Doberman Thanks Fireman

Some photographs manage to touch our hearts.

No words are needed to express the emotional impact they have.  One such photo and a popular  dog photograph is that of the fireman being licked by a Doberman. The photo really is memorable and it’s easy to see why it’s so special.

But what’s the story behind it? Who is that fireman and doberman, and what happened?

Unfortunately like some things circulating on the internet, the story is not all factual. Thanks to the Snopes website we have the real story behind this photo. (Snopes investigates rumours and urban legends to get the real facts.)

red doberman licks firemans face
Credit: Patrick Schneider

Although the photo is real, the details have been altered a bit. The photo was taken during a house fire in 1999 and shows fireman Jeff Clark being licked by a pregnant, red Doberman named “Cinnamon”. The photo description has people believe that Cinnamon was thanking the firefighter for carrying her out the burning house, saving her life.

What, in fact, occurred at the time:

During the house fire, there was already one dog outside in the yard and another one ran out of the house on its own. It was at the moment that the firefighter knelt down and removed his mask, that Cinnamon walked over and licked him at the most opportune timing for photographer Patrick Schneider. The fireman didn’t really rescue the dog in some dramatic fashion like we may imagine.  But regardless of the exact details of the event, it’s still a beautiful moment between a human and a canine.

A heart-warming moment is frozen in time and preserved forever.

Jeff Clark works for the Charlotte Fire Department. Pregnant Cinnamon did give birth to five puppies and eventually passed away in 2005.  Thanks, Cinnamon and Jeff for this warm fuzzy moment, and Patrick for the great shot.

(An interview with Jeff Clark is available at


  1. Marina said:

    this particular picture may not be 100% true but i’m positive that there are firefighters that put their lives in danger every day to save not only humans but also our canine and feline “kids”. i thank them and its still a SPECIAL picture!!!

    December 26, 2014
  2. Will cook said:

    I love how this article talks about how people has taken this story to another level but the funny part is that was my dog. Her actual name is “persimmon” like the fruit that grows on trees. Only a sissy would name a clipped ear dockedtail Doberman pinscher cinnamon. Next thing the dog was never pregnant. She was spayed at like 1 year old. So next time an article is wrote about someone else dog how about you get the facts straight.

    August 21, 2014
    • Lyn said:

      well in that case I know quite a few sissies with cropped/docked dobes that have bore the name Cinnamon

      September 24, 2015
  3. tena said:

    I am a firefighter and the owner of 5 doberman, past and present. As a firefighter I can appreciate this photo without the story behind it. The picture speaks for itself. God bless all firefigther and all dobermans.

    November 16, 2011
  4. Kim said:

    Glad to see that someone is not passing this story off as ‘true’. :)

    October 26, 2011
  5. Kim said:

    Work of fiction. Check Snopes.

    October 26, 2011
  6. Debbie said:

    I really didn’t think the story was completely accurate, That being said though, there’s no denying that whatever the true story is, it’s still a wonderfully heartwarming photograph. One of my all-time favorites.

    September 15, 2011
  7. Luiz Lima said:

    It´s a lovely scene,The pregnant dog kissing the fireman.
    Animal have a pure sentiment, and gratitude that most the humans does not have.

    While more I know humans, I love more the animals.

    The local news, need to make an interview with this hero.

    Luiz Lima
    Brazil – Rio de Janeiro

    August 30, 2011
  8. Jeannie Vogel said:

    This such an unforgettable story, dog lovers know that dogs can truly communicate with us.

    August 23, 2011
  9. Jeannie Vogel said:

    Unforgettable, in my memory forever

    August 23, 2011
  10. Jenna Conway said:

    I <3 DOBES

    May 20, 2010
  11. celeda said:

    this maybe an old story ,yet i got it today in an email on july 28th,2009 .
    i work with animals have for over 12 yrs. all i gotta say is thank you to God, the fireman , the photographer & staff plus bless her soul cinnamon for such a BEAUTIFUL story !

    July 28, 2009

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