton quipped.

Oreo will undergo some specialized training that will include service to young fire victims as a therapy-type dog, he said. Oreo’s main job will be to serve as an ambassador for the fire department. She already has a Facebook page and Instagram account — with followers — and Mattingly invited members of the public to track Oreo’s work as a fire dog.

Oreo is the department’s first official mascot in recent years. Mattingly said some former firefighters have told him that longtime former fire chief Arch Pendergrass owned a dalmatian at one point years ago.

Follow Oreo here on Facebook, or check her out on Instagram here.


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