Superpower pup visits Saskatchewan Science Centre – Regina

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Visitors to the Saskatchewan Science Centre got the chance to interact with a one-of-a-kind pup on Saturday.

Gusztav is a 17-week-old Portuguese Water Dog being trained to assist in search and rescue operations by the volunteer-run Amphibious Rescue Support Unit (ARSU). ARSU employs a hovercraft to assist first responders with amphibious support or if they’ve exhausted their resources. They’re training Gusztav to assist in emergency operations in the field.

“Gusztav is planned to be the first Water Rescue dog that will be deployable by hovercraft,” said ARSU Chief Pilot John Maczko, adding that Gusztav is just a puppy and isn’t quite ready for field work.


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Maczko and his furry first responder-in-training visited the science centre as the Kramer Imax Theatre showed the film “Superpower Dogs”. Maczko spoke to the audience about his work before the film. Superpower Dogs also features a Portuguese Water Dog similar to Gusztav, as well as a number of other dogs with unique life-saving abilities.

“Gustav and any of these “SuperPower” dogs are really an extension of first responders. They can go into areas and do things that we as first responders can’t,” he said. “That makes this film really inspirational to me.”

Maczko also brought the ARSU hovercraft for visitors to check out. He added that while the dogs’ first job is to assist in operations, they provide another benefit to their human counterparts.

“All dogs want to do is please their handlers but they’re also here to comfort us,” he said. “Having Gusztav with me helps me cope with some of the things that happen around me in these situations.”

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