The moving, inspiring story of Al, the ungainly, unruly, irresistible Newfoundland puppy who grows up to become a daring rescue dog and super athlete—part of Italy's elite, highly specialized corps of water rescue dogs who swoop out of helicopters and save lives.
Lynne Cox—acclaimed best-selling author of Swimming to Antarctica—is internationally famous for swimming the world’s most difficult waterways without a wet suit, and able to endure water temperatures so cold that they would kill anyone else, recognizes and celebrates all forms of athleticism in others, human or otherwise. And when she saw a video of a Newfoundland dog leaping from an airborne helicopter into Italian waters to save someone from drowning, Cox was transfixed by the rescue, and captivated by the magnificence, physicality, and daring of the dog.
Tales of Al is the moving, inspiring story of Cox’s adventures on Italy’s picturesque Lake Idroscalo, as witness to the rigorous training of one of these spectacular dogs at SICS, the famed school that has taught hundreds of dog owners how to train their dogs—Newfoundlands, German shepherds, and golden retrievers—for this rescue operation. Cox writes about coming to know the dog at the book’s center, Al herself, from puppyhood, an adorable but untrainable chocolate Newfoundland—about the dreams, expectations, disappointments, and vision of her trainer and about realizing the dog’s full potential; striving with all of her canine might to become an expertly trained, highly specialized water rescue dog.