Page last updated at 13:16 GMT, Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Fire crews pilot new dog rescue

Les Moulsdale with new recruit Paddy
Les Moulsdale with new water rescue recruit Paddy the Newfoundland dog

Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service is to pilot a new lifesaver - a Newfoundland dog - who will be part of the Marine Rescue Team.

Three-year-old Paddy will be used for rescues in water and wetland areas.

The dogs, originally used by fishermen, have never been used professionally by an emergency service in the UK, a fire service spokeswoman said.

A second dog, a five-year-old called Murphy, will be used in schools as part of a water safety campaign.

Les Moulsdale is a crew member with the team and owns three Newfoundland dogs.

He said: "Paddy is trained for actual rescue work because he is so switched on and so fast at what he does.

"We have worked with him since he was six months old and I always thought he would be a fantastic rescue dog on the river."

Mr Moulsdale and wife Judith demonstrated just how adept Newfoundlands are during the World Firefighters Games when Paddy scooped a gold medal in the Iron Dog competition, rescuing a casualty from the Salthouse Dock.

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