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The Daily Beast - Cool Canine Lifeguards - August 24, 2010

Toronto Star Picture Editor Wanda Goodwin highlights images of these cool canine lifeguards in Italy.

They leap from helicopters or speeding boats, bringing aid to swimmers who get into trouble off Italy’s popular beaches.

For these canine lifeguards, the doggie paddle does just fine.

Hundreds of specially trained dogs form Italy’s corps of canine lifeguards, are deployed each summer to help swimmers in need of rescue.

These “lifedogs” wear a harness or tow a buoy that victims can grab, or a raft they can sit on to be towed back to shore, and unlike their human counterparts, they can easily jump from helicopters and speeding boats to reach swimmers in trouble.

APTOPIX Italy Canine Lifeguards

Salvataggio-Italian School of Canine Lifeguards, lifeguard dogs of the Italian school perform a makeshift rescue operation at an international lifeguard meeting in Winterbach, Germany.  (AP Photo/Courtesy of Italian School of Canine Lifeguards) 

Italy Canine Lifeguard(2)

Mas the dog, and his lifeguard and school founder Ferruccio Pilenga, perform a rescue during a training at Isola D'Elba island, Italy. (AP Photo/Courtesy of Italian School of Canine Lifeguards)

Italy Canine Lifeguard(3) A terranova dog jumps from a lifeguard boat during a training in Isola D'Elba island, Italy.  (AP Photo/Courtesy of SICS Italian School of Canine Lifeguards)

Italy Canine Lifeguard(4)

 Alyssha the dog, and her lifeguard Donatella Pasquale, are lowered from a helicopter during an exercise at Lago D'Iseo lake, Italy.  (AP Photo/Courtesy of Italian School of Canine Lifeguards)

Italy Canine Lifeguards

Mas the dog, jumps from a helicopter ahead of his lifeguard and school founder Ferruccio Pilenga, during a patent test at Lago D'Iseo lake Italy.  (AP Photo/Courtesy of Italian School of Canine Lifeguards)


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tht is sooo cute

Sure heroic dogs!

It should be stated that the breed shown in these photos are Newfoundlands.

Yet another reason why they will always be our best friends. Man, dogs are so super awesome.

Newfys at their best!!!!

Are the brown ones Newfies, too?

While I love to see these dogs being heroic and loyal, this is just one more example of how humans train dogs to do all of the dangerous things that they don't want to do. These pictures just go to show that people think dogs are much more expendable.

Yes, the golden brown ones are Newfs, too. It is a relatively rare but not unheard of color. They also can be a chocolate brown, charcoal gray, or with big black and white patches (those are called Landseer Newfoundlands, after the painter who loved to paint them). It may be a dangerous job, but Newfoundlands love to do it, and will do it instinctively. I have a friend who went to a summer camp as a child where they had some Newfs. They had a heck of a time trying to swim in the lake, because the Newfs kept rushing in and hauling them out.

to Annie Milne:

Each dog breed has a specific "job" that is instinctual to them. Do you believe we should keep Retrievers from going out and retrieving the ducks that have been hunt? Do you believe that we should stop allowing Border Collies to shepherd sheep?
The most cruel thing that humans do to dogs? Not allowing the dog to do what they love and need to do. I have seen that Border Collie that was not "worked", they were neurotic. I have seen that Newfoundland that was kept out of the water, he self mutilated himself in boredom. I have seen that Retriever that was not allowed to hunt, he destroyed the furniture in the house.
It is a blessing for a dog to have a human companion that recognizes their talents, and allows them to live their life to the fullest.

"While I love to see these dogs being heroic and loyal, this is just one more example of how humans train dogs to do all of the dangerous things that they don't want to do. These pictures just go to show that people think dogs are much more expendable."

On the contrary, this just shows people that any and all dogs have immense worth. For anyone who is rescued by a dog, they will never think that the dog was just an expendable tool, but rather that the dog was their savior. And it's not something humans don't want to do. We can and do save each other's lives each and every day. The difference is that dogs are more uniquely suited to certain situations. As mentioned in the article, they, unlike humans, can jump from a helicopter or from a speedboat with no damage. Seconds are valuable in rescue situations.

To Ms. Milne:
Unfortunately you have not had the pleasure of having a working breed. Although some dogs are not suited for work, this is a breed who if left to be a house dog, would rather die as many other working breeds. They exist to do a job and many times will lose their mental balance without a regular task. Dogs are pack animals and even in a wild pack environment, they would each have a job. This training school is an exellent example of humans understanding the ability of this specific breed and the breed proving their capabilities. I suggest you do some research on the evolution of the domestic dog as well. There is nothing a dog wants more than to be a human companion so if your for example were the Newfoundland, Golden Retriever or Labrador Retriever pet of a member of a Coast Guard helicopter rescue unit, what would you want to do?

We have newfoundlands past and present, and saving lives in the water is instinctive for them. The only training is the methods. We learned this several times, the first when we took our then 6 month old newfie girl to a recreational lake, and she jumped out of the car, into the water, swam 100 yards out and started circling a swimming teenage boy and tried to grab his bicep to haul him back in. She repeatedly herded little kids out of the water on the coast. She also would try and teach other dogs how to swim. She was never taught, she just swam and rescued instinctively. They're spectacular in the water - it's a joy to watch and they are so happy.

I find it interesting that the third picture calls it a "terranova" dog - New Land in Latin. I think the translation got lost from the Italian to the English :

Wow, wonder how they'd go in surf?

I've seen these pictures at various sites now and i simply can't get enough of them. These dogs are fantastic!

My Canine Heroes !!!

Ahh I love your photos! This is just great. These dogs are absolutely amazing!

I had two newfs in my lifetime - my first jumped in after a family member when he dove into a lake - they have natural instincts when it comes to the water and rescues. Glad to see others with them have had similar experience. They really are awesome dogs in so many ways - extremely, loving, protective, playful, sweet. Sadly both have passed away. Great post :0

To own a newfie is to be owned by a newfie. There sweet gentle disposition make the ideal babysitters. I never had to worry when my kids were little, my Newfies were always there to keep the kids in bounds of the property. Swimming was always a fun challenge. These dogs have a underlying coat of oil and webbed feet which makes them natural to the water. Mine vwere difficult to keep out of my pool, lake or wherever we have been swimming for the day. They will jump from just about any height to water if they feel you are in danger. (If you are in the water you must need saved!). On land, their instinct to tow is also prevalent. I love these dogs. They are by far one of the easiest breeds I have trained!

Newfies are an awesome breed, and the best pets and friends one can have!!!

Responding to Caitlin on 8/27: We have had a Newfie for 5 years, and she does not have a "job". We have never had her in rescue training or had her do any of the classic Newfie "work." Despite this, she is extremely well-balanced and happy. We have 6 people in our family, so we're her pack, and I assume this is what makes her feel settled and happy. In the summer, she does love to swim in our pool for leisure and to cool down; there are times when she likes to "rescue", but it is more of a game with her when my husband runs and jumps into the pool; she always likes to go in and "rescue" her. I guess this is enough "work" for her. Again, though she's a working breed, she is quite happy being a family member, patrolling our yard and chasing squirrels. I would never tell anyone not to get a Newfie if they didn't plan on it being a "working" dog. They are the PERFECT pet in all ways! A little drool now and then, some fur around the house, needing to be dried off after hanging out at the pool or in the rain, but, otherwise PERFECT!

Dear Ashley, who actually posted the comment everyone is bashing,
Ignoring that dogs are bred for these things, I don't think it's so much an issue of dogs being expendable, so much as it might be an issue of them costing way less to do things like this. When a human is a rescue worker, you have to insure them, pay them a wage, and you have to find one willing to do it before you can do any of that.
And, they are more expendable than humans. I'm sorry, but if you see a dog and a person about to get run over by cars, you save the person, not the dog, right? That's because human life holds a higher value. I mean, I love dogs, but they aren't going to cure cancer or anything.

Nice Puppies Images. I Like It. Thank U.

nufies are amazing, mine saved my life when i was younger!

These dogs are both beautiful AND amazing!

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