Littlehampton lifesavers get a rare treat – a visit from specialist rescue dogs

​​At an end of summer season of Open Water training and exams, Littlehampton Wave Life Saving Club members, had a rare treat.
Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

They are their mascot ‘Norman The Newfy’, hosted a visit from a team of six Newfoundland dogs and their handlers from ‘Newfs In Action’ for an extended training session on the beach.

All Newfoundland dogs are very strong swimmers and those in this group had been trained in some special ‘Newfy-rescue’ techniques.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Their work up to now had taken place mainly in inland waters, so for most, this was their first foray into the sea and thankfully, after so many days of bad conditions, the weather and the waves were kind.

The dogs and memebers of the club. Picture: Littlehampton Wave Lifesaving ClubThe dogs and memebers of the club. Picture: Littlehampton Wave Lifesaving Club
The dogs and memebers of the club. Picture: Littlehampton Wave Lifesaving Club

After much pampering and petting from club members and the public in the gazebos set up outside The Wave Leisure Centre, members of The Wave Life Saving Club, and guests from Horsham Life Saving Club, were invited, after a safety briefing, to be ‘pretend casualties’ in the sea opposite Mewsbrook Park.

The Newfs were each brought to the beach in turn by their handlers and demonstrated how they’d been taught to ‘rescue casualties’ either singly or in small groups. Once the dogs had got used to coping with the waves and then braved the new conditions, all the ‘casualties’ had the very strange experience of being towed ‘to safety’ in a totally new way – something very different for both the dogs and the very enthusiastic youngsters.

They were joined as spectators by Freddie Tandy, mayor of Littlehampton, and the Royal Life Saving Society UK President Debbie Hunt who had travelled from Kent to be present and a large number of Sunday morning promenade walkers.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

‘Norman’ the Wave LSC mascot was modelled from a photograph taken of one of the Newfs owned by the group organisers Phil and Cheryl Payne. Quite what the real Newfs made of their new buddy wasn’t entirely clear, but they seemed disappointed he didn’t chose to venture into the sea to join in the fun.

The Newfoundland dogs and ‘casualties’ all wore life jackets, as even strong swimmers can get in trouble, so as we head into the autumn and winter keeping dogs on lead near the water is the safest thing to do.