Dogs really live up to the title of man’s best friend, and they do incredible work in our emergency services.
They play a key role in police and fire services up and down the country, and their bravery and unique skills and abilities have helped save hundreds of lives.
When devastating or tragic events occur, they are called in to check the scene and to search for survivors.
And to help them stay safe when they’re risking their lives, service dogs are given these very important – and also very cute – boots to wear.
Dogs are never sent into an active blaze, but they are sent into the scene after it has been extinguished.
The shoes are designed to protect the dogs’ feet from any debris which has been left, including shards of glass and wood.
Watch manager and fire investigation officer Paul Osborne is the proud keeper of search dog Sherlock.
The five-year-old working Cocker Spaniel wears the shoes when he’s at work in the London Fire Service.
Paul told Mirorr Online: "A dog will do anything for its owner and will put itself in harm’s way.
"It’s our job to make sure that when that dog is deployed it has as much safety equipment as possible."
However the shoes aren’t used every time a dog is sent in to investigate a scene.
When they arrive, their handler will assess the scene to see if the shoes are needed.
Paul explained: "The boots reduce their effectiveness. It’s one of their senses, their sense of touch.
"By putting what are essentially bags on their feet it does mask them somewhat.
"But if there is any potential that the dog could be harmed, that’s when the boots go on."
Service dogs are introduced to the boots at a young age so they can get used to wearing them.
Paul said: "I can only describe it as a dog with rollerskates on.
"They are just like, ‘what an Earth are you putting on me’."
But before long Sherlock got used to them.
Paul added: "He’s been absolutely fine with them. He tends to wear them with pride and show them off."
Sherlock is one of the London Fire Dogs, and the groups was named the winner of the Public Service Animal category of the Mirror’s Animal Hero Awards 2017 .
The dogs, wearing their special shoes, were recognised for their bravery after they entered Grenfell Tower after the tragic blaze last year.
Steve Gadsdon, urban service and rescue service capability officer in Merseyside, explains why dogs are so important to the fire service.
He said: "They’re amazingly important.
"They allow us to target resources. They can cover a large area in a little amount of time.
The Mirror’s Animal Hero Awards celebrate the most inspiring examples of bravery, dedication and resilience in the animal world.
We’ve joined forces with UK’s leading Pet Food manufacturer, Webbox and the animal welfare charity, the RSPCA to pick the most recognise these animals along with the individuals and teams who have shown outstanding commitment to improving their lives.
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