Thursday, December 24, 2009
To All The Dogs I've Loved
Where is that place dogs go to when they close their eyes to sleep?
So very far away from here, a hidden path they keep
Often have I watched them run, their eyes closed to the light
With twitching paws, and thumping tail, and whimpers of delight
In that place dogs go to when they're in a dream so deep
Ten thousand years of history are shed within one leap
And Free from chain, and cage and man, beneath the moon they play
And run with wild abandon no Master's hand can stay
I think it never rains there, no chill wind dares blow
The sun does always shine there and clear blue streams must flow
The grass is soft and green there, spring breezes warm the air
There are no fences in that place, no hunger, thirst or care
I think time cannot go there, they run with strength and grace
When scent of rabbit rides the air, the wind cannot keep pace
Their eyes are sharp, their ears are keen, undimmed by age or pain
Adventure lies beneath each bush, green hill and shadowed lane
I watch my friend lie by the fire and know his time comes soon
His legs too stiff and eyes too weak to chase or howl the moon
For in our world the hateful clock ticks on toward final sleep
Soon one last time he'll close his eyes and make the final leap
And one last time he'll find that place, he found within his sleep
His heart will soar, the clock winds back, and youth is his to keep
My head knows that is best for him, but selfish heart cries stay!
My world will be a lesser place when he is gone away
But when my time comes round one day to seek that farthest shore,
I have no fear that I'll stay lost and wander ever more
For God will post a watch for me and I know who he'll send,
I'll hear his joyous barking, see ears flying in the wind
I know that he will find me on that strange and lonesome day
He knows the path and knows it well, and should I lose my way
He'll touch my hand with his soft nose and steer me round the bend
He'll lead me as he did in life, my guide, my dog, my friend.
- Susan Guillot
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
For my boy Jack, who I have shed a tear for everyday for the last three years. You were the greatest:
Ruff Crossing: Alcatraz Swim A Canine First
Dog Places 72nd, Ahead of Hundreds in Annual Race
Julian Guthrie, Chronicle Staff Writer
Sunday, July 31, 2005
Early Saturday morning, a Newfoundland named Jack made history when he jumped from a boat near Alcatraz into the choppy bay and swam 1.2 miles to the San Francisco shoreline.
He was the only dog among more than 500 swimmers who took part in the South End Rowing Club's 10th annual Alcatraz Invitational. Dog-paddling his way toward the front of the pack, Jack came in 72nd overall, leaving some serious swimmers seriously chagrined. His time was 41 minutes and 45 seconds.
Reaching the shoreline next to the Hyde Street Pier to chants of "Jack! Jack! Jack!" the 6-year-old, 160 pound Newfoundland, appeared to take his celebrity in stride. He trotted onto terra firma, evaded a lady trying to put a medal around his neck, and let out a full-body, water-flying shake. He proceeded to roll in the sand and make a quick detour to the nearest grassy area where he chewed on a large piece of driftwood he had taken in along the way.
His tail was wagging. The swim was behind him. His bounty was in front of him.
Jack made the swim in the frigid waters with his human dad, born-and-raised San Franciscan Steve Sayad. The two live in Sausalito and trained for the event swimming 2 miles twice a week at Aquatic Park. They also bodysurf together, and Jack is known for doing sprints every day -- generally after tennis balls. Before a big swim, Jack eats scrambled eggs. He has a weakness for carbohydrates, particularly bread.
"It was colder and rougher than we thought it would be", Sayad said after the race. "Jack amazed me. He was very focused. He started out really fast. I was trying to slow him down. He increased his pace to stay with the pack."
Entering Jack in the invitational was motivated by fun -- and business. Sayad, an attorney, represents a company called WiggleWireless that delivers text messages and news to cell phones. Subscribers to the service were able to receive live updates on Jack's progress. A portion of the money raised went to Guide Dogs for the Blind.
Updates from Jack -- a kind of dog blog -- ranged from, "I checked into the Hyatt and took a drink from the toilet bowl," to "I'm standing in line for the Alcatraz swim. I don't see any other dogs." Several messages were sent mid-race. One read, "The water is ruff. I mean ruff-ruff."
Bill Wygant, president of the South End Rowing Club, which was established in 1873 and draws a hearty group that prides itself on swimming without wetsuits, said he was happy to allow a dog into the race. It was a first, he said, but he hopes not the last.
"This swim is about personal challenge," Wygant said. "Whether you are dog or human, it's whatever you can achieve that counts."
Lynne Cox, an open-water swimmer who has broken men's and women's records for swimming the English Channel and was the first person to swim between Alaska and the Soviet Union, was on hand to support the event. She said when she met Sayad, she asked whether swimming in the race was something Jack truly wanted to do.
"He said Jack would be upset if he saw him swimming and he couldn't swim, " Cox said. "I have a yellow Lab at home. Maybe next year the club will have a dog category."
"Newfoundlands are renowned for the swimming and life-saving abilities, and Sayad has owned "Newfies" since he was a child. "'Jack is the king of Newfie-swimmers", he quipped with a smile of pride.
"By midmorning, as swimmers continued to stream onto the beach in front of the rowing club, Jack began to unwind. He rolled onto his back, welcoming any and all congratulatory belly rubs."
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
For our daddy, we say we love you.
Will we miss you everyday, and we will strive to uphold your beauty and dignity.
May the blessed Mary of the Angels wrap you in her cloak of peace.
Andrew & Satchel
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
BILBO THE SURF LIFEGUARD DOG LATEST NEWS plus his bestselling BOOK & NEW DVD Bilbo’s new 1 hour feature length DVD is available to order now (£5.99 free postage), [proceeds from each sale goes to support local Cornish Charities: THE PRECIOUS LIVES APPEAL & THE CINNAMON TRUST.] Bilbo’s new DVD film is about his role as beach surf lifeguard dog, when he was on duty with all his sea rescues and amazing underwater filming of him swimming to the rescue. This is a truly stunning DVD film about Bilbo, set in Far West Cornwall on his rough and wild Atlantic Ocean beach at Sennen Cove. Details how to order your copy below. Bilbo is appearing at Earls Court, London DISCOVER DOGS SHOW making a special guest appearance and promoting his bestselling true-life story book “THE TRUE STORY OF BILBO THE SURF LIFEGUARD DOG” **(£5.99 free postage, message me, or go to www.bilbosays.com, or email email@example.com or phone - Cornish Cove Publishing) ~ SPECIAL OFFER CHRISTMAS IS COMING Order Bilbo’s bestselling book, loved by children and adults, AND his new 1 hour long DVD and get both for £10 free postage ~ email firstname.lastname@example.org Read More
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
(Mary Anderson, Redwood Times, Garberville, CA 9/23/2009)
His name is Turk. He’s a seven-month old Newfoundland puppy and his purpose in life is to save Ruth Ann Goodfield’s life.
Ruth Ann has epileptic seizures. Her condition was diagnosed in first grade. Her teacher at the time, Claire Piccinelli, noticed that Ruth Ann was having “absent” seizures in class. Piccinelli recommended that Ruth Ann be evaluated by an endocrinologist and Ruth Ann’s mother, Susan, did that.
”Immediately when we walked into the office", Susan says, “they said that she had had a stroke. There were complications in her birth and they think that’s when she had the stroke. They assume that it was the stroke that caused the epilepsy.”
Ruth Ann continued to have absent seizures until recently. With the onset of puberty, she began to have grand mal seizures.
”Puberty often strengthens the seizures and that’s what happened with her", Susan says. “She went into grand mal seizures and still has absent seizures as well. We didn’t put her on medicine right away, but she has really long seizures. That’s rare. Usually seizures last about three minutes, but her seizures last about eight minutes, which is very dangerous. So we put her on some medication and so far, so good. The medication is holding down the seizures, but that’s also why having a dog is more important for her than for some who have milder seizures. The long seizures bring her close to death each time and the sooner you react to them the better. I can give her emergency medicine to relax her body and help her breathe better.”
During an earlier seizure, Susan says, Ruth Ann wasn’t able to breathe because her muscles were too tight. She hasn’t had a grand mal seizure since she’s been on the medicine, but it’s very important that when a seizure does occur, someone is there to help Ruth Ann through it. That’s going to be Turk’s job. He will know when Ruth Ann is having a seizure and he will alert Susan or whoever is there to it so that Ruth Ann gets her medication and is protected.
Turk is named after the gorilla in the Disney Tarzan movie, and Ruth Ann and Susan first met Turk at Disneyland. He comes from Noelle’s Angel Dogs, and in return for Disney’s sponsorship, Noelle’s Angel Dogs are all named after Disney characters. Noelle’s Angel Dogs are located in Monument, Colorado, and the organization was founded because Noelle also has epilepsy. When Noelle was a child like Ruth Ann, her parents were unable to find a service dog that would alert them to Noelle’s seizures. They made it their business to learn how to train seizure alert dogs and when Noelle turned 18, she founded Angel Dogs to focus on training seizure alert dogs for children.
Susan says that Ruth Ann fell in love with the gangly, loveable pup at first sight but he had already been promised to someone else. That didn’t work out, however, and Turk became available. He has been with Ruth Ann and her family for about a month now, although Ruth Ann feels so comfortable with Turk, she says she feels like she’s known him for a year.
Seizure alert dogs are trained a little differently that other service dogs. ”With seizure dogs", Susan says, “they like the person with epilepsy to do the obedience training. They like them to be trained by the owner so that they will connect more with them and be able to detect the seizures, which is really unique for a service animal.”
Turk came to them with some basic obedience training, she says. His training started when he was six weeks old. ”He’s still going through his obedience training", she says, “and he’ll finish that up, we’re hoping, around June. He’ll go back to Colorado for his detail service training, where he’ll learn to do water rescue, learn how to bring Ruth Ann her medicine, how to find her, how to turn her on her side, push a 9-1-1 button, and find a grownup to help her.”
In the short time he’s been with them, Turk has settled in and become part of the family, which includes Rosie, an older Beagle.
”He’s a puppy and our Beagle is an adult and not as playful, so Rosie has to tell him to leave her alone once in a while. But they get along,” Susan says.
Ruth Ann and Susan started out the training by learning a few key commands and every week they get a new command from Noelle’s. The commands start out as a game and evolve into a service. Susan says, “We’re learning a new game called ‘where’s Ruth Ann,’” Susan says, “and that will eventually be a very big service. Say, she’s in college and has a seizure and he’s off by himself, someone will say ‘where’s Ruth Ann’ and he will bring that person to her. He’s also learning to bring her medicine to her.”
Noelle’s keeps in close contact with Ruth Ann and Susan and drives over from Colorado every other month to check on their progress. Their next visit will be in October, at which time Turk and Ruth Ann will be tested on what they’ve learned. Susan says that the folks from Noelle’s say they are very proud of the way Ruth Ann is taking to Turk and training him. They say she’s doing a great job with the training. Turk knows when Ruth Ann is having a silent seizure and alerts to it so it can be recorded in a diary for Ruth Ann’s endocrinologist.
Turk sleeps in Ruth Ann’s room and they have already bonded. Ruth Ann says Turk has a very playful personality. She expects to be able to take him to school with her in a few weeks. Right now, Turk goes with Susan to her job at South Fork High School so he will get used to a school environment. The South Fork staff and the Redway Elementary staff are very accommodating to the situation.
”The principal and the teachers have been wonderful,” she says. “And when she is prepared to take him to the elementary school, they have already said ‘no problem.’ Everybody in this community has been terrific.”
Ruth Ann is in Dan Brown’s 6th grade class.
Mom says that even though Ruth Ann’s seizures are silent, Turk will know when she is having a seizure and will bark to alert Mom to that. Her seizures are noted in a book that is kept so her doctor will know when and how many seizures she has. He also accompanies her into the shower to alert Mom if Ruth Ann has a seizure while bathing.
Ruth Ann says she can’t remember her seizures and doesn’t know what they feel like.
The biggest problem with a service dog, they say, is getting people accustomed to ignoring the dog and not trying to pet the dog. ”Turk is so adorable, such a beautiful dog, that people want to pet him,” Susan says. “They have to restrain themselves from petting him. He gets tired of it.”
Being a Newfoundland, Turk is a water rescue dog that can swim for as long as three hours. Only polar bears can outswim a Newfoundland, Susan says. He weighs 90 pounds now and will weigh about 160 when he is fully grown. Ruth Ann is very active. She plays soccer, and also goes kayaking and swimming. Now she will have Turk there to help her if she should have a seizure while she’s in the water.
It cost $7,500 to purchase Turk, none of which is covered by insurance. Through the generosity of Ruth Ann’s stepdad, Clay Early, and his fellow workers in the County Road Department, they were able to raise $1,300 for the down payment on the dog. Other donations have come in from the community, but they still owe a little over $4,000 on him. If people want to donate toward Turk’s purchase, make the check out to Noelle’s Angel Dogs, and send it P.O. Box 1627, Redway.
And if you see Turk out and about with Ruth Ann and Susan, they ask that you please ignore him.
”Don’t pet him and please ignore him", Ruth Ann says. Susan adds that it’s not a good idea to stare at a dog either. Turk is a beautiful dog, but it makes him nervous to be stared at.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
When Johnny Reb and Billy Yank marched off to war, chances are that a four-footed or winged creature went with them. Wartime animal mascots demonstrated bravery and loyalty, and earned the affections of their human counterparts. Dogs and horses were most commonly mascots for regiments, but a dignified eagle, a lumbering bear, and a sheep also had their place in camp and on the battlefield. Some Civil War mascots were an inspiration for the troops, while others were a reminder of beloved pets at home. Mascots brought loyalty and enthusiasm, and for soldiers, the act of nurturing animals also offset boredom in camp.
Some accounts of Newfoundlands serving as macots during the civil war include:
The Mascot- a painting done in 2003 by John Weiss exemplifies the comfort and connection that young soldiers, away from home and exposed to the horrors of war, gained from the bond they developed with the company mascots.
"A large dog called "Tony" who was a beautiful Newfoundland Dog lovingly cared for by the Chicago Light Artillery Battery A. He was called the "Battery dog". Tony was a dog of action and gave no thought to the bullets zipping all around him. He was on the battlefiels at South Mountain and the wounded at Fort Donelson. He saw action again at Shiloh. He never got separated from his men so when he came up missing at Antietam the worst was feared. Unfortunately, he was killed and found beside the body of W.J. Pollock, Co H. 20th New York Infantry."
The 104th Ohio was truly a group of animal lovers, adopting as their mascots a cat, a tame raccoon, a white bulldog named "Old Harvey" and a Newfoundland.
"On the sixth of October, eighteen hundred and sixty one, as the regiment was on it's way to the seat of war, there came on board the train at Portsmouth, New Hampshire, a lareg, black, Newfoundland dog, weighing considerably upwards of one hundred pounds. Entering the car occupied by company H, Capt. Emerson, he was adopted by the members of that company and christened "Major." From that time until May eigth, eighteenhundred and sixty-three, when the regiment was mustered out of service, he continued a member of this company, (never but once deigning to recognize a person belonging to any other, and that during Banks' retreat from Winchester when he became so crippled from continuous travel that it was with the utmost difficulty he could proceed,) sharing with almost human patience and fortitude all the vissitudes of camp life, with as much sense of duty, apparently, as if he had been duly enlisted and mustered for the war." Major went on to serve with the 29th Maine, where he was killed at the Battle of Mansfield Landing in Louisiana.
In a retelling of the incidents at Pittsburg Landing (also known as Shiloh) "Private John K. Ferguson, company K, Sixty-fifth Ohio, who was killed in the second day's battle, was accompanied to camp by a young Newfoundland dog, who had persistently followed him from the time of his enlistment, and from camp to camp, to the moment of his death. Two days after the battle the faithful dog was found lying upon the inanimate breast of his master; nor would he consent to leave the spot until the remians were buried."
A history of the famous Iron Brigade, the 6th Wisconsin relates the following from the Battle of Antietam: " At the very farthest point of advance on the turnpike, Captain Werner Von Bachelle, commanding company F, was shot dead. Captain Bachelle was an ex-officer of the French army. Brought up as a soldier in the Napolianic school, he was imbued with the doctrine of fatalism. His soldierly qualities commanded the respect of all, and his loss was deeply felt in the regiment. Bachelle had a fine Newfoundland dog, which had been trained to perform military salutes and many other remarkable things. In camp, on he march and inthe line of battle, this dog was his constant companion. The dog was by his side when he fell. Our line of men left the body when they retreated, but the dog stayed with his dead master, and was found upon the morning of the 19th of September lyinf dead upon his body. We buried him with his master. So far as we know, no family or firends mourned poor Bachelle, and it is probable that he was joined in death by his most devoted friend on earth."
Sunday, September 13, 2009
"Ten of the country’s biggest dogs — Newfoundland pedigrees weighing in collectively at around 140 stone — entertained spectators with a dazzling display of their life-saving skills at a sponsored rescue.
The Newfoundland rescue dogs spent the day saving Islanders from the River Medina, below the Folly Inn, Whippingham, including Earl Mountbatten Hospice senior fundraiser Karen Eeles and Wightlink marketing manager Kerry Jackson.
Kerry said the water wasn’t too chilly: 'It was a great experience being rescued by a 14-stone Newfoundland dog for such a worthwhile cause and the dogs and their trainers/owners were just amazing. Despite their size, they are such gentle animals. I hope the raising of the money for the hospice was as successful as the day itself.'
"The fun day, sponsored by Wightlink, which transported the dogs and their handlers from the mainland, raised around £4,000 for the hospice. The giant Newfoundland dogs are natural swimmers and have webbing between their paws to help them swim.
Although fully trained to save lives, they are used purely for demonstration, awareness and fundraising projects and, since 1990, have raised more than half-a-million pounds for a range of charities.
"Initially, the focus was on helping children’s hospices but more recently the fundraising drive has been expanded to take in all hospices."
Monday, September 7, 2009
Friday, September 4, 2009
Friday, August 21, 2009
Canine Lifeguards Hit Italy's Beaches
(By Jeff Israely (Time.com) Thursday, Aug. 20, 2009)
The dog days of summer have hit Italy hard this year. During my family's beach holiday on the enchanting island of Sardinia, the surprise star was Totò, a pint-size, black-and-white, eight-month-old mixed-breed from Naples whom our friends brought along to a house we shared near the southern town of Pula. Totò — named for the famed Neapolitan comedian, not Dorothy's pooch — has exactly one trick in his repertoire: misbehaving. He swiped everything from pasta al pesto to a half-pound of butter off the kitchen table, ran around the yard with a neighbor's flip-flop between his teeth, and even left a summer-holiday gift on another neighbor's driveway. My attempts to get him to retrieve a Frisbee failed as soon as he realized it wasn't a pork chop.
And Totò's disobedience seemed downright spiteful when compared to that of some of the other dogs that can be found on Italy's shorelines this summer. In a program run by the National Civil Protection Agency, dozens of Labradors, Newfoundlands and golden retrievers have been trained to act as lifeguards and are now patrolling beaches and lakes around the country to help save people from drowning.
Bruno Piccinelli, head of UCIS, Italy's association of rescue-dog trainers, says the breeds, which are innately strong in the water, are trained from puppyhood until they are at least two years old to make water rescues. Dogs have long been taught to respond to specific types of water accidents and other emergencies as well as to use their keen hearing and sense of smell to assist in search-and-rescue missions — canines were used to help find survivors in the rubble of the recent earthquake in L'Aquila, for example. But now some 70 pooches have been authorized to act as Italy's Baywatch, minus the suntan lotion and shades. "Now they are on patrol," says Piccinelli.
Piccinelli, who notes that Scandinavian countries also use rescue dogs in places where lots of people gather near water, describes how the four-legged lifeguards operate: sitting up alongside their human counterparts, the dogs are trained to recognize signs of drowning. When they see someone in trouble, they paddle out to the swimmer, ideally together with their human partners, though they can also go it alone. The distressed swimmer can grab hold of the dog, which will then paddle back to safety with the rescued swimmer in tow, or the dog will drag the person in with its teeth, tugging him ashore by his arm, shirt or bathing suit. "If need be, the dogs are strong enough to pull in three people holding on to each other, or a raft with three people on it," boasts Piccinelli. Asked if these dogs could put two-legged lifeguards out of a job, Piccinelli assures Speedo-clad guardians everywhere that "they are not meant to replace human lifeguards, but to complement them."
There have been reports of this new breed of lifeguards carrying out several rescues already this summer, with local papers proudly chronicling the hairy heroics. Rambo, an 11-month-old Labrador, helped save a drowning 47-year-old bather near the east-coast city of Foggia, while Massi, a Newfoundland, and Labrador Romeo were patrolling the super-chic Amalfi coast aboard a motorized, rubber coast-guard raft when they helped two would-be victims. Other four-legged studs have offered staged demonstrations of water safety for vacationers near Venice.
As for Totò, we brought him down to Sardinia's sandy shore one evening last week, though for once we kept him tight on his leash. He spent the two hours barking and digging a hole, probably in search of something to eat. Sitting under the stars, I began to wonder whether Totò would throw himself into the surf to save someone from drowning. Of course he'd risk it all for a castaway slice of lasagna. Or a flip-flop.
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Saturday, August 15, 2009
Gander, the Royal Riflemen's best friend
The big black dog was more than a mascot to Canadians fighting in Hong Kong, Bruce Ward reports. He died defending his comrades, who made sure Gander's name was etched in stone alongside theirs.
(The Ottawa Citizen, August 15, 2009)
Gander the dauntless war dog is where he belongs now, forever beside the soldiers he served as mascot of the Royal Rifles of Canada.
You'll see Gander's name if you look closely at the Hong Kong Veterans Memorial Wall, to be unveiled today at a moving dedication ceremony. The memorial wall sits on Sussex Drive, a few blocks from Parliament Hill.
The Hong Kong vets made certain that Gander's name was etched on the memorial among the 1,975 men and two women who fought for Canada against the Japanese forces that invaded Hong Kong in December 1941.
The soldiers who lived in squalid prisoner-of-war camps after the fall of the island had one unwavering policy: they shared any food that came into their possession. In the same spirit, they wanted Gander to share in their public remembrance, a six-metre-high concrete wall encased in granite.
Gander, a massive Newfoundland dog, fought at their side and died nobly in battle. The dog seized a live grenade in its jaws and ran toward the Japanese lines. Gander died in the explosion, but saved the lives of several wounded Canadian soldiers.
The Hong Kong contingent consisted of soldiers drawn from the Quebec-based Royal Rifles and the Winnipeg Grenadiers. They were the first Canadian infantry units to see combat in the Second World War.
When he was growing up in Belledune, N.B., Andy Flanagan often heard his father, Andrew "Ando" Flanagan, speak of Gander's exploits. Ando Flanagan enlisted in the winter of 1940, and was transferred with other Royal Rifles recruits to Newfoundland. They were stationed at Botwood, near the town of Gander.
The soldiers first encountered the dog, so large it was often mistaken for a bear, while in the town, Andy Flanagan says in a memoir about his dad, which he passed on to the Citizen. The dog was called Pal, and was a great favourite among the children. But Pal got in trouble when he scratched a child's face with his paw. It was an accident; Pal was only greeting the child with his usual exuberance. Pal's owner, worried he would be forced to put down the dog, gave him to the soldiers as their mascot.
The soldiers changed his name to Gander and took the dog to heart.
"Gander quickly adapted to military life," Flanagan writes. "He was elevated to sergeant faster than any enlisted man. On parade, he proudly marched up front, wearing his sergeant's stripes next to the regimental badge, attached to his harness."
Gander accompanied the Royal Rifles when they sailed to Hong Kong in the fall of 1941. The soldiers lived well for the first few weeks. The Hong Kong dollar was worth about 18 cents Canadian, so the soldiers had plenty of cash to spend on Hong Kong's vibrant nightclub scene. Some soldiers hired Chinese servants to keep their gear and boots gleaming, and even shave them in barracks.
Gander settled in, too, and could often be found sleeping in the shade of a veranda. Some Chinese workers on the base tried to abscond with Gander in hopes of turning him into dinner, the story goes. A snarling Gander rounded on them and drove them off, adding to his status among the soldiers.
When the invasion began the day after the Pearl Harbor attack, Gander was ready to fight. "Gander showed no fear of guns or bombs," Flanagan writes. "At the battle of Lye Mun Gap, he attacked Japanese troops as they landed near the Canadian section of the beach. During the fight, one caring soldier put Gander with his wounded men for his own protection. When a few Japanese soldiers ventured too close to his wounded comrades, Gander attacked and the enemy ran away shouting 'Black devil' in Japanese.
"Later during interrogation, Ando said the Japanese asked some Canadians about the black devil. Apparently, they thought the Canadians had trained black beasts to fight in battle."
In his death, Gander became more than a mascot, Flanagan writes. "Gander became a source of pride and encouragement for the Canadians who were captured and spent almost four years in the notoriously cruel Japanese POW system. Gander was their inspiration."
In 2000, Gander was posthumously awarded the Dickin Medal, an award for "any animal displaying conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty whilst serving with the British Commonwealth armed forces."
Gander's citation states:
"For saving the lives of Canadian infantrymen during the Battle of Lye Mun on Hong Kong Island in December, 1941. On three documented occasions, Gander, the Newfoundland mascot of the Royal Rifles of Canada, engaged the enemy as his regiment joined the Winnipeg Grenadiers, members of Battalion Headquarters 'C' Force and other Commonwealth troops in their courageous defence of the island. Twice Gander's attacks halted the enemy's advance and protected groups of wounded soldiers. In a final act of bravery the war dog was killed in action gathering a grenade. Without Gander's intervention, many more lives would have been lost in the assault."
Gander's medal is on permanent display in the Hong Kong section of the Canadian War Museum.
Ando Flanagan weighed 68 pounds when he came home in the fall of 1945. "The scars of battle and torture remained until his dying days," his son Andy writes. "He never complained, and he never missed an opportunity to tell Sergeant Gander's story. Ando faded away, without fear, on February 28, 1993."
The Ottawa Citizen
Friday, August 14, 2009
Canine Heroes Saving Italy's Swimmers
(Tom Kington guardian.co.uk, Monday 10 August 2009)
"Italy's bronzed and muscular life guards are under threat this summer as a new breed of lifesaver grows in popularity, despite being shorter and a lot hairier.
"Three hundred dogs are now licensed to save drowning bathers at Italy's beaches and lakes, and have already helped save seven lives.
"Accompanied by instructors, the labradors, newfoundlands and golden retrievers plunge through waves or even leap out of boats and helicopters to help pull bathers to safety.
"'The dogs are notching up more rescues and becoming increasingly popular', said Donatella Pasquale, vice-president of the school run by Italy's civil protection agency where dogs have trained since the 1980s.
"Pasquale said dogs learned to tow their instructors out to sea, leaving them the strength to give medical attention to drowning swimmers. 'The dogs are incredibly strong," she said. 'Our record is one Newfoundland dog towing 40 people at the same time.' They were rarely sent into the water on their own, she added. 'If you're drowning you might get a shock if a wet dog, rather than a Baywatch character, appears to save you.'
"Five of the school's graduates have debuted this year near Venice, where Marcello Monaco, a coastguard official, said they were a hit. 'They are constantly listening for yells from the water and scanning for waving arms', he said."
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
I am your dog, and I have a little something I'd like to whisper in your ear. I know that you humans lead busy lives. Some have to work, some have children to raise. It always seems like you are running here and running there, often much too fast, often never noticing the truly grand things in life.
Look down at me now, while you sit there at your computer. See the way my dark brown eyes look at yours? They are slightly cloudy now. That comes with age. The gray hairs are beginning to ring my soft muzzle. You smile at me; I see love in your eyes. What do you see in mine? Do you see a spirit? A soul inside, who loves you as no other could in the world? A spirit that would forgive all trespasses of prior wrong doing for just a simple moment of your time?
That is all I ask. To slow down, if even for a few minutes, to be with me. So many times you have been saddened by the words you read on that screen, of others of my kind, passing. Sometimes we die young and oh so quickly, sometimes so suddenly it wrenches your heart out of your throat. Sometimes, we age so slowly before your eyes that you may not even seem to know until the very end, when we look at you with grizzled muzzles and cataract clouded eyes. Still the love is always there, even when we must take that long sleep, to run free in a distant land.
I may not be here tomorrow; I may not be here next week. Someday you will shed the water from your eyes, that humans have when deep grief fills their souls, and you will be angry at yourself that you did not have just "one more day" with me.
Because I love you so, your sorrow touches my spirit and grieves me. We have now, together. So come, sit down here next to me on the floor, and look deep into my eyes. What do you see? If you look hard and deep enough we will talk, you and I, heart to heart. Come to me not as "alpha" or as "trainer" or even "Mom or Dad". Come to me as a living soul and stroke my fur and let us look deep into one another's eyes and talk. I may tell you something about the fun of chasing a tennis ball, or I may tell you something profound about myself, or even life in general. You decided to have me in your life because you wanted a soul to share such things with. Someone very different from you, and here I am.
Monday, August 3, 2009
Please click on this link and sign this petition to keep Vick out of the NFL - this vicious excuse for humanity destroyed thousands of dogs - he is being reinstated in the NFL.
This petition will go to all the companies that support the NFL.
Please send this to everyone you know - if 300 people sign it - it will be a fly in their soup - if 8 million sign it - we will get their attention.
Here is the link -
SAFE HAVEN NEWFOUNDLAND RESCUE
Monday, July 27, 2009
"I have a plaque in my kitchen with those words on it 'In This Kitchen, Newf Hair is a Condiment' just above the entry doorway. It was a Christmas gift from a good friend. It was not an expensive gift certainly...it is home-made but very special.... (Funny how the little things mean a lot, sometimes.) I have several boxes in the store room of framed Championship certificates and ribbons and framed show pictures. I plan on putting the photos back up after I paint my living room. I have three large boxes of snapshots that date from the time when people took regular pictures and not digital photos. Most of them are either my grand kids or my dogs. I have two bags of Newfy hair from my first Newfy in the same storage room. And 7 boxes of ashes of my deceased Newfs, some day I want to buy matching urns. I have books and books and more books, all about Newfoundland dogs. For a time there I collected the books. I am pleased to say that I have books now that are no longer in print. (Or maybe that just means now I am really getting old!)
"My shed has a grooming table and a dog dryer, and two boxes of scent items for my search dogs. My back yard is fenced and has several stuffed animals in various states of disrepair that are frequently moved about when I get home from work (the dogs parade with their "stuffies" when people come to visit), I have an outside faucet with both hot and cold water so I can give my dogs a comfortable bath, I have no flower beds because the Newfs would just get into them and dig them up.... I used to have several boards of my siding gone but that is now fixed. I have no screen on the back storm door, just the glass. Hopefully Phoenix won't break it, she still can't resist jumping on the door when she sees me coming.
"My living room couch is covered in a blanket that I hastily remove when people arrive. Most of the time when people come we sit around the dining room table anyhow. My floor is littered, the same as the yard, with stuffies. My Newfs run and grab a stuffy and carry it around proudly when people arrive, around and around and around. They do the same thing in the back yard when the neighbor kids come up to the fence to pet them. They have not as yet learned to put the stuffies back into the toy box so they remain scattered around the house, alolong with plastic bottles (Phoenix loves the noise they make when she chews on them) and left over toilet paper cardboard tubes. (Jenna likes to carry them around.)
"My kitchen sink has dog bowls in it. My kitchen window ledge has Jenna's eye solution and her ear drops and Phoenix's vitamins. My laundry room houses the clippers and the nail grinder on the same shelf with my mis-matched socks. My library table has a copper wastebasket with a big Newfy head embossed on it, inside of that basket are all the brushes and combs and scissors. My coffee table in the living room is actually a cedar chest, all you have to do to brush a dog is pull the coffee table out in the middle of the floor and put a scatter rug on top and it turns into a grooming table. My floors are bare wood floors, easy to sweep and piddle proof if and when I have puppies. The other coffee table in my living room is a large crate, 48 inches long and 36 inches tall. It has a wooden board on top and a lamp and a basket with two stuffed newfoundland (toy) puppies that I bought years ago at a National Specialty. The basket is only a tiny bit frayed where Bella chewed on it about 8 years ago.
"My 'china closet' no longer houses china. It has just about everything you can imagine that has to do with Newfoundland dogs, from the antique cast iron nut crackers to the modern resin plasticast Newfoundlands (I get one or two of those every Christmas). I have a genuine playschool toy from the sixtires that is a Newfoundland dog pulling a carnival wagon that is a tiny music box, and two Newfoundlands pulling a cart, that was a gift of love from my daughter, who scultped them herself.
"In my dining room window I have a large suncatcher that is a leaded stained glass; design of, you guessed it, a Newf. Above the dining room door is a photo taken by a professional photographer of my first litter of Newfy puppies, all lined up in a row, at the age of seven weeks. It took four hours to get that picture! On the wall is a velvet painting that my daughter did of a Newf, and another one of a lighthouse with two newfs on a beach, also from my daughter, and then there is one that I did, of a Newfoundland puppy. Also on the dining room wall are the Specialty wins and various other trophies.
"I guess it would be true to say I am an admirer of dogs and in particular of the Newfoundland breed. I know for a fact that there is no way I can live without a 'Newfy fix' for very long! There have been years in my life, when I lived in a bigger house, that I have had as many as eight Newfies in the house with me at the same time. Now, this evening, as I type this, Jenna is in her crate, snoring (she goes in and out whenever she wants) and Phoenix is on her couch with her Elmo stuffy laying between her front legs, also snoring. I know that every owner of every dog, most of them anyway, are sure that their breed is the best. However I know my breed is!"
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Well, we finally have the pictures of our Daddy we have been after for quite some time; Ch. Fleur De Lis Phantom Ofd-Opera. They show him from a little Newflet to his becomming a Champion at 20 months of age. He is now nine years old and living in the U.K. We're really hoping that fate brings us together and that he is healthy and happy. He has to be a really special guy to have produced Puppy. Me? Well, I take after my Momma, and that is a completely different story.
(Thank you Anita and Helen)
Thursday, July 9, 2009
Fort Clatsop Visitors Discover A New Found Friend
Park Sets Aside A Day For The Lewis And Clark Expedition’s Dog "Seaman"
By KATIE WILSON
The Daily Astorian
July 9, 2009
"The Newfie owners are on to something.
"They have found love, loyalty, intelligence and companionship in a single, living entity. This compassionate, adoring being has even deigned to throw in mountains of fur and slug trails of drool for free.
"Newfoundland dogs, or 'Newfies' as they're often called, are maybe as close to the perfect dog as humanity will ever get. Or, at least, that's what some people are claiming.
"'They're different from any other dog', says Happy Valley resident Donna Azevedo who owns two Newfoundlands, Olivia and Lola, and has owned a variety of dogs in the past. 'They're so much more gentle. And they're not yappy'.
"Her granddaughter, Peyton Azevedo, 6, sits on a bench nearby at Fort Clatsop, Lewis and Clark National Historical Park, with Lola's leash twined around her wrist. 'They're great with kids', Azevedo adds. 'She lets (Peyton) just manhandle her. She's never snapped at her.'
"'He's human', says Brittany Woods, 16, of Albany, about her 18-month-old dog Hunter. 'He's happy to see you, but he's not like 'Ohmygod! Ohmygod!'
"Lola and Hunter were only two of the eight bear-like dogs wandering around the Fort Clatsop replica Wednesday greeting children and adults for the park's 16th annual Seaman's Day.
"Seaman's Day is an educational celebration of the nonhuman member of the Corps of Discovery, a Newfie named Seaman.
"Park Ranger Sally Freeman has been a part of the event for several years. She says it helps people, especially children, connect and interact with history in a new and exciting way: through the eyes of a dog.
"Capt. Meriwether Lewis of Lewis and Clark fame bought the dog before launching off into the great unknown in September 1803.
"Lewis put the capable Seaman to work almost immediately. He served as both a guard and hunting dog, chasing off a buffalo that charged through the camp one night and hunting squirrels along the Ohio River for the explorers' dinner.
"There are scattered references to Seaman throughout Lewis's journals. The dog was valued for his intelligence and courage. The last reference to Seaman was July 15, 1806. At the Great Falls of the Missouri River, Lewis noted that the mosquitos were making life miserable for both man and beast.
"Seaman was not mentioned again in the journals although there is some documentation that suggests he died of heartbreak soon after Lewis died. 'I believe that story', says Ed Maass who traveled all the way from Colorado with his two Newfoundlands, Ogee and Seaman, to be a part of Seaman's Day. 'They're incredibly loyal. They want to be with you.'
"Down by the fort replica, Jeffrey McCormick, 9, of Eugene pets Kona, a black Newfoundland. She pats at him with a front paw. 'Oh!' he says as the dog licks his hand. 'You've got a slobbery tongue.'
"Kona is nearly as tall as McCormick when she is sitting, but he has a Great Dane back at home and is not intimidated by the Newfoundland's size. He gives her a hug, almost disappearing in all her fur. Kona belongs to Laurie Ewert and her two daughters Lyndsay, 9, and Bethany, 5, of Portland. This was their third Seaman's Day.
"They love owning Newfoundlands, but are realistic about the drool and fur. Potential "Newfers" must realize that both of these come in bulk. 'They can sling drool', Ewert says.
"'It's on the TV screen and on the ceiling', Lyndsay adds, as matter-of-factly as if she were reciting 'Two plus two equals four.'
"'Oh! And on our couch too.'
"Far from repulsing owners, the drool only seems to charm them further. 'They drool so much!' Azevedo says. She laughs as she describes the 'slug trail' on the couch.
"Also the fur. Newfoundlands must be brushed often or their fur builds up into impossible-to-brush-out mats and dreadlocks. But even then, owners speak fondly of the 'second dog', a common term for the pile of fur they brush out of their Newfoundlands every week.
"There is another more rational explanation for the owners' love of Newfoundlands. Despite their massive size - adult Newfoundlands usually weigh in at 110 to 150 pounds - they eat relatively little food and don't require much space. While activity levels vary from dog to dog, most prefer to lie around like friendly rugs.
"While Freeman speaks to a crowd of nearly 30 people about Seaman, Lola slides to the ground, front paws outstretched, her big, heavy head resting between them. At 15 months, still a puppy, she already weighs 135 pounds and has no trouble gently dragging around whoever is on the other end of the leash.
"Children wander over to where Azevedo stands with Lola. They walk straight up to Lola, entranced by this giant, furry dog. They pull her face to theirs. She doesn't even blink, she just shoves her muzzle deeper into their open hands, tail wagging.
"Seaman's Day takes place every year on the second Wednesday of July, rain or shine, at the Fort Clatsop Visitor Center in the Lewis and Clark National Park."
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
(Dog Products June 30th, 2009)
Everyone that has a Newfoundland knows that they are addictive! Seriously, the Gentle Giants are hard to resist and you really can’t have just one!