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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

life saving dog of Marina to Bruno, the Newfoundland at Spain

Newfoundland is a large Canadian island 
off the east coast of the North American mainland. Long settled by indigenous peoples of the Dorset culture, this island was claimed as ‘newfoundland’ in 1983 by Sir Humphrey Gilbert as England's first overseas colony under Royal Charter.   It is home to a famous breed to –the Newfoundland is a working dog. Newfoundlands can be black, brown, white and black  or gray. They were originally bred and used as a working dog for fishermen in the Dominion of Newfoundland - known for their giant size, intelligence, tremendous strength, calm dispositions, and loyalty.

The sands of Marina are famous - the sandy shore runs from Fort St.  George to Besant Nagar.  Marina beach was  conceived in 1884 and christened by Mount stuart Elphinstone Grant-Duff, the then governor of Madras.  The beach famed for its beauty, ambience and rich eco system is lot polluted and at times is a bed of criminal activities too – in some stretches and at late hours.  Crowds throng the beach on holidays and in summer to enjoy the cool sea breeze.  – and alongside you find boards warning the beachgoers not to venture into the sea waters – sadly this  rarely deters determined fun-seekers from taking a swim.

Once in a while you read sad stories of youngsters getting washed away – making their parents and relatives grieve for the rest of their life.   There have been poignant tales of youth from distant places getting into the sea waters without realising the impending danger and getting killed.  There is Police patrolling but a few men on foot and on horseback cannot control the vast shores. Sometime back, there was news of a stray dog assisting the patrolling policemen and thus sharing their workload to some extent.  The dog provided help in preventing many people from drowning. Named Julie, it chased and barked at people ignoring safety norms and venture into the surfing waves of the sea, particularly during high tide. ~ it  particularly kept watch on kids trying to enjoy the foamy waves. ToI reported that there were no cases of drowning since Julie started 'patrolling' with the police.  Some felt that Police should be training more of such dogs.

Elsewhere in a Spanish resort there is another doing a job as a lifeguard as reported in Daily Mail.  Here are some excerpts :  A Spanish tourist resort is trying out the idea of using dogs as lifeguards - and the idea is working so well it could catch on elsewhere. The experiment in the coastal town of San Pedro del Pinatar, in the southern province of Murcia, began when a human lifeguard started taking his pet Newfoundland out to sea with him, and found he was not only an incredibly strong swimmer, he was also able to pull a very large weight. Since then 'Bruno' has been employed full time as a lifeguard, assisting his owner David Alvarez on rescues and convincing the local coastguard to recruit more dogs to help patrol the area.

Bruno's webbed feet and ultra-buoyant coat make him a natural swimmer. He also boasts an ability to swim up to three miles without tiring and can drag a load of up to one and a half tonnes; its owner Alvarez first purchased Bruno as a two-month-old puppy weighing only 15lbs, he didn't expect him to be anything more than a much-loved pet. But after taking him to the beach one day and allowing him to swim in the water, the lifeguard realised that his rapidly-growing canine friend might just have the potential to become a colleague.  And in the searing heat of the Spanish summer, there is nothing black-furred Bruno loves more than to cool off with a dip in the sea.

Although Bruno is making front-page news in Spain, he is actually following a long tradition of Newfoundland dogs being used for water rescue work.  Earlier there was a dog named Boo of the same breed that saved a hearing-impaired man from drowning in the Yuba River in Northern California.  It's not just his talent for swimming that makes Bruno an ideal lifeguard. His incredible strength and stamina means he can easily swim three miles before getting tired and needing a rest. Alvarez has also given Bruno a few strength tests and was shocked to discover he could quite happily drag water-filled plastic containers weighing up to one and half tonnes back to shore.  Bruno now is  easily capable of dragging a drowning - and often panicking - person back to the shore with the minimum of fuss. Bruno may be the first lifeguard rescue dog ever to be used in San Pedro del Pinatar, and it is apparent that he is unlikely to be the last too.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

12th Aug 2014.

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