French National Hero

Stories about Newfoundland dogs heroically saving people from watery graves are not just part of the breed’s history; Newfs are still providing this service in 1998. From the Fall, 1998 newsletter of the B.C. Region of the Newfoundland Dog Club of Canada came this news item originally run in the International Herald Tribune on July 31st:

Tuesday, July 28, 1998, Maui, a courageous and loyal Newfoundland Rescue Dog, became a French national hero after giving his life to save three tourists, two Dutch and one British, from drowning in rough Mediterranean waters off the southern tip of Corsica.

He swam out with a lifeguard’s surfboard and with the exhausted swimmers hanging onto it, he was able to tow them to shore.

Just before reaching the beach at Propriano, crashing waves separated the group. Fireman called to the scene were able to haul the tourists ashore but the exhausted dog went under and drowned.

On a lighter and happier note, the World Championship Kissing Contest was held in Acton, Ontario on July 26th as part of the Newfoundland Dog Club of Canada’s Fun Day. This year it only took 23 kisses to the face in the 60 second time limit to clinch the world title; the all time record was 156.

The trophy, a giant slobber cloth, went to a seven month old puppy bitch, Hayley. Hayley is owned and handled by Dwight Dilling of Brampton, Ontario. If memory serves, this is the first time a female Newf has won this award.

Peter Maniate has been writing a column about Newfoundland dogs for the Breedlines section of Dogs in Canada magazine since January, 1996. The preceding column originally appeared in the October, 1998 issue. Permission is granted for re-publication of the preceding article or excerpts from it as long as the author is credited and the name of the original publication and date of first publication is included.