Community | WCTV Eyewitness News: Tallahassee, Thomasville, Valdosta

Pig Fireman in Georgia

By: Lee Gordon Email
By: Lee Gordon Email

Dalmatians have always been the mascot of a fire station, but these days, some stations are going in a different direction.
One South Georgia fire station has done away with the Dalmatian altogether and instead, they've gone with a Charlotte's Web motif.

It's just before 7am at the Tybee Island fire station.
The crew is ready for the day, well, almost everyone is.

Meet Pee Wee.

He's not your average dalmatian...In fact, he's not a dalmatian at all....He's a pig! And he's become the official mascot of the Tybee Island fire department.

"I brought him in to show the guys and the guys liked him and said to keep bringing him in."

Pee Wee belongs to First Responder Frank Ptacin.
It was his idea to introduce the pig to his fellow fireman.

"The fact that no one had a pig I thought, lets try it out.
They are one of the smartest animals."

After awhile, the idea caught on and Pee Wee became an unofficial member of the Tybee Island Fire Department. Just ask Jonathan Salter, a first responder at the department.

"Pee Wee is fun to work with. He's been here for a short time but he's made great strides." Pee Wee doesn't fight fires, but every now and then, he'll take a ride on the fire truck...shotgun of course.

The 12 pound pig is around for moral support, and in the heat of the battle, sometimes, that's all these guys need.

"Pee Wee is a typical firefighter. He can get moody, he's always in a playful mood," said Ptacin. "He'll get in trouble every now and then.
He's a good fire fighter and good to bring around the firehouse."

A typical day for Pee Wee involves him following around the crew, running with reckless abandon around the fire station, and entertaining the firefighter.

He's also become a tourist attraction in this coastal Georgia town.
Frank Ptacin sot covered

"At first he was apprehensive, but now he's tame to the people."

Just ask Jennifer Diegnan. She's visiting from New Jersey and stopped by the fire station to see what all the fuss was about.

"I was surprised when the people in town told me they had a pet pig as a mascot."

Many kids say they dream of fighting fires and saving lives.
But not many kids grew up dreaming of working with a pig.
But after spending time with Pee Wee, it's clear that he's part of the team. And the guys wouldn't trade him for anything.

"We are happier with him than a dog.He's easier to train, easier to cleanup after and cheaper to feed."

And feeding Pee Wee is just as important as feeding the guys...because when Pee Wee is happy, everyone is happy.


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