The Newfoundland is an excellent dog to use for therapeutic reasons as it has a reassuring and devoted demeanor, but it has even more to offer. His main historical use is that of a search and rescue dog. His personality lends this dog to being a compassionate source of comfort for an ailing person as well as to the extreme rigors of saving a drowning, struggling person. And the explanation for this versatility can be found in the large, cuddly and somewhat deceiving physique of the Newfoundland.
Despite his weight and outward appearance, the Newfoundland has great muscle mass underneath his double coat and an unassuming behavior. The Newfoundland started out historically as a working dog breed, making use of its incredibly strong legs. Fishers and farmers had them haul carts of fish and wood, respectively, among other goods. They were even sometimes used as sled dogs.
Eventually, those in the water activity industries took notice of the Newfoundland dog's strong legs with their webbed toes. Like a duck, Newfoundlands have skin in between their toes to make traction in the water easier for them. They also possess lungs that have enormous capacities. The tail of the high stamina Newfoundland even gets in on the act as it behaves like a paddle when he swims. His water resistant double overcoat keeps him dry and warm near his skin.
The stories of a Newfoundland carrying a lifeline to a drowning victim from a ship are numerous. Because the Newfoundland has such an innate sense of when danger is present, they make an ideal pet choice for families with children. Families who reside near water would be especially of great discretion to own a Newfoundland. They make great personal lifeguards for the accident prone or novice swimmer.
The wonderful thing about a Newfoundland is that they are good in a drowning victim rescue situation, they are not fearful of the water and they do not need to be taught how to swim. They quicken a rescue mission and they save rescue authorities time, money, and resources in training them since they already know what to do. And the intelligence of this breed just furthers its search and rescue ability.
When a swimmer is awake but an undercurrent has gotten too strong for him or he has cramped up, the Newfoundland will swim out and let the person grab onto him. The Newfoundland will then carry in tow a stranger to shore. The smarts of the Newfoundland will make him grab a hold of a drowning victim with his mouth if he perceives that the person is unconscious. The Newfoundland is not just man's best friend, he is more like man's and woman's guardian angel.