Meet the firefighters of Bertioga, Brazil. They are an example to people the world over of human kindness and the positive contribution we can make to the world around us. Not only do these men and women risk their lives daily to save others they also rescue street dogs!
The firefighters stand for every women’s right to cycle and are united for the hashtag campaign Iranian Women Love Cycling.
Below meet Foceta who was a street dog until firefighters rescued him and he became a much loved member of their family.
The team told me the heart warming story of when they found an old blind dog wandering the streets. They were unsuccessful in finding his human and so they looked after the blind dog, naming him Cyclops. Three years later an old man was walking past the fire station and saw the dog. He began calling the name ‘Madruga’. The blind dog ran excitedly for the voice and an emotional moment ensued as human and dog were re-united!
Here is Firefighter Dog, Foceta jumping for his ball!
Here Firefighter L. D. Santos and Firefighter Dog Foceta sit to attention!
Firefighter Santos plays with Firefighter Foceta.
I arrived to the Brazilian beach town of Bertioga at night. I stood at the fire station gates asking if they knew somewhere safe for me to camp. The rescue dog Foceta was all over me. Wagging his tail, nuzzling into me and licking me. He wouldn’t leave me alone. Firefighter Deziderio was in disbelief as he had never seen Foceta like this with anyone else before. I laughed and explained I did rescue work around the world and promoted the rights of street dogs. In fact my website is World Bike Girl and Dogs!
Firefighter Deziderio disappeared. He came back to tell me that phone calls had been made up the chain of command (in Brazil firefighters, police and lifeguards are all military) and the firefighters wanted me to stay with them inside the station to keep me safe. The sergeant and fire fighters came out and stood in a line to welcome me. What an amazing and unforgettable experience of human kindness!
Firefighter Deziderio, Firefighgter Santos and Me!
Even though I was thousands of miles away from my own country I felt like I was at home because the firefighters treated me like one of their own family.
This is Firefighter Mercela. She is an absolute hero and protector of street dogs. When she is not rescuing humans she is rescuing and campaigning for the rights of street dogs. It’s my honour to meet such a strong woman who is making a real difference to the world around her.
Mercela’s t-shirt has a paw print around the words ‘Diga Nao Ao Abandono’ which means ‘Say No to Abandonment’.
On my palm is written #FreeNarges for Narges Mohammadi, an award winning human rights activist and mother of two jailed for 16 years in Iran.
The firefighters told me they thought what I was doing was so important for women and they organised a television station to come to the station. I was interviewed about cycling the world and my woman and animal rights campaigns.
Television reporter Mayumi stands above in support of every women’s right to cycle.
I thank each and every one of you. You are an inspirational force in the world. I am honoured to have spent time with you.
Names left to right – Lopes, Alves, Moya, Jose Carlos, Santos, Marcela, Griebler and Deziderio with Firefighter Dog Foceta.
Love Ishbel xxx
World Bike Girl
Ishbel, creator of World Bike Girl, has spent her life on bicycles, from road racing, to velodrome sprinting to cycling the world. She has pedalled across 20 countries solo and promotes commuting by bicycle. Much to the dismay of her friends, she is an avid wearer of socks and sandals.