A few days ago, I reproduced a very eloquently written account of why the RNLI are one of the good charities, and one that I support wholeheartedly. This doesn't mean they are always right and in the case of Bilbo, the inappropriately named 90kg Newfoundland, they got it wrong.
Newfies are just amazing animals, the size of a bear and with a temprament as gentle as it is big, this dog is made for water and it is all owners can do to prevent them from jumping into rivers, pools, the sea, any body of water to rescue people who are out for a swim, whether they need rescuing or not.
Bilbo has been working the beat as a lifeguard on the beach at Sennen in Cornwall for a while now, but the RNLI banned him from working on H&S grounds. I would imagine that if you are becoming exhausted as you try to swim against a rip tide, the last thing on your mind as a mountainous rescue dog languidly paddles his way out to you is going to be, 'I hope I don't have an allergic reaction to this dog's fur' or 'His owner had better clean up after him when he craps on the beach.'
Thankfully common sense has prevailed and the RNLI have agreed that Bilbo can work the beach. Everyone seems very happy about it, and he's a great tool for educating the kids about how to look after yourself in the wet stuff, I think every swimming beach should have a Bilbo. They're cheap, don't spend all day checking out the passing talent when they should be keeping an eye on the shoreline and don't need to go on expensive diversity courses.
Speaking of which, how long before some arseclown starts complaining that a drowning Muslim would find being rescued by dog offensive?