SOUTH MILWAUKEE — Tuff the English Bulldog embodies the spirit of his name.
He fell through the ice and into Lake Michigan while on a walk in South Milwaukee with his owner Cindy Thong. He was trapped in the water. His owner Cindy Thong watched helplessly as she saw her dog struggle.
It wasn't until 10 minutes later that South Milwaukee firefighters were able to pull him out to safety.
Tuff was okay, and the firefighters went about the rest of their day. The story could have ended there, but it didn't.
Now, the English Bulldog is giving back to the men who saved his life.
"Kicking off a fundraising campaign and an awareness campaign," South Milwaukee Fire Chief Joe Knitter said.
The item for sale is a t-shirt with Tuff's face on it that reads "Built Tough."
"The proceeds are going to go for purchase of equipment for the South Milwaukee Fire Department water rescue training program and towards charity,” Knitter said.
The charity is K9 Warriors. It pairs veterans with service dogs.
It was a day for the firefighters who saved him and Tuff to reunite. However, there was also a special surprise for Tuff and his owner.
"Do hereby declare Feb. 11 'Tuff Tuesday' in the city of South Milwaukee," Assistant City Administrator Patrick Braver said.
"Thank you. Just want to say thank you to South Milwaukee Fire Department," Thong said.
It was a special commemoration of Tuff's toughness and the bravery of the firefighters.
If you want to help contribute to the fundraising campaign and would like a "Built Tuff" shirt, click here.