ROGERSVILLE, Ala. - Everywhere you go in Rogersville, it seems everyone has a story about Squirt. A dalmation who was much more than just the mascot of the Rogersville Volunteer Fire Department. But a friend to all he met.
His best friend was Assistant Fire Chief Morris Lentz, who brought Squirt home nearly 15 years ago.
On Wednesday, Lentz had to say goodbye.
"I thought I was prepared for it but you're not. You're not prepared for it at all," he says.
Lentz says Squirt was found in a yard not far from the bank where he works. There was no sign of trauma. He believes the old fire dog's big heart just finally gave out.
It was a heart that loved deeply. A brave heart. A loyal heart.
He was just a puppy when he got away from the fire truck and ran into a house fire to take his place by Lentz's side. In his prime when he pulled a litter of kittens, one by one, out of the road. Already an older dog, when he befriended a woman at the Rogersville Senior Center who had cancer and began visiting her at her home, keeping watch at her bedside. Offering comfort in the way only a dog can.
In fact the morning he passed away, Lentz says Squirt made his rounds, visiting his friends all over town. "I guess maybe he was saying his goodbyes," he says.
But while Squirt may be gone, he is not - and never will be - forgotten.
As Lentz says, "I know the good Lord puts special people and special things in your life and I truly think that God put Squirt on this earth for me and for the community."