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Meet The Amazing Dog Lifeguards of Italy

In the midst of Italy’s hot summers—when the beaches are full of swimmers—the lifeguards keeping everyone safe bring in some much-needed, four-legged assistance.We’re talking about water rescue dogs. Dogs make ideal lifeguard partners as they remain calm under pressure and instinctively choose the safest path through the water currents back to shore.

image/text credit: Great Big Story 

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.

They can even stay afloat while paddling multiple swimmers to safety. Through his Italian School for Lifeguard Dogs, Ferruccio Pilenga has trained more than 350 volunteer pups to execute water rescues. Now THAT’s a good dog!


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.