Nico, a 3-year-old Bernese Mountain Dog recently adopted from a shelter, had probably never been in the ocean before. But when he heard a man and woman yelling for help Thursday afternoon in Ventura, Calif., he rushed in to save them.
The two unidentified swimmers were in a dangerous rip current that makes it almost impossible to swim to shore. The woman was caught in it first, and then the same thing happened to the man when he tried to rescue her.
Nico “went right up to the side of the Boogie Board and swung his body around where they were swimming,” Dan Clarke, his dog dad — who happens to be a former lifeguard — told KTLA.
“I just said, ‘Grab him anywhere you can.’ She put her arm around his chest, and was hanging onto the Boogie Board with one arm.”
Nicole Clarke said she teared up when her husband called her and told her about Nico’s heroic act.
“I know how treacherous it is out here,” she told KTLA, “and what a false sense of security it is to be not that far offshore and just get caught, and nobody’s around to help you.”
The couple Nico saved were extremely grateful — and exhausted — once they were safely back on shore and reunited with their two young children.
“Is that a trained lifesaving dog?” one of them asked Clarke.
“I said, ‘That’s the first time I ever saw him do anything like that,” he told KTLA. “It’s pure instinct.”