“We tried to save a few lives throughout the day, which we did accomplish. So we figured when we saw this dog running in the street, why not save another life,” said Omaha Firefighter/Paramedic Dan Povondra.
Firefighters/Paramedics TJ Korpela and Dan Povondra went from lifesavers to dog catchers Tuesday evening.
“We had just dropped a patient off at Nebraska Medicine so we were driving down Dodge and we just saw a dog literally running in the middle of Dodge Street,” said TJ Korpela.
The pair could have kept driving, but they were determined to rescue the loose dog.
“We were definitely outmatched with speed, but we outsmarted him,” said Povondra.
After almost 30 minutes of chasing the dog in the dark and the snow, they finally cornered the dog.
“We just slowly started walking up to him. We didn’t know his name so I just called him “Buddy” hoping he would like me,” said Korpela.
His name is not Buddy, it is Archer and his owner Dawn Cipriano was very worried. Archer had been on the loose for more than six hours.
“It was starting to snow again and cold and he had never been out that long,” said Cipriano.
“We kind of laughed after we caught him. We were kind of like, well now what do we do with him. We put him in the back of our squad cause it was warm,” said Korpela.
Archer didn’t have tags, but social media helped the two find his home. Cipriano had posted on the Lost Pets of Omaha Facebook page. A fellow firefighter’s wife spotted the post.
“He was sitting on the ground and I said, hey Archer, and he kind of looked up,” said Korpela.
Cipriano was relieved when Korpela posted a photo of Archer to the Lost Pets Page saying, “I think we found Archer.”
“I’m very appreciative. I’m glad they went out of their way to help,” said Cipriano.
Even though dog catcher isn’t in the job description, they say it’s still part of their gig.
“At the time we knew it was the right thing to do. We didn’t want him to get hit in the street and didn’t want him running around in the cold. Every single day firefighters do stuff like this, our story just happened to get noticed,” said Korpela.