An Iowa firefighter helped pull a mastiff out of a burning building. With the dog facing euthanasia, he decided to adopt George.
Mastiff dog that a Des Moines firefighter adopts after he rescued him
Credit: Michael Ireland / Getty

An Iowa firefighter has a new best friend, a dog he stepped up to save from both a burning building and euthanasia.

Last month, firefighters in Des Moines responded to an apartment fire. As the crew worked to extinguish the blaze, they discovered a large, 16-month-old male mastiff. He was still alive, so they immediately began giving him oxygen.

According to a Facebook post by the City of Des Moines, the animal control department arrived and offered two options for the young dog: a possibly costly rehabilitation or euthanasia.

It's a decision no pet parent ever wants to be in, but with mounting medical bills on the horizon, the owner made the heartbreaking decision to put the dog to sleep.

One of the firefighters who helped pull the injured dog out of the building, Malcolm Cortner, decided to step in. He asked to adopt the dog and pay for the pup's health needs.

The mastiff—who has since be renamed George—underwent the necessary medical treatment he needed after the fire. In the before and after photo shared to Facebook, it appears the dog is doing much better than he was following the fire. "Congratulations to Firefighter Cortner who has a new best friend, George," the city writes.

We couldn't agree more! We bet Cortner will always have a devoted, loyal friend with George (and vice versa). Turns out, mastiffs have paid it forward for thousands of years as humankind's friends and protectors. They're large—OK, very large—yet gentle family dogs who are deeply loyal to their humans and eager to please. Probably the only downside? Lots and lots of drool.

After such a stressful start to their relationship, it seems that this faithful duo is meant to be together. We're so thankful for animal rescuers everywhere—especially Cortner, who saved George not once, but twice. A true hero in our book!