If you ever find yourself in a life-threatening situation in the water, you might find yourself holding on for dear life to a large, furry dog. These ultra-talented dogs have been raised since puppyhood for this very thing.
Some incredible video footage and photos shows a big, black Newfoundland dog leap from a mid-air helicopter and down into choppy waters. The determined canine then swam with all his might, straight toward a person in the water.
The man adrift in the water grabbed on to the dog’s body and before long, the helicopter lifted them both into the air. This incredible scene was a rescue drill that this Newfoundland had no doubt been preparing for for months.
At The Italian School of Water Rescue Dogs, qualifying dogs are trained to perform in-water rescue missions. A dog will start his or her training at three months old and go through a series of rigorous exercises.
This organization has been training dogs for over two decades to swim, search, and rescue people from the water or otherwise assist human rescuers. And as it turns out, the Newfoundland was born for this line of work.
According to Crufts Magazine, the Newfoundland breed has “webbed feet, advanced swimming stroke, [and a] waterproof double coat for protection from cold waters.” Natural swimmers and incredibly strong, Newfoundlands are perfect candidates for performing water rescues.
According to Paulo Bozzo, one of the school’s dog trainers, using dogs in rescue missions “gives us that extra horse power to be able to reach somebody that’s in distress without being tired ourselves.” Working side by side with a canine companion significantly increases what can be accomplished in a rescue scenario.
The school has stated that one dog can pull up to 30 people in a lifeboat as far as 2,000 meters (a little over a mile). A fit Newfoundland by himself can drag anywhere from 12-15 people to safety.
During drills, the school will use helicopters to create waves, wind, and noise in order to simulate a realistic rescue scenario. This is a safe way for the dog to practice a high-stress rescue mission with tumultuous circumstances.
“We’re using their basic instinct that they have to retrieve and to rescue,” Bozzo shared with Crufts Magazine. The school will also train Labradors and Russian Terriers, both breeds with impressive stamina and instinctive impulses to rescue.
The Italian School of Water Rescue Dogs has tapped in to a, perhaps, underestimated resource: big dogs. Watching these adorable fur balls jump from an impressive height and perform a powerful rescue is heartwarming and inspiring.