Local fire district’s beloved search and rescue dog dies

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ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – The Metro West Fire Protection District’s long-time search and rescue canine has died.

Buddy, who served the district for more than 10 years, was put down Wednesday after suffering a massive stroke.

His handler, Engineer Brad Stahlman, got home Wednesday morning and noticed Buddy was having stroke-like symptoms. He phoned the veterinarian, who immediately rushed over and determined Buddy would be unable to recover.

Stahlman, who has served as the district’s only canine handler for over 20 years, made the difficult decision to relieve Buddy of his suffering. He and his family were present and crews from the Metro West and Eureka fire protection districts gathered outside in a show of support.

In his tenure as the district’s search and rescue dog, Buddy was credited with responding to numerous drowning cases, a live rescue of a fire victim in Chesterfield, and searching for tornado victims in Joplin.

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