A vet and her heroic hound have become one of the first canine water rescue teams to be certified by both the International and Belgian Lifesaving Federation.

Bettina and Merita
Bettina Salmelin and Merita.

Bettina Salmelin, veterinary surgical intern at Vets Now Referrals in Swindon, undertook rigorous training with her Newfoundland, Merita, to obtain the accreditation.

Rescue tasks

The pair’s tasks included:

  • rescues of conscious, unconscious, easy and difficult patients
  • towing multiple patients in the water at the same time
  • towing boats for long distances

Dr Salmelin also had to demonstrate canine and human first aid and CPR, carry an adult patient from the water on to dry land, and lift a dog back into a boat after the rescue.

The exercises were conducted between 100 and 200 metres from the shore, while the animals swam more than 2.5km during the session.

Real teamwork

Dr Salmelin said: “It was tough because it tested us physically and technically, but it was definitely a great day. The dogs really enjoyed it – they were wagging their tails and watching the other dogs, but were always ready for their turn.

“It was great because we were working with the dogs throughout the day instead of just sending them alone. It was real teamwork. I am very proud of them.“

It took Dr Salmelin about five years to train Merita to the required standard. She has previously certified two other Newfoundlands as Belgian Lifesaving Federation water rescue dogs.

View your activity >

Leave a Reply

Be the First to Comment!

Notify of
avatar

wpDiscuz

related content

A world-renowned animal cancer specialist is to collaborate with UK vets and share his expertise during a sabbatical with Fitzpatrick Referrals Oncology and Soft Tissue Hospital.

5 mins

Sarah Heath looks at the emotional motivation for dog bites and explains the profession’s role in improving understanding of canine mental health.

23 mins

Five charities share £3,000 donation from RCVS, provided in lieu of the college sending out Christmas cards.

4 mins

Pet insurance is “a mess” and unless the veterinary profession and insurance industry collaborate more effectively, clients face a future of rising premiums and reduced cover, leading insurance specialists have said.

5 mins

Bayer’s third canine ophthalmology training video is now available: examining the cornea.

5 mins

Dan Skeldon looks at various treatment methods for this prevalent joint disease affecting canine patients.

27 mins