Rescue dogs

Baywatch on Four Legs – Italian Rescue Dogs | Highlights | DW

Valentina Renzopaoli and her Labrador Ettore plan to stand guard on Italian beaches for the first time this summer. Valentina is actually a journalist. But because Ettore grew from a tiny pup to a surprisingly huge Labrador, she had to find something for him to do.

Sendung: Dokumentation Baywatch auf 4 Pfoten - Italians Rettungshunde

This is how the two found themselves in training at the “SICS” (Scuola Italiana Cani Salvataggio), the first canine school in Italy. The training is intense. First, Valentina and Ettore practice rescuing sacks of stones from a cold lake near Rome every Sunday.

Sendung: Dokumentation Baywatch auf 4 Pfoten - Italians Rettungshunde

Under the strict but patient gaze of instructor Roberto Gasbarri, dogs like Ettore learn to trust their master or mistress completely. They learn while having fun, without coercion, explains Roberto. Newfoundlands and Labradors, in particular, are ideal rescue dogs, he says. “They stay calm even in stressful situations and are able to use water currents perfectly to find the safest way to shore.”

Sendung: Dokumentation Baywatch auf 4 Pfoten - Italians Rettungshunde

Animals like these can get three to five people to safety. SICS teams have thus saved dozens of lives. But the first place for Valentina Renzopaoli is her own swimming test, in April. And in June, the school’s founder, Ferruccio Pilenga, will come in person to take a second exam at Ettore. Will the dog and the mistress achieve their goal? The film accompanies Valentina and Ettore through ups and downs, capturing both stressful and beautiful moments.

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