The skinny

The skinny: Canine lifeguards doggie paddle to the rescue

when in rome

lifeguards doggie paddle to the rescue

They leap from helicopters or speeding boats, bringing aid to swimmers who get into trouble off Italy's popular beaches. For these canine lifeguards, the doggie paddle does just fine. Hundreds of specially trained dogs are deployed each summer. These "lifedogs" wear a harness or tow a buoy that victims can grab, or a raft they can sit on to be towed back to shore, and unlike their human counterparts, they can easily jump from helicopters and speeding boats to reach swimmers in trouble. It takes three years for the canines to reach expert rescue status, and currently 300 dogs are fully trained for duty, said Roberto Gasbarri, who coordinates the Italian School of Canine Lifeguards program at a center outside of Rome in the seaside town of Civitavecchia. The school will train any breed, as long as they weigh at least 66 pounds, but Labradors, Newfoundlands and golden retrievers are most commonly used because of their natural instinct for swimming.

new york news

Lady Liberty's nose can be yours

A copper casting of the tip of the Statue of Liberty's nose is among a collection of iconic items that will be auctioned off next month in New York City. Guernsey's auction house president Arlan Ettinger says the casting is one of four that was made during a restoration effort in the 1980s. One was used on the statue, one was destroyed and another is in a private collection. He says the piece to be auctioned is about 2 feet wide, consisting of the tip and the area around the nostrils.

new york news II

Hey, Florida, missing a gator?

A 2-foot-long alligator was spotted under a car in, of all places, New York City. Animal Care and Control experts removed the critter from the Queens street on Sunday afternoon. They aren't sure how the alligator got there. Spokesman Richard Gentles says the agency rescues two to four alligators, crocodiles or caimans in the city every year.

bill of rights

He's fighting for Ne-VAH-da

The misuse of one little vowel frustrates a lot of Nevadans who get irritated by the mispronunciation of the state's name — using an "ah" instead of "a." Outgoing Assembly member Harry Mortenson is proposing more tolerance. The Las Vegas Democrat is working on a resolution for the 2011 legislative session to make the "Ne-VAH-da" pronunciation equally acceptable to the one with the short "a." He says he's not asking Nevadans to change. He just wants the Spanish pronunciation recognized. Nevadans have long bristled over the issue. In 1944, Reno newspapers even scolded former heavyweight boxing champion Jack Dempsey for his "East Coast" pronunciation during an appearance.

Compiled from Times wires and other sources.

The skinny: Canine lifeguards doggie paddle to the rescue 08/23/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 1, 2011 6:12pm]

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