CORONA (CBSLA.com) — Firefighters are accustomed to saving lives. But usually there is a fire involved.
The Corona Firefighters Association heard about an 8-year-old girl who often suffered from seizures.
Last week, the group donated a golden retriever puppy — named Mr. Snuggles — to little Amira Jones.
The dog will be trained to alert Amira’s mother, Latrice Jones, before the girl has a seizure.
“She hasn’t had a seizure since he’s been here,” says Latrice, “that’s amazing in itself.”
“He cares about me and I love him so much,” says Amira.
Mr. Snuggles cuddles up with Amira at night to keep her safe, comfortable and warm.
CBS2’s Tom Wait reports the gift of Mr. Snuggles is literally a lifesaver.
Amira is prone to a variety of seizures, the most severe have left her in a coma.
Corona firefighters from Station 4 are well acquainted with Amira. They described themselves as regular visitors to her apartment.
In fact, the idea for the dog came from firefighter Tom Walsh. He, in turn, lobbied the Corona Firefighters Association.
A service dog like Mr. Snuggles can cost $18,000 — and the waiting list is long.
Latrice said she was “beyond grateful” for the donation and the dog.
“I can’t thank them enough,” she said, “thank you isn’t enough … they have always been there for me. Any time, any day.”
The dog’s ability to alert Latrice before the seizure happens, will allow her to administer drugs that can prevent the seizure from happening or allow the episode to be relatively minor.
Jim Steiner, president of the Corona Firefighters Association, met Latrice and Amira last week. He told the Riverside Press-Enterprise, “You know, the family didn’t ask for a dog. It was the guys who saw a need. There are big hearts at Station 4.”
“What I’m hoping with Mr. Snuggles, is that he gives me a couple of seconds to be able to go and get the medication … to give me that extra time to help her, so the seizure isn’t as long,” says Latrice.
Walsh remained humble about his good deed.
“Everybody loves a puppy,” he said, matter-of-fact, “to be able to brighten a girl’s day will make everybody happy.”