There’s something that I have to get off of my chest. For over a year it has been stewing inside of me. On August 24th, 2000, I sent the following to the Managing Editor of the only daily newspaper in Newfoundland, the St. John’s Telegram:
Dear Mr. Loney,
I am a breeder of Newfoundland dogs and write about the breed in Dogs in Canada magazine and edit a newsletter devoted to Newfoundlands.
In tracking the news coverage of Gander, the Newfoundland dog war hero from Newfoundland, who has recently been awarded a most distinguished award, I can find no record of this story being printed in your newspaper. I hope this is due to the inadequacies of web searches and not because of an oversight on the part of your news department. The CP press release was dated August 11, 2000 and most newspapers carried the story on August 12th although a New Zealand paper took until August 16th.
If this story was published in your paper, please e-mail me back with the date; if not, please consider printing the story. I believe that all residents of Newfoundland should be proud of this native born canine and especially those from his home town, after which he was named. He certainly represented them well on the far side of the earth with three citations for bravery in the bloodiest battle of World War II. Gander saved many of our brave lads without harming a single opposing soldier and somehow, in that living hell, earned the respect of both sides. What does it take to merit a mention in your newspaper?
Bretton Loney replied the next day:
We picked up the CP version of this story and ran it on page six of our Saturday, August 12th newspaper. I certainly concur with your statement that all residents of Newfoundland should be proud of Gander.
Page six! Is that all they think of a Newfoundland dog from Newfoundland earning the highest award in the world for animal bravery? To put this in context, a Newf from Sarnia, Ontario earned her Water Rescue Dog title and the local daily, the Sarnia Observer, carried the story on the front page along with two colour pictures of Shona and her owner, Joan Widdowson.
While I have often heard that the Newfoundland dog is not really appreciated in his native land, we now have a stunning example of this fact. Makes you wonder what a Newfie dog would have to do to make front page news in Newfoundland.
Peter Maniate has been writing columns for the Newf News, the magazine of the Newfoundland Dog Club of Canada, since 1979. In 1996 he started writing a Newfoundland dog column in the Breedlines section of Dogs in Canada magazine on behalf of the Newfoundland Dog Club of Canada. When Dogs in Canada ceased publication at the end of 2011 he continued the Breedlines column in the Newf Newfs.
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.Dogs in Canada