The Man Who Trains Dogs to Perform Amazing Life Saving Water Rescues on Italian Beaches

Great Big Story visited with Ferruccio Pilenga, the proprietor of the Italian School for Lifeguard Dogs where he trains helpful canines to assist lifeguards in making water rescues during the busy summer season in the coastal town of Civitavecchia. The dogs go through 18 months of intense training that includes jumping from boats and helicopters.

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.