MENDON, NY (WROC) — When Assistant Chief Michael Koch with the Fishers Fire District isn’t busy responding to emergencies, he’s a full-time veterinarian. When he has the time, he manages to combine those two passions. 

“I’ve been part of some CPR classes and first aid classes for first responders, correct,” said Koch.

As in, he teaches fellow firefighters first aid for our four-legged friends. During an emergency, they are in need, too.  “Just as much as a person could potentially, sure,” said Koch.

It was just a number of weeks ago when Koch responded to a vehicle rollover on Route 490 in Victor. Both the drivers and their canine companion were in need of some medical attention. 

“This was a bulldog, bulldogs inherently have abnormal airways, so when they get overexerted, they get overheated. They tend to put more stress on their airways,” said Koch.

The drivers and the bulldog walked away with only minor injuries. 

Lt. Drew Kusimano and others say Chief Koch’s dedication here — and moral compass — is as good as it gets. 

“He’s really somebody that we look to, that we admire, you know, he’s a mentor to us,” said Kusimano.

“Chief Koch is a volunteer, he’s taking time away from his family, and his profession, and his own personal well-being for the community,” said Michael Haydanek with the Fishers Fire District.

Koch says to be on a scene and have the ability to combine his knowledge of first aid and his love for animals– makes everything worth it. “People care about their animals, and no one wants to see an animal suffer,” he said.