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Push-button paws

Capt. Jerry Gabardi gives an order _ by remote control _ to Flashy, a mechanical Dalmatian that has joined the Oldsmar Fire Department. Flashy rides in a battery-operated firetruck and can communicate (thanks to a headset and microphones) with those the dog meets. Flashy and his truck, which can be controlled from 100 feet away, cost more than $6,000. The department has paid half of that and is taking contributions from businesses and individuals to help pay the remainder. To donate, call 855-1059.

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