With a heart of gold and nerves of steel, an officer in Arvin, California vaulted over a fence and worked amid blazing heat to save a chained dog from a raging fire.
Chained just outside a burning mobile home, Officer Calderon comforted the dog with kind words before eventually using hedge clippers to free the pooch, all the while protecting the dog with his own body.
Hearing about Calderon’s heroics, recorded in a 6-minute section of body cam footage, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) decided to present the man with their Compassionate Action Award.
“His actions were truly heroic. And we want to reward him to recognize that and also because we hope that it will inspire more people to be heroes for animals,” said Ashley Byrne, PETA’s director of outreach communications.
The process of freeing the dog started after Calderon used his strength to clamber over a rickety 6-foot fence. The dog was frightened and ran away from Calderon at first, but he pulled it close to him via the chain while struggling to try and find some way to disconnect it.
At first, he tried to bend a pin holding two sections of chain apart, but it wouldn’t budge. Then, coaxing the dog to hide behind a large horizontal kitchen or bathroom sink in the yard, he breached the friendship barrier and was able to scratch the pit bull or bull terrier behind the ears.
Calderon pushed the sink closer to the wooden fence behind it, creating a shield to protect the dog from the heat of the fire while trying to break through the fence and allow the dog to go into the adjacent property.
The smart pooch understood what was happening, and when a passageway had been made it went through. In the neighbor’s yard, Calderon found a pair of hedge clippers which allowed him to finally free the dog from its bonds.
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