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At last I can tell you who won the first ever Newfoundland Nanny of the Year award. There were five nominations for this award and three of them have already been printed in earlier columns. The Grotto Cerebral Palsy Foundation chose Hannibal’s Moon Over Malstarr, DD (“Kole”) as the 1996 Newfoundland Nanny of the Year. Kole is owned by Russ Kastner and Heather Hill-Kastner of Aurora, Ontario and this was the winning nomination that they submitted:

I have thought long and hard about this. We do indeed have a 4 year old son, soon to be 5, I am informed. And yes, we have two wonderful Newfs. Kole is three years old plus change and Bear is one and change. In the past 12 months neither dog has done anything exceptional, (i.e. front page news for saving drowning victims), but they are a very important presence in our son’s day to day life. They eat breakfast with him, play with him, sleep near him and give him kisses when they seem to know he needs them. Every morning our son gives them good morning hugs and kisses and every night the same.

Our son, in summarizing our Newfs, refers to them as his Best Friends and when asked what makes them special he replies ‘”cause they *love me*”. So yes, they are both Nanny Newfs but for this year I would like to focus on Kole as the number one Nanny in our family. Bear, being the youngest is a Nanny in training.

Kole offers unconditional love to a four year old child who has no siblings and no peer group his own age and who is overcoming a severe communication disorder and hearing impairment.

Kole has opened a window of friendship and companionship. Kole loves to help him play at the edge of his grandfather’s pond in safety and walk through grandpa’s fields with confidence. Kole gave him the confidence to sleep in a tent this past summer when he was frightened by the noise and darkness. After an operation this past year when he heard things he hadn’t heard before, Kole was there to offer silence and confidence.

Sam speaks with pride and confidence to all who inquire that Kole was his pal and he was a Newfoundland Dog.

Kole, in the true sense, has taught Sam to share toys, food and love. Kole listens to his woes and troubles without offering advice or chastisement. My husband and I always know where our son is because there is a black Newf within feet of him. Sam learned to throw a ball, playing retrieval games with Kole. He is learning to drive a dog sled with Kole as his lead dog.

Kole has taught Sam to be loving, gentle and confident. Kole helped expose him to places and people he may never have met. Sam’s Newf was very much a part of his last year’s celebrations. Kole gives Sam’s friends cart rides and kisses.

In his role as Sam’s Nanny, in the past year Kole has blocked strangers from our son and yes, he dragged him out of the pond at his grandfather’s house. Yes, Kole stayed with him when he got lost in grandpa’s overgrown fields. When Sam needs help in the yard, Kole barks his call of alarm to us. Kole is indeed Sam’s best friend. We are confident that this Gentle Giant will be there for our son in time of adversity. Kole is now sharing his Nanny duties with Bear so our son will always be protected and loved by a willing Newf.

There was also an Honourable Mention awarded for 1996; it went to Hannibal’s Cuddly Bear (“Cuddles”). Cuddles is owned by Ruth Graham of Essex, Ontario and her story can be found in the June 1997 column.

This Fall, the Grotto Cerebral Palsy Foundation will present a trophy to Kole and a certificate to Cuddles. The beauty of this contest is that there are no losers; all dogs nominated for the Newfoundland Nanny of the Year Award, along with their families, are automatically winners in the most real sense of the word.

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

August 1997