November 18, 1993 – October 21, 2004
Napoleon died peacefully in his sleep, four weeks before his 11th birthday. He was being treated for benign growths on his neck, but otherwise appeared to be healthy. Cause of death is unknown.
When Napoleon was adopted by Lloyd Nelson of Whitby, Ontario, Lloyd was prospecting by himself in remote areas for half of each year. After bringing this new buddy into his life, Lloyd started Canadian Newf Rescue and has devoted his life to helping the breed.
In the early years, Napoleon would go prospecting with Lloyd. He would go into the streams and catch fish just like his ancestors did hundreds of years ago. He saved Lloyd a lot of legwork by backpacking the dynamite into the remote wilderness while Lloyd carried the detonators.
Lloyd no longer had to mark his trail back to the trailer as Napoleon could always get them home. Napoleon could also be sent to find Lloyd’s other special Newf, Blue, an elderly rescued dog that Lloyd and Napoleon adopted together.
Another special duty of Napoleon during the prospecting days was to scare off any bears that they encountered. After a few years, Lloyd gave up prospecting so that he could run the rescue service for Newfoundlands year round. Napoleon remained Lloyd’s constant companion, going everywhere with him.
Lloyd took Napoleon down to nearby Lake Ontario where he swam year round, right up to the last days of his life. Sometimes Lloyd had to tie a rope to Napoleon’s collar so that he could get him out of the water, even in the middle of winter. Passer-by’s would watch this guy swim in ice water with awe.
When Lloyd organized the Great Newfie Trek to Newfoundland in 1997 as part of the 500th anniversary of Cabot’s re-discovery of Newfoundland, Napoleon would often steal the show by swimming in water where icebergs were close by and carrying “sticks” that were actually medium size trees. Even the hardy Newfoundlanders watched him in awe.
Napoleon shared many adventures with Lloyd over the years, such as fishing for shrimp in Greenland. There were so many shrimp and the ship was overloaded so Napoleon and Blue got all the shrimp that they could eat.
Lloyd has immortalized Napoleon in photographs that he sells around the world, all proceeds going to Canadian Newf Rescue. These include the most incredible head shot and many showing his prowess in the water.