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Last Updated: Friday August 24 2007 14:39 GMT

Rescue dog joins beach patrols

Bilbo the rescue dog

A group of lifeguards have got an unusual new recruit - a 14-stone Newfoundland dog.

Bilbo had to pass special swimming and fitness tests before he could become Cornwall's first beach rescue dog. He's even been given his own lifeguard vest.

His water-resistant coat and webbed paws come in very handy and he's already been praised for stopping a swimmer getting into a stormy sea.

"It was like he was saying to me 'it's too dangerous don't go in'," she said.

Bilbo the rescue dog
Bilbo has his own float to help him save people
Bilbo, who spends his days patrolling the beaches at Sennen Cove in the south west of England with his handler Steve Jamieson, put himself between the woman and the water to stop her swimming when the currents were too strong.

Lein Snippe, who was on holiday in the area at the time, said: "The dog just came from behind and seemed to be playing but the moment I got to the water it was almost blocking me.

"The more I got in the more the nervous the dog got. Basically he was telling me 'don't do it'."

Now Bilbo's become a bit of a hero with local kids. One said: "I can't believe that's he's rescued people. That's pretty amazing."

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