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South Milwaukee Fire Department buys water rescue equipment thanks to Tuff the Bulldog fundraiser

South Milwaukee Fire Department
Posted at 8:42 PM, Feb 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-22 22:08:26-05

SOUTH MILWAUKEE — Just over a year ago, the now-famous 12-year-old English Bulldog named 'Tuff' fell through the ice, but was saved thanks to a quick response from the South Milwaukee Fire Department.

Following Tuff's rescue, the fire department launched a fundraiser by selling t-shirts of Tuff, with the goal being to raise money to purchase water rescue equipment and to make a donation to the K9 for Warriors organization.

Tuff the Bulldog
Tuff the Bulldog

On Monday, South Milwaukee Fire announced they raised enough money and purchased a new multi-purpose FAST Board used to rescue people - and beloved pets like Tuff - from the icy waters of Lake Michigan.

RELATED: Video captures firefighters rescuing dog who fell through Lake Michigan ice

The fire department wrote in their social media post, "Thank you to all who supported the cause! (Note: No water rescue manikins were injured in this training scenario)."

The department shared several photos of crews testing out the board out on the water.

As TMJ4 News reported in January of 2020, cell phone video of the rescue showed Tuff struggling in water 10 feet deep outside the South Milwaukee Yacht Club. Firefighters yelled at people to get off the ice, then they quickly spotted Tuff in the nick of time.

"It was just muscle memory," said firefighter John Rhinesmith in an interview then. "Get the suit on, get zipped up."

Rhinesmith said then that's because his team trained for these situations in the exact same location.

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