On Italian Beaches, Dog Lifeguards Are On Watch

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A labrador dog plunges into the sea during a patrol at Riva dei Tarquini in the Tyrrhenian Sea

By Francoise Kadri

TARQUINIA, Italy — This summer, Italy’s special squad of rescue workers were again chalking up success: some 300 dogs ready to help save lives on dozens of Italian beaches.

In early August in Tarquinia, a town about 100 kilometers (60 miles) north of Rome, the dogs and their human partners saved on the same day two girls, who had fallen off their boat and two others, who had fallen off an inflatable raft.

The labradors, golden retrievers and Newfoundlands trained by the Italian School for Rescue Dogs (http://www.waterrescuedogs.com/) are credited with saving more than 100 lives, including a dozen this year alone.

“Compared to the rest of the world, the school is the only one that systematically monitors beaches every summer with human-canine units,”
Roberto Gasbarri, the school’s coordinator for central-southern Italy, told AFP.

The teams work in most of Italy’s 20 regions, even landlocked ones such as northern Trentino Alto-Adige, where rescuers monitor lakes.

A labrador dog trained for rescue at sea, swims with his instructor during a patrol at Riva dei Tarquini, Italy

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