Diana Papp trains rescue dogs

Diana Papp trains rescue dogs

On X App we regularly introduce you to colleagues who have interesting hobbies, are engaged in other artistic, sports or noble activities in addition to work. One of them is Diana Pappová, who has been part of OZ SAR DA Slovakia for more than five years. It is an association of volunteer cynologists-rescuers who train rescue dogs and also help rescue services in searching for lost people in forests, meadows or people who may be buried in ruins. Diana works in the Human Resources department, in personnel service.

How did you get into training rescue dogs?

I took a dog from a shelter. The Sandra was already an adult and I wanted to find a suitable filling for her. We had completed basic obedience training when I accidentally learned that there was a group of volunteer rescue cynologists operating in Košice. I went to see their training and stayed there. I have been working at OZ SAR da Slovakia since August 2018.  My is still with me, but since she's old, I train with her just for fun. At trainings, I help my fellow volunteers in preparing their dogs.

What does rescue training look like?

It's challenging. It takes about 2-3 years for the dog to prepare for exams. In order for the dog to be ready for work and its performance to be stabilized, it takes about another year or two. We train our dogs to handle as many different situations as possible that may arise during the search and to be reliable. We practice special search scent work every week in various forests and meadows around Košice. At the same time, we also engage in demanding obedience training, which is part of rescue tests. We're still learning.. In addition, we go to demonstrations of the work of our rescue teams or organize cynological events. In addition to dogs, we prepare handlers and helpers for the work of a rescuer, and our members undergo 33 hours of first aid training, topographic training. We have various lectures on the spread of odors or exercises that imitate real deployment. In our organization, we have teams that have obtained IRO MRT certification in ruin search and IRO MRT in area search.  These are the most difficult international tests of searching in ruins or areas, simulating real deployment, for which dogs and handlers have been preparing for years.


What breed is best trained to be a paramedic?

Any, although, of course, there are breeds that have a greater predisposition to such work. They are working or hunting dogs. However, various crossbreeds are often very smart and can be very reliable. We have different breeds in the group - both purebred dogs and the best dogs from shelters.

How big is your community?

Our civic association operates in two cities – Bratislava and Košice.  We have 14 members in Košice and 8 members in Bratislava.

Do the police or firefighters turn to you when they need help finding a lost person?

Yes. When a search is announced, we are also approached by the police.

How often are you involved in the search?  What are the most interesting searches you have participated in?

Only experienced dogs tested by tests take part in the search operations. Our involvement is very individual. It is always up to the competent to decide.  It also happens that we are called to a search operation, however, by the time we arrive at the place, the action is called off, because fortunately the lost person has been found. In search actions, it is impossible to talk about which are interesting or not. But we took part, for example, in the search for a senior who went for a walk in the forest. Among other teams, our team was deployed - our instructor Dagmar with a Ziva, who managed to find the unfortunate master. Supercooled, soaked, but alive. Because of such moments, it is worth training for years.


What is your radius of action?

Since our organization operates in Bratislava and Košice, we are mostly involved in searching around these places.  From Košice, we were furthest on a search in Pavlovce. But of course, we are not the only organization of volunteer cynologists rescuers. There are several of them in Slovakia.

What about the cost of training, but also of search operations?

All costs of training and search operations are covered by ourselves. We are helped by contributions from 2 percent.

Does your family support you? Do your colleagues know about this hobby?

It wouldn't have been possible without the support of the family. It is a time-consuming activity.. My colleagues also know that I am engaged in this activity. Since these searches can be called at any time, I sometimes have to take leave in a hurry. Fortunately, I have a great supervisor. If I can, it will allow me to do so.

You mentioned that in June there will be the FCI World Rescue Dog Championship for the first time in Slovakia. Will you participate? Will you be involved in their organisation?

It's a big deal for the rescue community. The World Championships will take place from June 12 to 16 in Martin and Banská Bystrica. They will be attended by national teams not only from European countries such as Germany, Italy, Slovenia, the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria or Switzerland, but also from various countries around the world from Argentina, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, Brazil or India. There will be three categories of competition – desktop search, ruins and tracks.  Of course, the best of our organization will take part in these championships and other members will also help organizationally. But it is also very expensive. That's why a fundraiser is announced on Donia  Support the organization of the FCI World Rescue Dog Championship 2024 | Donio, for those who would like to support this event.

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