| By Estelle Lawton Lindsey
"This is Dewey, the 'only' horse in the fire department. Ain't he a
beauty?" Lee Beeson, who drives truck No. 2 when there is a fire in or
about Los Angeles, hit the dapple beauty a smart smack on his sleek sides
and Dewey awoke suddenly from his morning nap and blinked at the world.
"Dewy is center rush when that truck goes out," continued his driver,
"and nothing can touch him on the run." He threw an arm affectionately
over the curved neck and invited me to come up and make the acquaintance of
the namesake of one of America's past popular idols. We were
conversing in the city fire department headquarters, 217 S. Hill st.
"He's the baby of the service," continued the young man, "and he's what
we call a dapple bay. See them dapples?" The dapples, irregular golden
circles, were very evident, as was the affectionate disposition of Dewey.
I had been trying for several minutes to sidestep an exceedingly moist kiss
form my newly made equine friend, when I was startled by a soft nose in the
hand farthest from Dewey.
BILL BUTTS IN
"It's Bill horse" laughed Lieut. Baker at my shoulder; "he don't want to
"Apparently neither of them does," said I, dodging the persistent
attentions of the well meaning animals. To be kissed by two horses at
once, one on each side, is a little embarrassing.
"They are haunting candy," the young man explained as I was being nosed
and butted about. "All the ladies who come in here bring them candy
"I am sorry, old fellows," I said, "but I'll be more thoughtful another
time if you will leave my pockets on my jacket."
"Here, let us show you something," said the young men, and the two horses
were led back to their places and the alarm sounded. Like a flash they
were in their places under the harness.
HEROES WHEN ON DUTY
"Fooled you that time," said their driver. "Now, come and be
rubbed. How long does it take to teach 'em that? Depends
entirely on the horse; there are blockheads among horses the same as
among people. Dewey learnt it in no time, and he is proud of his job.
Once he was sick and I shut him up in a box stall back there. A fire
alarm sounded and that rascal almost broke the stall to bits trying to get
"At a big fire they get up so close you would think they would get hurt;
I've seen them stand by the fire where the heat melted the paint on my
helmet and never flinch." broke in the lieutenant, "Horses have sense;
it's my opinion they have souls, too. It makes me crazy when anybody
is mean to them.
|Sometimes when they first come here they want
to play, and when the alarm sounds they will run around the truck before
they go under the harness. Of course we have to whip them a little,
because that bit of fun may cost somebody's life; but I sure do hate
to hit 'em."
Passing from the side of the engine house devoted to the truck horses,
Lieut. Baker escorted me to the pavement to make the acquaintance of Joe,
Chief Eley's horse.
CONCERNING TOM'S PERFECTIONS
"He has thoroughbred blood in him," said the young man. When the
chief is just driving around Joe don't bother to hurry, but let him hear
that gong on the front of the wagon and all the blood of his Kentucky
ancestors wakes up. It would do your soul good to see him run."
I was next delivered into the hands of Mr. Jadwin who was affectionately
combing out the thick white mane of Tom. Mr. Jadwin drives Engine No.
3 and Tom helps pull it.
"Look at the mane," admonished the driver. "Did you ever see
anything like it? It takes work to take care of a mane like that.
Now, with a horse like Dewey over there all you got to do is to brush the
mane a little, but Tom's got a mane, 'Haven't you, Tom?' And Tom loves
Tom demonstrated his love with a series of equine caresses that were
convincing and his driver went on talking about his pets.
GRANDMA HAS A GROUCH
"That's Gyp over there; he can tell the difference when the telephone
rings on private business and for a fire; if it is a private call he
pays no attention to it, but if it's a fire---well--
"Here, lieutenant, show the lady your bunch back there." A smiling
lieutenant who said he had no name continued the exhibition.
"That's Grandma," said he, pointing to a sleepy looking white horse in a
nearby stall. "We call him Grandma, because he's so sleepy. He's
got a grouch now because you haven't noticed him and have noticed the
others. He thinks all ladies have candy and all these horses are
jealous. Yes, honest they are.
"That fellow there, the big bay, is Jack. He's famous for his
appetite; eats anything on earth. One of the fellows took a live rat
over to show to him once and Jack ate it up. Don't go close--or, it's
all right; your hat's a sailor. If it had fruit on it I'd tell you to
stand back. He ate all the vegetables off two or three peach basket
hats. Nome; it don't hurt him, but it does the lady's feelings."
As I left four smiling young men called after me.
"Don't mention us: but say everything good you can bout the horses.
They can't talk and they have four legs, but they are among Los Angeles'