Robert: Italian beaches employ dogs to serve as lifeguards

Published on August 16th, 2021 @ 12:00 PM


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The beaches of Italy have really gone to the dogs.

The Italian School of Water Rescue Dogs (Scuola Italiana Cani Salvataggio, or SICS) has successfully trained 350 canines to serves as lifeguards in the country.

The SICS program was created by Ferruccio Pilenga, who got the idea after noticing his Newfoundland, Mas, was an exceptional swimmer.

“He pulled a water-filled dinghy with three people on board for half an hour,” Pilenga said. “A human cannot do that.”

The program itself consists of 18 months of training, where the dogs will learn to perform tasks such jumping from helicopters and leaping from boats into the surf. Upon completion, the dogs are able to carry out rescues of multiple swimmers in situations where human lifeguards may be overwhelmed.

The dogs, along with their trainers, are credited with saving 20-30 lives annually.

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