“Foster, what are you doing in that bag?”
Foster seemed to be deep in thought. We were in the sewing room, and Mom, who was busy making doll clothes, had apparently forgotten about us.I looked out from behind a pile of fabric. “Hey, Bro,” I said. “What are you thinking about? And get out of that bag before Mom sees you!”Foster complied, stretching out on a pattern piece. “I’ve got an idea,” he said. “I think we should go on another adventure.” I nodded. We had pretty much stayed home since our trip to Sweden, and a new adventure did sound like fun. “Where do you want to go?” I asked, interested.“Well,” Foster began. “You know how Mom is always listening to the online police scanner? Well it’s not only police out there. I’ve heard the fire department too and they sound really interesting.”“I see where this is going,” I replied, jumping up with Belle to show off my new fatigues. “But do you think we can pull it off? I mean, Mom’s going to know it’s us if she hears anything on the scanner about a cat and a panda in the fire department.” Foster laughed. “Yeah, you’re right about that,” he agreed. “It was a miracle she didn’t hear us when we joined the police force!” Then I got an idea. “Hey, let’s look on the computer! Maybe we can at least learn about the fire department.”“Okay,” Foster replied. “Just let me get this little piece of fabric out of the way first…” “Dude, why? ” I responded. “There’s so much stuff on this table I don’t see how Mom can even work in here!” Foster laughed.”Well, you know what she says, it’s not art unless you make a big mess!”“Well, I don’t know about that,” I said as we pulled up Pixabay.com on the computer. “What should we search?” I asked. Foster jumped up onto the desk. “Here, let me do it,” he said. “I can type better than you anyway. Let’s go with firefighter to start with.” “Wow!” I exclaimed, as the royalty-free photos began to load. “That looks kind of scary! Are you sure about this?” “Well,” Foster replied, “I guess we wouldn’t have to actually fight fires. Maybe we can just go for training.” Before I could reply, he had hit something on the keyboard and we found ourselves looking into the back of a real live firetruck! I immediately jumped up to get a better look. “Be careful,” Foster admonished. “Don’t mess anything up!”Undaunted, I went up to the front of the truck to take a look. “I think I could drive this thing,” I ventured. “You know I have my jeep driver’s license from when I went to Basic Training.” Foster was less than enthusiastic. “Get down before those guys see us!” He motioned toward two firefighters who were standing with their backs to us. I was just about to comply when we heard a scratchy sound from the radio inside the truck. Foster jumped in with me to see if he could make out what it was saying. Before we knew it, the two men had jumped into the firetruck and we were speeding down the street, Code 3, with our lights and sirens blaring. They hadn’t seemed to notice us, so we tried to be as inconspicuous as possible.When we stopped the firefighters immediately jumped out and started to the scene of the emergency. I followed as closely as I could, but Foster stayed back a little to be on the safe side.When we got to the scene, everyone was looking up at a tall building. No one had noticed us yet so we stood still and listened to what the men were saying. “We need to check the second floor,” one of them said. The others agreed. “There’s no smoke showing, but we’d better go up anyway,” said another. At that moment they looked around and saw us. Before Foster could stop me, I heard myself saying, “We’ll go!” “Oh,” one of the firefighters remarked. “You must be the two new recruits they told us about.” Foster looked startled. “Uh…well…” he replied nervously. “We were just–” “Never mind,” the man interrupted. “There’s no time to lose! You in the overalls, go up the ladder and see if you can get into that top window.” I obeyed, and Foster came up behind me. “Don’t worry, Panda!” he called to me. “If you slip I’ll catch you!”I searched the second floor and came out the window on the other end. “Everything looks fine,” I called down to the men. “Okay,” they responded. “Good job, guys!” After determining that the scene was secure, the men said it was time for lunch. We had a bit of a scare, however, when we arrived at the station just as a police officer was leaving to distribute stuffed animals to the trucks. “We give these to children when we see them in stressful situations,” he remarked. “It really helps them to stay calm.” Before I knew it, he had scooped me up with a group of teddy bears! Fortunately Foster intervened in time. “Um, excuse me, sir,” he ventured, jumping up to get his attention, “but that’s my friend you have there.” The officer looked surprised. “Oh, sorry,” he apologized, letting me down with a quizzical look in Foster’s direction. We saw him shaking his head as he continued toward the firetrucks. After lunch it was time to learn about the fire hoses. It was super interesting, even though I did have to keep Foster from playing with the hoses when the men weren’t looking.“Jump up here,” one of our trainers instructed. “I’ll show you how this works.” We followed his directions and he explained to us how to work the fire hose nozzle.The hoses were a little big for us, but we did our best to help our friends during the practice run. One thing we had to learn was how to attach the hose to a fire hydrant. We especially liked this one. “Hey,” I said, jumping up onto it. “This seriously looks like – ” Foster looked up at me and we continued in unison, “- something Mom would draw!” About that time we heard a fire alarm in the distance. “Let’s go!” I shouted, jumping down. We ran as fast as we could to join the men at the truck.When we got to the scene we were amazed to see a tall building with smoke pouring out of the windows on the top floor. We watched as our friends used their ladder apparatus to reach it. “Everybody got out safely,” one of the firefighters called down to us. “But there’s a dog stuck in one of the offices.” We immediately knew what we had to do.“Here I come!” I called to the man at the top of the ladder. Foster watched from the truck as I hurried to climb up to where the firefighters were waiting.“He’s in here!” The men indicated an open window. “You’re small enough to fit inside.” When I got inside I found the dog easily. “Come on, buddy,” I said reassuringly. “We’ll have you out of here in no time!”“Great job, Panda!” Our firefighter friends were impressed. “Okay, let’s get back down to the street!”We watched with concern as the men treated the dog with oxygen as a precaution. “It’s okay, boys,” they told us. “He’ll be just fine!”Before we got back in the truck, we were stopped by a member of the news media. He interviewed us about the rescue, which kind of reminded us of when we were on the news after helping the police in India.When we got back to the station, we joined the men for a “thank you” celebration given by the dog’s owners. It was a fun time, and we enjoyed being with our new friends, but soon we decided it was time to go back home.Once we got home, Foster immediately decided I needed a bath. “Mom is going to smell all that smoke on you and wonder where we’ve been,” he told me as he tried to fit me into his water dish on the bathroom counter. I decided not to protest, and before I knew it I was nice and clean. And not a moment too soon, because Mom came in just then and saw us. “Foster,” she said, laughing. “Are you putting Panda in your water again?” And she went to get her phone to take a picture and text it to her sister.
Background firefighting photos are from www.pixabay.com. The photo of the dog receiving oxygen was from a Google search.