Any diver’s dog feels miserable when its master disappears in the sea. Boniface, a Russian dachshund, became the first ever scuba dog who can swim underwater by his owner’s side. Sergei Gorbunov, a long-time professional diver in the Russian Far East, has taught his brave dog the secrets of the diving profession to go on deep-water adventures together. (Photo Credit: djg0333/Flickr)
"Boniface used to get nervous when witnessing me diving, and that triggered the idea in my mind to teach him scuba diving," Sergei says. With a help from his best friends Sergei made a special diving suit for Bonya - that’s how he calls his pet - completed with helmet. The duo dives in the Pacific Ocean waters on a beach near Vladivostok.
Diving dachshund Bonya is five years old. Having taken a preparative course in the swimming pool, the scuba diving dog has taken his first professional dive at the depth of 2 meters. Initially Bonya didn’t want to put on the helmet, and Sergei had to make a special inlet there for the supply of a sausage: “Hey, sausage, where are you? I’ll hide you in the helmet…” When first taken into the water the scuba dog tried to come out of his helmet but little by little he became to enjoy his scuba diving lessons.
Two months after his first dive Bonya eagerly barks as his master readies the equipment and doesn’t object to be hung upside-down as Sergei fits the suit on him. “Underwater, Sergei says, I don't think he experiences any stress." Anyway, sometimes the diving dachshund is emitting some high-pitched whines before showing his new scuba skills.
Today the scuba dog spends just a few minutes underwater, but Sergei is full of optimism. “When Bonya gets used to short and shallow diving, Sergei says, we’ll go with him deeper and deeper.”
Boniface that became world-famous thanks to his ability to swim in a diving suit has died in Vladivostok in December 2012.
"Unfortunately, vets could not save the dog. Most likely, he ate something on the street, and it killed him. The dog was completely healthy before, we are all very sorry to have lost him," the owner of the dog, a professional diver and biologist Sergei Gorbunov said.
A few months before, Boniface got into trouble when he was bitten by a poisonous snake, a copperhead. Sergei Gorbunov rushed to rescue his dog with an antidote.
Boniface dove with his owner in the pool and even in the open sea. He took part in diving competitions and public actions. Journalists from all over the world wrote about him. RIP