Firefighters who saved dog have to give back Ellen gift


Firefighters who saved dog have to give back Ellen gift

By Joyce Lupiani. CREATED Jan 17, 2014

A group of firefighters that rescued a dog named Crosby from a frozen Massachusetts river got a big thank you gift from a TV talk show host, but they have to give it back.

The four Wellesley firefighters risked their lives to save a struggling pooch from the Charles River last month.

Once talk show host Ellen DeGeneres heard about it, she invited them on her show.


She gave the firefighters Caribbean cruise tickets because she said they deserved to go "somewhere warm."

Unfortunately, the firefighters were forced to return the tickets. According to a state ethics law in Massachusetts, public servants cannot accept gifts worth more than $50.

However, they did get to keep the monogrammed and bedazzled orange life vests they were also given because they were considered novelty gifts and not of value to anyone else.

In addition, Ellen's show paid for the firefighters to fly out to California to make an appearance. The appearance was viewed as an opportunity to promote a good public service story, so the tickets did not qualify as a gift.

The dog was rescued on Dec. 22 by Fire Captain Jim Dennehy, Lieutenant Paul Delaney, Dave Papazian and Joan Cullinan.

The dog had chased a squirrel onto the thin ice and fell into the river when the ice broke.

Joyce Lupiani

Joyce Lupiani

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Joyce Lupiani, who is based in Las Vegas at KTNV-TV Channel 13, is a contributor to