In the peak of summer in Italy, when swimmers flock to the beaches and lakes, the lifeguards keeping everyone safe bring in some much-needed assistants who are masters of dog paddling — something that shouldn’t come as a surprise since they are, well, dogs.
That’s right, in Italy, an elite squad of 300 specially-trained canines has successfully been keeping beachgoers safe by working as lifeguards. It was these life-saving canines that recently rescued 14 bathers struggling in high wind and waves at sea, near a beach between Naples and Rome.
The animals helped rescue a group of people who got in trouble 330 feet off the shore of Sperlonga, on Sunday. The group — made of three families including eight children between the ages of six and 12 — were struggling to get back to the shore after their inflatables, dinghies, and surf equipment started to fail in strong wind and waves, as reported by CNN.
When the group started experiencing difficulty getting back to the shore, a family member on the beach began calling for help and captured the attention of three dog units close by, said Roberto Gasbarri, who is responsible for the center-south department of Italian rescue dog school SICS. The school patrols about 30 Italian beaches with 300 dog units, each with one dog and one trainer.
With the help of lifeguards at nearby beaches, the three dogs, named Eros, Mya, and Mira, successfully brought the group to shore in about 15 minutes. According to Gasbarri, dogs are “fundamental” in Italy’s lifeguard rescues, especially when it comes to rescuing multiple people since big groups would be too much for just a couple of lifeguards to handle.