Kansas firehouse raises money for Tory the fire dog

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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) -- A small town Kansas fire department is asking for help after an injury sidelines one of their crew from working.

Her name is Tory, a dalmatian who's been with the Potwin Fire Department for years.

"There's always kids that are bashful and shy and don't want to come up and see a fireman, but I haven't met a kid yet that won't come up and pet a dog," says Heath Austin.

In 2006, Chief Heath Austin brought Tory to the station as a mascot to help with their outreach.

"She's very instrumental in us getting the kids to relax, and understand that firemen are just people too - and we're here to help you," Austin explained.

Tory has become a popular asset for the department and the community.

"I always bring Tory out, and she's always part of the parades and all of that," he continued.

She has even taught the kids a few fire safety tricks like staying low during a fire and stop, drop, and roll.

Lately, her ability to perform has been hampered. She tore an ACL in her back leg and needs surgery to fix it.

"You know, it's a $1,500-$1,800 dollar procedure, and a lot of people can't afford that. Even as a small volunteer department, that's a big chunk of our budget," Austin said.

Chief Austin has been weighing his option.

"If she doesn't get the surgery there are two things: first of all, she risks tearing the other one. If that happens, then she won't be mobile at all. Then, the other option has to be considered for putting her down."

That is something he doesn't want to see happen. Like any department, they look out for each other.

"She's as much a part of this department as any one of my firefighters," Austin says, adding that she is just too valuable to replace.

If you are interested in helping Tory, you can donate to the GOFUNDME that has been set up for medical expenses.