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Last Updated: Thursday, 23 August 2007, 14:36 GMT 15:36 UK
Beach rescue dog alerts swimmer
Bilbo the life dog
Bilbo has had to pass swimming and fitness tests to join the team
Cornwall's first beach rescue dog has been praised for helping to prevent a swimmer getting into difficulties.

Bilbo, a 14-stone Newfoundland, is now an integral part of the Penwith Lifeguards based at Sennen Cove.

His quick-thinking stopped a tourist from entering the water when the currents were too dangerous.

"It was like he was saying to me 'it's too dangerous - don't go in'," said Lein Snippe, who is currently on holiday in the county.

"Bilbo, without any direction from me, just took straight off down the hill," said his handler, Steve Jamieson.

"He placed himself between her and the sea and just wouldn't allow her any access into the sea at all.

Bilbo patrols at Sennen Cove. Picture: Dawn Pummintr
Bilbo patrols at Sennen Cove

"When she did creep into the sea he swam in front of her."

Bilbo has had to pass swimming and fitness tests to join the team and spends his days patrolling Cornish beaches with his handler.

"The dog just came from behind and just seemed to be playing," said Ms Snippe.

"But the moment I got to the water it was almost blocking me, trying to avoid me going any further. The more I got in the more nervous the dog got."

"Basically he was telling me 'don't do it'."

The Newfoundlands' webbed feet and water-resistant coats make them ideal lifeguards.

Bilbo has his own lifeguard vest with safety messages written across it to warn holidaymakers not to go beyond the designated swimming and surfing areas.

See Bilbo patrolling the beaches


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