Meet the canine lifeguards of Italy

Sure, we’ve all seen videos of dogs surfing. But did you know that in Italy dogs can also be lifeguards?

That’s right: Italy has a fleet of dog lifeguards that assist human lifeguards in rescuing swimmers during the influx of tourists in the summer months.

Through his Italian School for Lifeguard Dogs, Ferruccio Pilenga has trained more than 350 volunteer pups to execute water rescues in Toscolano-Maderno. After about 18 months, the rescue dogs can jump from speeding boats and helicopters safely to help with rescues.

As Pilenga says in the video, “To be able to use a dog in a water-rescue mission gives the rescuer a leg up. The rescuer operates on his own, alone. We are never alone; we are always in a team with our dog, so it’s a six-leg unit.”

While Italy is the only country that recognizes dogs as being viable lifeguards, the course is spreading internationally. Dogs are used on rescue teams of all types around the world, and being naturally good swimmers, it makes sense to employ them as lifeguards.

Just one more reason to show they’re man’s best friend.

h/t Great Big Story

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