On the pristine shores of Konyaaltı beach in the Mediterranean province of Antalya, a life vest-sporting Belgian Malinois dutifully watches over swimmers. The 17-months-old Fox is Turkey’s first canine lifeguard – the only nonhuman member of a 55-strong crew monitoring this popular, 7-kilometer long beach.
Accompanied by his trainer, Ahmet Gödeler, the young hound ensures a rapid response to those struggling at sea. Having undergone an 11-month training program, Gödeler says Fox was now sensitive to people it spots in danger of drowning.
The pooch is ever-ready to leap to action, wading out to offer those in trouble a life jacket to cling onto as he pulls them to safety. In return, Fox is treated to his favorite toy, a tennis ball. Currently, Fox works alone on rescue missions, but a lifeguard will accompany him after another training session aimed at helping swimmers who fear dogs.
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