Monday, September 29, 2008

Bilbo The Lifesaving Newfoundland Is Back!

"Bilbo's Back, Doing What He Does Best, Helping Keep Holidaymakers Safe On The Beach"

"BILBO, the United Kingdom's only doggie lifeguard, is to be used to promote beach safety in West Cornwall.

"The RNLI and Penwith District Council have asked the Newfoundland dog and his owner, lifeguard supervisor Steve Jamieson, to spend the summer highlighting safety messages and responsible dog ownership in schools, and at dog friendly beaches.

"Bilbo will also make guest appearances on Sennen beach twice a week now that agreement has been reached between the beach owners, the RNLI and Penwith District Council.

"Mr Jamieson said: 'I'm delighted that Bilbo and I will be able to promote the beach and sea safety messages, which aim to change people's attitudes and behaviour through education.' Bilbo loves visiting schools to help promote beach safety advice, such as the importance of swimming between the red and yellow flags, and he will enjoy twice weekly visits to Sennen beach to meet the public.

"If anyone does get into trouble on Sennen beach, they can rest assured that the team of highly trained RNLI lifeguards will be on hand to help, and they work with the local RNLI lifeboat crews at Sennen Cove to provide a seamless beach-to-sea rescue service.

"There is a full complement of RNLI lifeguards stationed at Sennen beach between May and September, and of course the volunteer crews are on call year-round. Arthur Roberts, head of operational and technical services and deputy chief executive of Penwith District Council, said: 'We are happy to unveil a project for Bilbo that will benefit everyone, including people who visit Penwith each year. Bilbo's dual role, promoting beach safety and responsible dog ownership, will support the aims of both the RNLI and Penwith District Council.'

"In particular for the council, Steve and Bilbo will be able to encourage responsible ownership of dogs. That will protect the wishes of the members of the public who choose to visit dog friendly beaches.

"Bilbo and his owner Steve Jamieson will be on Sennen beach on Sundays and Thursdays between the hours of 2pm and 4pm to meet the public when Steve will discuss sea and beach safety messages."

* * * * * * * *

When we hear phrases such as "dog friendly beaches", it really raises our ire, because more and more right here at home, what were once never even questioned to be "dog friendly beaches" have become the staging areas for bureaucrats and fascist-conservationists to launch anti-dog campaigns. And so we found the following comment on Bilbo's plight to be quite apt:

Says Saffron Elliott:

"Bilbo has been put through special fitness tests like other lifeguards, such as learning how to swim in all types of sea conditions, negotiating the different surf and swim out beyond the breaking waves - Bilbo does this with skill and confidence. Bilbo has been trained to recognise when a person is in distress in the sea and responds if someone is waving and shouting for help. He wears an harness onto which is clipped a buoyancy aid (a Peterson tube). This is a piece of equipment used by all lifeguards to rescue casualties. Between Bilbo and the rescue tube is 2 meters of line which acts as a safety measure to stop the casualty from climbing onto the lifeguard during the rescue, but instead it enables Bilbo to swim around the person in distress, drawing the tube close to them, and when he feels their weight clutching the tube he knows its time to turn round and swim back to the safety of the beach.

"Red tape, beaureacracy, and arguably the apathy of those large organisations in control of the situation, are conspiring to deny Bilbo his rightful place on Sennen beach as a lifeguard dog. Whilst people want to see him reinstated and back patrolling the beach, and they expect to see him there this summer, such popularity and sentimentality over Bilbo should not shadow the more serious issue that Bilbo represents - he informs about safe bathing at the beach and his message truly sinks into the minds of children and adults who come across him, and if this isn’t argument enough to reinstate Bilbo, then we are living in poor times indeed in this so called liberal democracy. Purging Bilbo from patrolling the beach seems more akin with the sort of thing our nation supposedly abhors - autocratic dictatorial styles of governing, where everything is systematised so the mighty power at the top can exercise total control over its subjects. Getting rid of Bilbo is yet another erosion of the preciousness of our nation's diversity, putting prescriptive measures in place that conveniently apply to all situations in all places, conveniently obliterating common sense and the beauty of diverse ways of operating, to suit the needs of the might of one big controlling organisation, rich, powerful and geared towards total control and limiting the extraneous factors that might run counter to their bigger game plan.

"So Bilbo in his innocence and with all his natural beauty and instinctive life saving skills, is merely an inconvenience to the power of the mighty organisation that seeks to get make him disappear off Far West Cornwall’s busy Atlantic beach. We are living in sad mundane times indeed, and edging closer and closer to Orwell’s ‘1984’ scenario, where streamlined systems are worked by ‘yes men’ automatons and there is no place for human thinking and common sense, as we are dictated the convenient logic of the overriding power. This may seem odd, but we’re arguably all being manipulated to conform, and losing Bilbo is a true sign of the times, and will be a great loss to the spirit and soul of the beach - and is this not valuable and worthy of fighting for?"

Indeed, it is worth fighting for. We urge the dog groups right here in the Bay Area to stop sitting back and letting the GGNRA and city and state agencies ban our dogs from our beaches under spurious claims of environmental protection. You would think that local Newfoundland groups would do something worthwhile and get behind the anti-dog-on-beach movement, but they seem to have their collective heads in the sand. Dogs (particularly life-saving dogs) belong on the beaches. If you think otherwise, consider what you might be thinking when you are drowning and there are no human lifeguards around.


Friday, September 26, 2008

Lonely Are The Brave

Yes, another day, another rescue.

As has been written, "[e]ssentially the Newfoundland dog is as much at home in the water as on dry land. Canine literature gives us stories of brave Newfoundlands which have rescued men and women from watery graves; stories of shipwrecks made less terrible by dogs which carried life lines to stricken vessels; of children who have fallen into deep water and have been brought safely ashore by Newfoundlands; and of dogs whose work was less spectacular but equally valuable as they helped their fishermen owners with their heavy nets and performed other tasks necessary to their occupations."

And when I'm not saving lives (ahem), I love to kick back, put on my slippers, and enjoy a Screech or two after a nice drive in the country.


Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Day We Went To Grandma's (Reprise)

The Day We Went To Grandma's

The day we went to Grandma's,
Oh what a fuss she made,
Wipe those feet and dry your paws,
That carpet's just been laid.
She put us in the garden,
So we had a sniff around,
We pulled up all her flowers,
'Til there were no more in the ground.

Well Grandma just started shrieking,
She really got quite mad,
So we gave her some of the flowers,
To make her feel less sad.

Later on that evening,
All warm and in our beds,
Our tummies started rumbling,
It's time that we were fed.

We went into the living room,
But they were watching telly,
"Come on nan" I barked out loud.
"It's time to fill our bellies".

We went into the kitchen,
To see what we could find,
"Oh wow" I whined, "a loaf of bread"
I'm sure that they won't mind.

Look left, look right,
the coast was clear,
We love the smell of bread,
We grabbed it quick and hurried out to eat it in our beds.

Now for a drink to wash it down,
But the bowl's outside the door.
We go back to the living room,
and pace up and down the floor.

Well GrandDad got the message
And let us out the back.
We shot straight past the drinking bowl,
And headed down the track.

There was something in the garden
That a Newfie just can't resist,
An ornamental pond of course,
With lots of pretty fish.

After clearing out the pond for nan,
We went back to the door,
pushed it open, went inside.
Dripping pond onto the floor.

Nan she started yelling,
GrandDad, well he just laughed,
She said that we were stinking
And had to have a bath.

Cleaned and dried and let back in,
We tried to sit with nan.
"Get off me lap you silly dog,
You're bigger than I am"!!

We got back down and left the room
and went back to our beds,
Two pairs of shoes and a slipper later,
Time to get those zzzzzzzzzzzz,s.

Breakfast at Grandma's is great,
As we get tea and toast,
But after we were still not full
So we ate the Sunday roast!

We couldn't understand them,
But we knew that we'd been bad.
"F's" and "B's" were mentioned
Time to look real sad.

We looked at them with our big brown eyes,
Our heads held down quite low,
It did the trick - it always does
We're still their little beaus.

We didn't stay as long as planned,
As Dad he got quite stressed,
Having chased us out of the pond again,
he thought it for the best.

We kid you not, it's how it was.
We're telling you the truth.
The day we went ot Grandma's
She got well and truly NEWF'D!!!

Oh Gran we know you're sleeping,
You've really earned your rest.
Please know we're always thinking
That you and Grandpa are the best.

Satch & 'Drew

Friday, September 19, 2008

Water Rescue Dogs To Test Skills

(The Gary Post Tribune, September 19, 2008)

VALPARAISO -- "Twenty-six Newfoundland dogs from five Midwest states will be taking their water tests Sunday at Rogers-Lakewood Park.
The tests are hosted by the South Central Newfoundland Club, said Kouts resident and Newfoundland enthusiast Sid Reggie. The club covers Indiana and part of Ohio.

"Newfoundlands will be tested for pulling and jumping from boats, rescuing drowning people, retrieving boat cushions and other exercises designed to demonstrate their ability to work in the water.

"Seven junior entries are striving for junior titles (Water Dog), and 19 senior entries for Water Rescue Dog titles.

"The test director is Lawren Coulam of Michigan, and the secretary is Barbara Hearn of Illinois. Reggie completes the test committee.

"South Central is one of 26 regional clubs of the Newfoundland Club of America.
Historically, Newfoundlands have participated in many heroic water rescues.
The tests demonstrate natural ability as well as skills acquired through training. They also emphasize teamwork between dog and handler in rescue situations.

"No admission will be charged for the test, which is open to the public. Tests are scheduled from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m."

What, me? Oh, I'd love to but I'm getting a bath today.


Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Newfoundland Hero Of The Ethie

(From The Canadian Forum, Volume 1, November 1920)

"The legendary heroics of the Newfoundland dog at the scene of the Ethie wreck were immortalized in verse by the poet E. J. Pratt. There is no record of the S.S. Ethie's dog being named Carlo - we'll have to chalk this one up to poetic license. A reading of the poem leaves little doubt in one's mind that Pratt was thinking of the Ethie when he wrote this. Another clue is the quote with which he prefaces the poem (taken from an unnamed Newfoundland newspaper): 'The dog that saved the lives of over ninety persons in that recent wreck, by swimming with a line from the sinking vessel to the shore, well understood the importance as well as the risk of his mission.' He must have been a dog lover."

Carlo (By E.J. Pratt)

"I see no use in not confessing —
To trace your breed would keep me guessing,
It would indeed an expert puzzle
To match such legs with jet-black muzzle;
To make a mongrel, as you know,
It takes some fifty types or so,
And nothing in your height or length,
In stand or colour, speed or strength,
Could make me see how any strain
Could come from mastiff, bull, or Dane.
But, were I given to speculating
On pedigrees in canine rating,
I'd wager this — not from your size,
Not merely from your human eyes,
But from the way you held that cable
Within those gleaming jaws of sable,
Leaped from the taffrail of the wreck
With ninety souls upon its deck,
And with your cunning dog-stroke tore
Your path unerring to the shore —
Yes, stake my life, the way you swam,
That somewhere in your line a dam,
Shaped to this hour by God’s own hand,
Had mated with a Newfoundland.

"They tell me, Carlo, that your kind
Has neither conscience, soul, nor mind;
That reason is a thing unknown
To such as dogs; to man alone
The spark divine — he may aspire
To climb to heaven or even higher,
But God has tied around the dog
The symbol of his fate, the clog.
Thus I have heard some preachers say —
Wise me and good, in a sort o’ way —
Proclaiming from the sacred box
Quoting from Butler and John Knox

"How freedom and the moral law
God gave to man, because he saw
A way to draw a line at root
Between the human and the brute.
And you were classed with things like bats,
Parrots and sand-flies and dock-rats,
Serpents and toads that dwell in mud,
And other creatures with cold blood
That sightless crawl in slime, and sink
Gadsooks! It makes me sick to think
That man must so exalt his race
By giving dogs a servile place,
Prate of his transcendentalism,
While you save men by mechanism;
And when I told them how you fought
The demons of the storm, and brought
That life-line from the wreck to shore
And saved those ninety souls or more,
They argued with such confidence, —
‘Twas instinct, nature, or blind sense.
A man could know when he would do it,
You did it and never knew it.

"And so, old chap, by what they say,
You live and die and have your day,
Like any cat or mouse or weevil
That have no sense of good and evil,
Though sheep and goats, when they have died,
The Good Book says are classified
But you, being neuter, go to—well,
Neither to heaven nor to hell.

"I’ll not believe it, Carlo, I
Will fetch you with me when I die,
And standing up at Peter’s wicket,
Will urge sound reasons for your ticket;
I’ll show him your life saving label,
And tell him all about the cable,
The storm along the shore, the wreck,
The ninety souls upon the deck,
How one by one they came along
The young and old, the weak the strong,
Pale women sick and tempest-tossed,
With children given up for lost,
I’d tell him more, if he would ask it —
How they tied a baby in a basket,
While a young sailor picked and able
Moved out to steady it on the cable;
And if he needed more recital
To admit a mongrel without title,
I’d get down low upon my knees
And swear before the Holy Keys,
That judging by the way you swam,
Somewhere within your line a dam
Formed for the job by God’s own hand,
Had littered for a Newfoundland.

"I feel quite sure that if I made him
Give ear to that, I could persuade him
To open up the Golden Gate
And let you in; but should he state
That from your legs and height and speed
He still had doubts about your breed,
And called my story of the cable,
'A cunningly devised fable',
Like other rumours that you’ve seen
In Second Peter, one, sixteen,
I’d tell him saving his high station
I scorned his small adjudication
And, where life, love, and death atone,
I’d move your case up to the Throne."

Monday, September 15, 2008

Be Aware Of Your Pedigree

You know the commercials by companies such as Pedigree? You see them on Animal Planet during dog shows and they try to tug at your heartstrings by showing the love between humans and dogs and then try to persuade you that all they care about is the health and well being of your dog.

Here is what Pedigree says about its pet food (
"When we look in a dog's eyes we see loyalty. We see trust. We see honesty and friendship. We see love. And when you see dogs the way we see dogs, you have to make food that's really good for them."

So here is the latest in a continuing sad tale of pet food manufacturers:

Associated Press, September 15, 2008

"At least two grocery stores have pulled two types of Pedigree dog food from their shelves following a recall by Mars Petcare U.S. Inc., due to possible contamination with a strain of salmonella.
The Stop & Shop Supermarket Co. and Giant Food pulled Pedigree small crunchy bites and Pedigree large breed complete nutrition dry pet food products from sale.
Mars Petcare issued the recall on Friday.
The recalled products were produced at Mars' Everson, Penn., plant between Feb. 18 and July 29, when Mars stopped production because it was alerted of a possible link between dry pet food produced at its plant and two isolated cases of people infected with salmonella schwarzengrund.
Animals infected with salmonella may be lethargic and have diarrhea, fever and vomiting. Some have decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain. Some animals could be carriers with no symptoms with the potential to infect other animals or humans.
Humans with salmonella poisoning have some or all of those symptoms including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping and fever.
Consumers who bought the products can return them to the grocery stores for a full refund."

Great advice -- get "a full refund". After the poisoning? How about, sue the hell out of them for not caring enough to ensure the safety of their products? We wouldn't eat the stuff if they gave it to us for free.

Perhaps the more significant picture lies right here in California, and affects both humans and anything else consuming beef products. Did you know that the Department of Agriculture (which stamps your meat "Approved") does not even test meat in California for the presence of PCBs and Dioxins? Yet California beef, most notably the more fatty meat like hamburger, is laden with these ultra toxic chemicals. Worse, when good minded people try to rid the beef of these toxins through voter-enacted initiatives such as Proposition 65, the federal government cries "no you don't. You can't put a label that tells consumers that the meat contains toxins because even though we don't test for them, when we say it's good for you, you have to take our word for it."

Well, we're barking angry about it and you should be too -- all you Moms out there should have the same concern for Jimmy that you have for Skippy. You should ask the federal government why they don't test for toxins they know exist in beef but still stamp "Approved". Because you know darn well that they will only act when they have to - when profits are at risk; just as Pedigree will act only after the bad press gets out. Shameful.
There's a caveat with that emptor dish!


Saturday, September 13, 2008

"Is That Gizmo?"

Is there possibly anything worse than going to a dog show and not showing?
Well, someone missed the deadline for the show this weekend, but still took me, while 'Drew got to stay home, watch Animal Planet, and drink some Screech.

But amidst the horror, we met a very nice young lady who came up and asked, "Is that Gizmo" We asked, "How do you know Gizzy?" She replied, "I watch him on YouTube all the time; I just love him!" We told her we understood, and then she recognized me. So today proved to us that Gizzy is an international star. It also reaffirmed (at least for one day) that humans are not all that bad. (Of course, we ran into some real Plonkers at the show - they know who they are.) Anyway, can you pick out me from The Giz? We spotted Newfies must stick together and try to turn the tide of centuries of discrimination! Our spots are marks of grandure. Black & White Army!

Anyway, after the show we had some great fun and went out for lunch with Aunt Claire (and Phoebe), Aunt Terri and Uncle Dave (with Sophie and Que Bella Ragazza), Aunt Susan (with Bruin), and Aunt Elizabeth (who only remains Newfieless for one more day). So all in all, a great time.

Hey 'Drew, I miss you; we'll be back together tomorrow. Save some Screech for me.


Thursday, September 11, 2008

A Day In The Life Of A Newfoundland

Another day, another rescue.
No rest for the weary.

After a day of hard work like this, I harken back to my Great Granddaddy's singing of the "Ode to Newfoundland":

"When spreads thy cloak of shimm'ring white, at Winter's stern command,
Thro' shortened day and starlit night, we love thee, frozen land,
We love thee, we love thee, We love thee, frozen land.
When blinding storm gusts fret thy shore, and wild waves lash thy strand,
Thro' sprindrift swirl and tempest roar, We love thee, wind-swept land,
We love thee, we love thee, We love thee, wind-swept land.
As loved our fathers, so we love, Where once they stood we stand,
Their prayer we raise to heav'n above, God guard thee, Newfoundland,
God guard thee, God guard thee, God guard thee, Newfoundland."
(Sir Cavendish Boyle)

And, by the way, let's please get the pronunciation correct.
It boils me beans to hear people say "Newfoundland". I can say Alberta or Ontario just fine. First off here's the ways not to pronounce Newfoundland... "New-fin-lund"..."New-Found-Lund"... "New-fin-Lind"..... Now, here is the way you pronounce Newfoundland..... "NEW-FUN-LAND". It's not too much to ask, eh?


Saturday, September 6, 2008

Lewis & Clark College Honors the Newfoundland


"On Tuesday, April 22, 2008, the Lewis & Clark College Department of Physical Education and Athletics unveilied their new athletics logo. For the new Lewis & Clark athletics logo, the Pioneers were looking for something, a rendering that elicited emotion from the audience, and that was 'sporty', — something that was active, proud, and suggestive of victory. After finding no pictoral representations of a literal 'Pioneer' that those adjectives would fit, the brainstorming turned in the direction of 'Lewis & Clark'. One of the more overlooked members of the Lewis & Clark expedition was a dog, a Newfoundland. This breed embodies all the qualities we were looking for in an athletics mark. Newfoundlands are strong, heroic, loyal, proud, dignified, courageous, happy, and fun. With this in mind, graphic artist Jim Ward developed the new mark for Pioneer Athletics. 'Pio', the name of our dog, ushers in a new era for Pioneer Athletics.

"Please check out this site, with historical background on the Newfoundland member of the Corps of Discovery, information on designer Jim Ward, a look at the Pioneer logos throughout the ages, and a glance at the derivations of the new mark and it's various usages."

Here's a college that understands what higher education is all about!
Honor Drool to all of them from me, 'Drew, and The Giz.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The Dog From Newfoundland

You will meet him as you go through life
And he’ll always lick your hand
You can count, when you’re in trouble
On the dog from Newfoundland.

When some folks talk about him
Telling jokes which aren’t too grand
You can tell that they are jealous
Of the dog from Newfoundland.

From St. John’s to the Grand Banks
And all through this great land
You’ll never find another
Like the dog from Newfoundland.

He’ll save your life and treat you well
And when you drink his brand (Screech)
You'll understand all the stories
Of the incredible Newfoundland.

In Corner Brook or Marystown
When you’re dancing to a band
Just listen to the fiddler
He’s telling of the Newfoundland.

Perhaps some day you’ll meet him
Then you will understand
Why he makes the world a better place
The dog from Newfoundland.