Police officer Doug Armstead of Bluffton, South Carolina, suffered a tragedy on the first of December when his family’s house burned to the ground. Thankfully, he, his wife, and his five children were not in the house at the time; but sadly, their beloved dog Anni died in the fire.
Eric Swanson was one of the firefighters who arrived on the scene, along with his wife, Lottie Campenella, who’s on the Firefighter Assistance Support Team. Campenella watched as Armstead received the devastating news about their beloved Anni, and saw how heartbroken he was. Because Armstead serves his community every day and his family had just lost so much — right before Christmas, no less — she was determined to do something to help.
Campenella got the idea to present the family with a new puppy, but she wanted to make sure they were ready, first. So a few days after the fire, she contacted a neighbor of the Armstead’s, who confirmed that the family definitely wanted another canine companion. That’s when she put her plan into action.
This past Saturday, Santa and Mrs. Claus visited the Armstead’s temporary home, and were joined by friends and neighbors who wanted to help lift their spirits and lend their support. That’s when this family got the surprise of their life – Santa presented them with a German Shepherd puppy!
Watch the family’s heartwarming reaction:
Thanks to Campenella and her firefighter husband, they was able to make this family’s holiday a little bit brighter in the midst of a tragedy. Having a puppy around will be especially good for the kids’ morale, and will bring them happiness and comfort after losing everything they owned.
We wish the Armstead’s a very Merry Christmas, as well as Swanson and Campenella, whose thoughtful gift brought joy to a family who truly deserves it.
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