Students at Elizabethtown-Lewis Central School got a little rowdy Monday, as they watched Rowdy spring into action.
Rowdy, a 140 pound Newfoundland, goes to school everyday with his owner, Ralph Holzhauer, a teacher and coach. The 8 year-old physical therapy dog is trained for water rescues.
"Most dogs will use a doggy paddle, and people have seen that. Newfoundlands, through the history of what they do, they have a breast stroke reach and pull -- fans out a little bit," Holzhauer said. "Part of the massive skeletal structure and their back and you can really see the shoulders working."
Students watched Rowdy perform a number of simulated water rescues as part of their water safety day at Camp Dudley in Westport.
"Rowdy must have practiced for doing that much with all those people watching him. If I were him, I would feel nervous," said student Ayla Fogelsanger.
Rowdy is trained to swim in the water for up to 20 minutes and can cover two miles in that time period. This reporter and a teacher decided to put Rowdy to the test -- falling off a small boat. In a matter of minutes, Rowdy reached us. We grabbed onto his tail as he brought us to shore.
Students say they learned several valuable lessons on their field trip. "Not to go into the water without a grownup," said Abigail Lindsay.
"You can learn off it, to help people who are endangered in the water," added AbdlWahad HadjBekkouche.
Man's best friend -- willing to risk his life to help someone in need.
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