Saturday, December 27, 2008

Newfoundland Takes To Rescue Duties Like A Duck To Water


Red Cross's Newest Recruit Is A Canine Volunteer

"The Red Cross’s newest recruit may not look like a typical volunteer, but it is more qualified than most to join the water rescue team.

"Loki, a 15-month-old Newfoundland, is following in the paw prints of its ancestors, which have a long history of saving stricken swimmers from stormy seas.

"The gentle giant, which already weighs almost nine stone and is still growing, is in training to become a member of the Red Cross’s flood response unit based at Inverness, the only dedicated team of its kind specialising in water search and rescue in the UK.

"Loki’s owner, Colin Lindsay, 50, of Ellon, has been a member of the team for eight years. He said the idea of Loki joining started as 'a bit of a joke'.

“'My boss has all the toys and somebody said you will need to get the next thing. Someone pointed out that we have a dog down in Aberdeen.'

"Mr Lindsay took Loki with him to a training session to Stirling University, where he took to his responsibilities like a duck to water.

"He said training sessions are a chance for Loki to have a play around just now, but the dog will start serious tuition in February and March. 'As soon as I put my gear on he goes daft, he totally changes and starts playing up and wants to be in the water.'

"Mr Lindsay said Loki will remain a pet, but will become the team’s mascot as well as a water rescue team member.

"Many people throughout history owe their lives to Newfoundlands’ instinctive abilities. Few ships in the 18th and 19th centuries set sail without a Newfoundland on board and in 1919 a member of the breed was awarded a gold medal for pulling a lifeboat with 20 shipwrecked people to safety."

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