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The Grotto Cerebral Palsy Foundation has made their selection for the 1998 Newfoundland Nanny of the Year: Mollybay’s Spinner has won the award for the second year in a row. Unfortunately the trophy had to be presented posthumously as Spinner passed away last March. An honourable mention went to Hannibal’s Teddy Bear, DD; his nomination appeared in last June’s column. Following is an abridged version of the nomination, submitted by Dave and Joan Wormald of Campbellville, Ontario, that won for Spinner:

Spinner continues in his role as nanny to our two young children, Anne 7 and Jennifer 4. Several incidents over the past year have prompted this third nomination for Nanny of the Year. One day last winter Dave and I were in the family room and the children were playing out in the snow. Spinner was barking incessantly and Dave looked out to see what the problem was. The dog was standing in the middle of the front yard barking at the house. Since this was very odd behaviour, Dave went outside and found that the children were playing in the ditch. They are not allowed so close to the road and Spinner was telling us.

On another occasion, Anne and Jennifer accompanied our 4-year old next door neighbour, Julian, home after a visit. Spinner usually follows them there and back on these missions. On this day, another neighbour’s dog had wandered over to Julian’s house and tried to engage Julian in a game. Julian is afraid of this rambunctious big dog and started to cry. Spinner went over to the dog (which is about the same size as him) and knocked him down, making him lie on his back while he stood over him. He let him up when Julian was safely in the house and Anne and Jennifer had started to head home.

Once last summer the children were invited to play at another neighbour’s house and they wanted to go alone through the back field to get there. Spinner followed them and waited for two hours on the porch at the neighbour’s house and then followed them back.

One day, just before Christmas, I had taken Julian and Jennifer and Spinner to the mall to do some shopping. We were standing waiting to cross the laneway in the parking lot to the mall door. The children were on my right and Spinner was at heel on my left. Julian announced that there were no cars and started to take a step out. I said “NO” sharply to him because there was a car coming around a corner. At this, Spinner walked across in front of me and stood sideways in front of the two children, preventing them from stepping off the curb. This was unprecedented since Spinner’s behaviour on these working outings is always impeccable and he never breaks from the heel position. He blocked the children until I said that it was okay to cross and then he walked backwards back to the proper position and we crossed the laneway.

The foregoing are some examples of specific protective behaviour shown by Spinner. As well as these particular deeds he also consistently watches the children on a daily basis. He still waits with Anne for the bus in the morning, and now that Jennifer plays alone more since Anne is at school, I have noticed him following her around and lying near where she is playing. I am very proud of the way Spinner has gone from a wild and seemingly untrainable puppy into the calm and very reliable dog that he is today.

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

November 1999