Kennedy resident Deborah Bizek (center) with the help of Draper, her grand champion Dachshund, present members of the Kennedy Township Volunteer Fire Department with two resuscitation masks for animals. They are pictured with (left to right) Deputy Chief George Plutto, Firefighter Todd Westerhoff, Chief Matt Marko and Keith Etling, president of the Western Pennsylvania Dachshund Club.
By Elizabeth Perry
The Western Pennsylvania Dachshund Club commemorated National Dachshund Day by donating two resuscitation masks for animals to the Kennedy Township Volunteer Fire Department.
Pet resuscitation masks are specially shaped and can save an animal’s life during a fire by properly providing oxygen. Animals tend to hide during a fire, rather than try to escape, which leaves them more vulnerable to asphyxiation.
Kennedy resident and Dachshund aficionado Deborah Bizek is the club member who suggested her hometown department receive the club’s annual donation.
She’s the owner of Ike and Draper; two prize-winning Dachshunds that have competed and won alongside some of the most successful show dogs in the country.
“I have had dogs all my life, but I’ve finally had the right dogs at the right time,” Bizek said, adding that she’s been participating in dog shows for the past seven years.
The retiree began her hobby after working at Alcoa for 47 years.
So far, the Dachshund Club has donated to three different fire departments. They gave a cash donation to Hanover Township, and more animal resuscitation masks in Brooksville and Reynoldsville.
Dachshunds don’t leap to mind when it comes to service and rescue, but their owners have a different perspective.
A former member of the Western Pennsylvania Dachshund Club has trained her dogs to locate missing people.
Monica Galley of Greensburg owned the only certified search and rescue Dachshund, Allie, in the State of Pennsylvania.
“Allie and I were a team,” Galley said.
Sadly, Allie passed away in April at age 15.
Galley described her as a once-in-a-lifetime kind of dog.
Bizek said the Dachshund breed started out as dogs who hunted badgers.
“They’re very fierce. It’s like a big dog in a small package,” Bizek said.
When she walks her energetic pups, she says she’s holding back 60 pounds of muscle.
“I have the best biceps in Stanford Court,” Bizek said.
Draper has his Canine Good Citizen title.
Before Bizek’s mother passed, he visited her in a nursing home.
“He is pretty unflappable and good with canes, walkers, wheelchairs, people reaching for him,” Bizek said.
For their next project, the 40-member club is leaning toward donating identification vests for canines in law enforcement, Bizek said. According to their facebook page, the Western Pennsylvania Dachshund Club is the second oldest American Kennel Club regional dachshund club in the United States of America.
“I have a whole group of people who are as crazy about dogs as I am,” Bizek said.