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Ellen DeGeneres gives Caribbean trip to pooch-saving Wellesley firefighters

Posted by Jaclyn Reiss  January 14, 2014 01:21 PM

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Video courtesy The Ellen DeGeneres Show

Ellen DeGeneres interviews four Wellesley firefighters on her show before bestowing a cruise trip to the Caribbean -- and bedazzled life vests -- on the team that rescued a golden retriever from an icy Charles River last month.

On her talk show today, Ellen DeGeneres gave a Caribbean cruise trip to the four firefighters who helped rescue a golden retriever from an icy Charles River last month.

"I love Boston so much, I love Massachusetts, but it's so cold there," DeGeneres said. "I think you deserve to go somewhere warm, so each of you are going on a trip to the Caribbean from Princess Cruises," she added, to applause from the audience.

She also bestowed monogrammed bedazzled orange life vests to the firefighters -- Wellesley Fire Capt. Jim Dennehy, Lt. Paul Delaney, Dave Papazian, and Joan Cullinan -- including a doggie vest for Crosby, the dog they saved Dec. 22.

"Anyone who has a pet, they give us so much unconditional love, they would do anything for us," said DeGeneres, who has said she owns various several dogs and cats. "I think it's our obligation as their owners to take care of them as well."

The team of firefighters had to punch through patches of ice near the border of Dover and Wellesley on Dec. 22 to rescue Crosby, who chased a squirrel onto thin ice and accidentally fell into the Charles River.

Rescuers donned ice suits and swam through the freezing waters to get close enough to Crosby, who initially swam away -- likely because she was scared, Papazian told DeGeneres -- until Crosby realize he was there to save her. He then grabbed Crosby by the collar, and a team on the shore then used a rope on the rescuers to pull the humans and canine to safety.

Once ashore, firefighters wrapped Crosby in a blanket and warmed the dog in the back of a police cruiser before returning her to her owner, Wellesley resident Amy Kapinos.

Kapinos, who was also invited to the show's taping, told DeGeneres that she still tears up when she sees Crosby's rescue video.

"Crosby is a big part of our family but they didn’t hesitate one second," Kapinos said. "I can't thank them enough."

For saving Crosby’s life, the department will also receive PETA's Compassionate Fire Department Award, the organization announced in December.

"The compassion and heroism shown by the Wellesley Fire Department is an inspiration," said PETA executive vice president Tracy Reiman in a statement. "Wellesley is very fortunate to have first responders who are ready to protect and serve both residents and their beloved animal companions."

The fire department will receive a framed certificate, a letter of appreciation, and a box of vegan chocolates from PETA.

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Follow us on Twitter: @yourwellesley, @jaclynreiss

Jaclyn Reiss can be reached at jaclyn.reiss@globe.com

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