Pouch the Dog becomes “Chicago Fire” series regular starting tonight

It didn’t work too well when The Itchy & Scratchy Show tried to add “Poochie” into the mix, but NBC’s firehouse drama Chicago Fire is going to try adding a dog to its regular cast of characters when a mutt named “Pouch” gets adopted by the crew of Firehouse 51 starting in tonight’s (Jan. 30) episode.

To be fair, a dog in a firehouse makes more sense storywise then just the “edge” Poochie was intended to bring to Itchy & Scratchy (though the cuteness and “aw” factor of Pouch can’t be denied, and must have at least been partly a factor in the decision to add her, knowing how many in the viewing audience might feel about cuddly pups). Traditional lore, of course, is filled with tales of firefighters and their loyal dogs rushing to fight blazes, and in most of those cases, we might envision a Dalmatian. But, according to Chicago Fire co-executive producer and co-creator Derek Haas, that isn’t necessarily the case.

“I have yet to see a Dalmatian in any of the Chicago firehouses that we have visited,” Haas says. “We saw a dog like our Pouch while doing a ride-along with the Chicago Fire Department last summer. A kid offered his dog to the firemen and said it was either going there or it would have to go to the pound for adoption. … All firehouses have a million stories to tell about a firehouse dog, and we thought he would make a great addition. Pouch will literally grow up before our eyes. Plus, pets are great stress relievers, and firefighters and rescue squads are under tremendous pressure every day, so they will appreciate her presence as a working dog.”

Pouch is a mutt, a rescue puppy who acquired her moniker (which also happens to be her real name) from being “half pooch and half couch,” according to Haas. In tonight’s episode, when Pouch is introduced, firefighter Peter Mills (Charlie Barnett) discovers a wayward mutt and wants to keep him in the firehouse, but is overruled by Battalion Chief Wallace Boden (Eamonn Walker), and Mouch (Christian Stolte). Over time, the irresistible Pouch eventually is named and claimed by the entire fire-and-rescue team.

From the release, it sounds like Pouch, a female dog, may be playing a boy dog in the series, but it is not entirely clear. Either way, she looks to be a cute addition to Chicago Fire starting Jan. 30 at 10pm ET on NBC.

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Matt Dinerstein/NBC

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