Italy’s cutest lifeguards aren’t exactly tall, dark, and handsome. They’re a little…furrier. As more and more people head to the beautiful Italian beaches, the lifeguards bring in some canine companions to help. But they do way more than just look adorable. These dogs are trained lifeguards that can help save someone’s life.
In 1989, Ferruccio Pilenga started the Italian School for Lifeguard Dogs. His first student was his own dog, a Newfoundland named Mas. Since then, the school has trained hundreds of dogs to become certified lifeguards.
These pups go through 18 months of training, which includes things like learning how to jump out of a moving boat or helicopter. At the moment, there are over 350 certified rescue dogs that perform about 20 to 30 rescues per year.
Italy is currently the only country that recognizes dogs as actual lifeguards, but the trend may be catching on. People are starting to realize that dogs are really helpful in water rescues. They tend to remain calm, they choose the safest way back to shore, and they’re very useful in keeping both the rescuer and the person being saved afloat.
Human and dog lifeguards make quite the team. With their combined force and expertise, they can be more efficient when they jump into the water to save someone’s life. To see this six-legged unit in action, check out this video from Great Big Story:
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