Melbourne Fire Dogs, Kitt 1, 2 & 3

Barbara McCumisky has had a long association with the Melbourne Fire Brigade. She bred her first litter in 1985 and kept a male dally, Firechaser Phoenix, (Kitt). Barbara was curator of the Melbourne Fire Museum from 1986 to 1994 and in 1986 the Museum suggested that Kitt should ride on their trucks in a sreet procession. Although only 18 months old at the time he behaved like a seasoned professional and after participating in several more displays, was appointed mascot for the Melbourne fire brigade in 1987.

As mascot he attended a number of ceremonies including official openings, Moomba processions, he featured on tv news and in local papers.In 1989 Station officer John Laverick asked if Kitt could be trained to demonstrate fire safety, and take part in future projects for fire training for children. Although by then nearly 4 years old Kitt responded well to training and before long was dropping, rolling, and crawling. As part of his act, Kitt woke a sleeping person by pulling a sheet off and than crawling with the person to safety. Kitt gave demonstrations to groups of kindergarten children and schools, all whom gave maximum attention to a dog demonstrating the lessons.

Kitt was invited to be the official mascot for fire awareness week in 1990 and at the same time was presented with the official Fire Brigade Badge which was attached to his collar. He was accorded the title MFB Firedog Kitt 1, thus becoming the first officially recognised canine fire safety educator in Australia. In 1992 Kitt 1 was mated and from that litter Barbara kept a dog registered as Firechaser Denis. Denis took over the position of firesafety educator when he graduated officially as MFB Firedog Kitt 2 and was presented with the traditional collar along with his own coat and miniature helmet.

Sadly in 1998 Kitt 1 passed away and Denis, Kitt2 is also soon facing retirement age. Recently a new Kitt 3 has graduated to take the place of Kitt 1 and 2. Tessie (Dimadal Lady Firechaser) has proven herself to be a very worthy replacement. With her enthusiasm for the firesafety work the legend will continue for many years to come.