If the Marvel franchise has given us anything to go by, becoming a superhero is incredibly exciting. Who wouldn’t want to read minds, stop time and fly, while saving your life?
However, as interesting as all this, any real comic book fan knows, there’s great power and great responsibility. And so anyone who wants to be a superhero must spend at least a few years learning to use their powers.
And while Xavier’s gifted teen school may seem like a fantasy, there’s a tiny, hidden school in Milan, Italy, that teaches exactly that to a group of brave puppies. The Newfoundland breed has been nicknamed the rescue dog, and with good reason.
In addition to their intelligence and gentle personality, these dogs are also known for bravely saving swimmers in distress. This is exactly why the Italian Coast Guard created a K9 special rescue unit.
The Newfoundlands can jump into the water from speed boats and hovering helicopters and use their immense power to pull a man ashore reliably.
To be able to do so, these wonderful dogs must train for a minimum of three years. Italian rescue dog school was founded more than 30 years ago by Ferruccio Pilenga with the sole purpose of preparing dogs and those handling them for underwater rescue.
The school is the only facility in Europe offering helicopter dog rescue classes that also cooperate with Italian national rescue teams such as Air Force, Police, Civil Defense, etc., to education and training. Said to have trained more than 350 dogs to date, the school offers a rigorous training course to teach these dogs to function at a high level, to develop their strength and stamina – to the point where Only one dog can tow a boat full of 30 people between 300 and 2000 meters!
On Italian beaches, more than 300 of these canines are on a mission to protect the millions of people who visit during the summer. Each year, the Italian Coast Guard can save about 3,000 people with the help of fellow Newfoundland companions.
With what started in the ’80s with just Ferruccio and his Newfoundland named Mas now expanded into a 10-campus organization with more than 30 instructors nationwide, it is clear that the face of water rescue is changing completely, and we are indebted to our four-legged friends.
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