In the Family

A devoted Vizsla acts quickly during a life-threatening emergency.


My family has always loved dogs. When we finally reached a point in our lives where we could responsibly and comfortably care for one, we adopted a Vizsla from a local breed rescue and named him Winston. Being first time owners of the breed, our family’s life has changed!

Winston is a “Velcro dog” – our additional appendage who joins us everywhere. From vacation and the bathroom to the garbage and the curb, Winston is constantly there. But we never knew just how important he was to us until the events that occurred while our family was watching a Pittsburgh Penguins playoff hockey game.

Our whole family was watching the game at my parents’ house, including my brother, my brother’s family and, of course, Winston. Shortly after the night game began, my brother and his young family left. My dad, a life-long sports fanatic we call Grandpaw, was also there. He wasn’t feeling well at one point and went to rest in his bedroom, located at the other side of the house.

All of a sudden, Winston jumped to attention, disobeyed every command and broke through two pet gates. I ran after him into the bedroom. Grandpaw was on the bed, and Winston sat motionless at the foot of the bed, staring intensely at Grandpaw. I rushed him to the Forbes Regional Hospital, and the doctors there confirmed that Grandpaw had suffered a heart attack.

Grandpaw survived and during his hospital stay, I asked the doctors if Winston’s alert had helped him. The answer was yes. If Grandpaw had not arrived at the hospital when he did, he most likely would not have survived the heart attack.

Winston’s veterinarians at Delmont Veterinary Clinic in Pennsylvania said that some dogs are gifted “sensory animals,” and it seems like Winston is one such gifted dog. Even though we adopted Winston, it’s as though he adopted our entire family just to keep us safe.

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