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What do a coal mining and fire safety dog have in common?

From arson investigators and evidence finders to cadaver dogs and bomb detectors, dogs have earned their rightful place as law enforcement ambassadors.

Dogs are taking on more and more roles as not only guardians, but protectors of life. A leading producer of coal in the United States, Alpha Natural Resources, shared news of Ginny, the first dog to be specifically trained to perform search and rescue both underground and on surface structures. Ginny will perform these duties as part of the company’s safety processes in mining operations.

She is a brindle-colored Dutch Shepherd and trained to find missing, trapped, injured, and/or unresponsive people in unstable conditions or confined areas. She will wear a protective vest with technology that is very sophisticated, including infrared camera and atmospheric gas detector when the dog is underground.

Ginny, Alpha Natural Resources' mine rescue dog (NYSE: ANR, (PRNewsFoto/Alpha Natural Resources)

The dog was bred at a kennel that provides high-performing dogs to the U.S. military, homeland security, and law enforcement. She was formally trained for over tow years and will continue to train with the mine’s search and rescue teams so they can ascertain how to best leverage Ginny’s skills.

From mining to fires, Ginny is not unique in her canine-centric search efforts. Dayna Hilton is a firefighter and a fire safety educator. She is the Publisher at Firehouse Dog Publishing (her publishing company), and Executive Director of the Keep Kids Fire Safe Foundation. She is also mom to Siren the Fire Safety Dog and Tango the Fire Safety Dog and was mom to Sparkles the Fire Safety Dog, who passed away, one year ago from this coming October.

Dayna Hilton carries on the message of fire safety and prevention with her Dalmatian. Sparkles, her first fire safety dog, paved the way for Siren, whose work with the Keep Kids Fire Safe Foundation, keeps the message alive.

“Dogs have always played an important part of my life, but I was never as close as I am to the fire safety dogs. The fire safety dogs and I share a very special bond helping save the lives of children,” Hilton shared.

Check out Sparkle’s Clubhouse. First Alert bought the building for Hilton and her crew and it is where she does Sparkles’ Safety Spot (her weekly live streamed safety show for children) and the Sparkles’ Fire Safety Skype Tour (when she Skypes with schools from all across the country). It even survived the F-3 tornado they had in 2011.

Sparkles' Clubhouse Promotes Fire Safety

Rewarded with a job well done, a play session and plenty of praise, these hero dogs slowly but surely are making a positive impact, as all dogs do, on human lives.

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