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Loving the Dog

February 23, 2012

Presidential candidate Mitt Romney – I don’t think we should call him the Dog Whisperer, because I’m sure he wasn’t whispering to Seamus when the dog’s poop started running down the windshield from the crate atop the family cruiser. It’s kind of funny how cruising along at 65 miles per hour for twelve hours on top of a car, in the bitter cold, acts as a kind of laxative.

Mitt’s treatment of Seamus is a clear sign that he isn’t a dog lover. So, why was he faking it – why did this schmuck get a dog? Was it because the rich kids wanted another toy, or was it because all the political experts said you’ll have more appeal with voters if they see you as a dog lover?

It’s the first thing on the to-do list for new U.S. Presidents – if they don’t already have one:
❶ Get a dog

It doesn’t matter if the President never had a dog in his entire life. But, after Mitt’s gaffe, I’m guessing that the political strategists might be rethinking their advice.

I’m just a Simple Simon firefighter/medic, so I don’t know if a U.S. President should have to love dogs. But, I do believe if he or she doesn’t love them, then they should at least have the fortitude to “just say no” to acquiring one.

And, that brings me to the point of this article. How does faking like you love something apply to emergency service?

Well, unfortunately we have plenty in our own ranks who are faking their butts off. Let’s start with the glory hounds.

These are the folks who enter the profession with one goal in mind – “Glory for Me.” At the interview they tell you that they’ll work like a demon and no work is below them. Then they’re hired. Almost immediately there’s not a speck of interest in any of the mundane activities like cleaning the station and equipment. And, training doesn’t draw much interest unless there’s a chance they’ll get their mug shot in tomorrow’s newspaper.

Then we have the “Single-Component” folks. These are the ones who said they loved it all, but once hired they’re only interested in one facet of their responsibility. They love some of their job responsibilities about as much as Mitt loved Seamus. Maybe it’s public education, maybe prevention, or maybe even one of the lynchpins – fire or EMS. Their cruising in the crate moment is when they utter the words, “I really prefer to just do this and that’s all.”

And, even emergencies aren’t enough for others. I call these the “Heartless Wonders.” The emergency call has to “measure up” for these people. These are the medics who treat the patient like a bother because the patient’s condition isn’t serious enough to merit their precious time. Or, the firefighter who only likes the working structure fire. He’s the one who also thinks he’s too important for the after-the-fire cleanup.

So, what’s the moral of this story?

It’s simple. Try your best to identify the fakers during the hiring process. Look carefully for any tell-tale signs of potential for cruising in the crate or faking it moments.

Do they really love the dog? It should be the first box you check as an evaluator, because dealing with poor choices after they’re on the team is mighty burdensome.

Be sure and cast the right vote.

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