EAST COUNTY (KGTV) - Heartland Fire & Rescue is mourning the death of its rescue dog, Stella.
The department made the announcement Saturday on its Instagram. Stella passed away after a battle with cancer, according to Heartland Firefighters of La Mesa. She was 11 years old.
Stella was with the department for nearly a decade. She worked alongside Captain Matt Kirk since 2009. They were paired together through the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation, which trains K9s to find people during disasters.
Stella has been on several deployments, including Hurricane Irma and the recent mudslides in Montecito, California. She was also part of Urban Search & Rescue Task Force 8, as a FEMA type 1 canine search dog.
“She will be greatly missed," the department said.
Thank you for your service, Stella!