A 200-lb pig named Dominic -- otherwise known as "Fireman Ham" -- is retiring from his role as an assistant at the Avon Fire & Rescue Service in southwest England, after becoming too good at his job. The pig has been with the fire department for the past two years, since he was rescued by a local animal shelter following the death of his owner. According to the Western Daily Press, Dominic's initial response to living at the HorseWorld animal welfare charity gave staffers a good idea about how the pig might contribute to the public good:
After several attempts to break free from his new home, keepers decided the 200lb animal would be the perfect candidate to teach fire crews how to handle escaped animals.
Dozens of firefighters have since taken part in Dominic's ‘escapology' lessons, which involve simulating rescue situations and moving him safely around the farm.
But Dominic has learned too well where he's supposed to go and no longer poses a challenge to firefighters on practice runs. Still, Gary Weeks, Avon's head of animal rescue, says Dominic has been a huge help in preparing rescue teams to save other animals from potential disasters:
As a fire and rescue service we are attending more incidents involving large animals so it is vital we have the right training to ensure the welfare of those animals and ensure that our crews are safe when dealing with incidents of this nature ... Working alongside Dominic has been really useful in giving our staff the knowledge and confidence they need when dealing with animals.
A nearby farm has offered to take Dominic in as a pet, and the Avon team has agreed that it's best to let Fireman Ham move on to the next phase of his life. "The Fire and Rescue Service will be sad to see him go," said the team's animal safety lecturer, Dawn Watkins. "It's impossible not to love him."