WFD welcomes first mascot


Blaze newest crew member

By David J. Coehrs - [email protected]



Wauseon Second Assistant Fire Chief Jeremy Shirkey holds Blaze, the newest member of the crew.

Wauseon Second Assistant Fire Chief Jeremy Shirkey holds Blaze, the newest member of the crew.


The newest member of the Wauseon Fire Department is a blond, peppy, wriggly recruit taking on the duties of public relations – when he isn’t busy playing.

His name is Blaze, he’s a 12-week-old Goldendoodle, and he exhibits boundless energy for his job as the fire department’s first canine mascot. Two weeks into his stay at his firehouse home he has delighted the firefighters, EMS crews, and curious neighborhood children who have stopped by for an introduction.

Blaze will earn his kibble through participation in fire prevention and safety programs several times each year at the city’s primary school, where he will demonstrate to children how to stop, drop, and roll and check doors for heat.

“When we’re talking to the kids about fire safety, we’re going to have him with us. He’s part of our daily duties now,” said Second Assistant Fire Chief Jeremy Shirkey.

Blaze will also accompany the firefighters to school inspections and make appearances at community events, most likely including the Homecoming and the Fulton County Fair.

Donated by Riegsecker Kennel of Wauseon, and one of a litter of 11 puppies, Blaze has already won the hearts of the fire and EMS crews. His breed was suggested by Justin Riegsecker, who adopts out puppies for the kennel. Shirkey, who found Goldendoodles appealing for their hypoallergenic, non-shedding fur and their sweet temperament, agreed.

“They’re like the perfect family dog. They’re very eager to please, and they do great with children and other animals,” Riegsecker said. “They’re very intelligent. They’re just super smart.”

He said families who adopt the kennel’s Goldendoodles have reported how quickly the breed learns.

A standard Goldendoodle grows to up to 80 pounds. However, the kennel specializes in mini to medium-sized versions like Blaze that reach a full weight of 35 to 50 pounds.

Named for a character on the Nickelodeon Jr. cartoon series, “Blaze and the Monster Machines,” he was weaned among Australian Labradoodles and French bulldogs, the other breeds the kennel raises.

Shirkey said the Goldendoodle is quickly adapting to the various fire and EMS crews, all of whom care for him during their shifts. When not on duty, Blaze commands control of the fire station, happily bounding around and “getting into things” like a puppy would, he said.

First Assistant Fire Chief Phil Kessler said the firefighters have discussed a canine mascot for the last 1 1/2 years.

“It’s another way for us to reach out and interact with the community. It’s a different form, something we haven’t tried yet. And it’s another tool to reach out to the kids,” he said.

Blaze will become accessible to the public immediately, but won’t appear at primary school fire programs until he is further trained, Shirkey said.

Wauseon Second Assistant Fire Chief Jeremy Shirkey holds Blaze, the newest member of the crew.
http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/45/2016/01/web1_blaze.jpgWauseon Second Assistant Fire Chief Jeremy Shirkey holds Blaze, the newest member of the crew.
Blaze newest crew member

By David J. Coehrs

[email protected]

David J. Coehrs can be reached at 419-335-2010.

David J. Coehrs can be reached at 419-335-2010.