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There were three nominations for the 1998 Newfoundland Nanny of the Year title awarded annually by the Grotto Cerebral Palsy Foundation. Each of these nominations shows a different way that Newfs can use their Nanny instincts. One describes a Newf helping a handicapped mother with her two young children. In the other two situations, there are no children currently living at home but the inherent aptitude to care for children still got expressed: in the children’s ward of a hospital and in an experimental program to introduce Junior Kindergarten through grade one kids to the performing arts.

Here is the nomination sent in by Elaine Tsubouchi of Markham, Ontario.

Teddy Bear is a Newfoundland dog and I am lucky to be his owner. Since I already had a little female Newfoundland dog named Morgan I hesitated when the breeder asked me to take Teddy as he really needed a home.

I drove up to see him and knew right away that I would take him home. What a sweet, good-natured dog! He was so willing to love everyone.

Teddy is so well trained and friendly that I thought he would make a good St. John Ambulance therapy dog. Teddy took the course and walked off with top marks.

Soon he was visiting Vista Care, a nursing home in Markham, but something was missing. Teddy was very good with seniors but like most Newfs, he loves children.

It almost seemed like Teddy was asking to visit children so I enrolled him in the next course that St. John Ambulance gave for training dogs to work with children in hospitals. Not surprisingly, once again he took top marks.

Markham Stouffville Hospital is close by, so I started to take Teddy there on Thursday mornings. It is interesting to watch the reaction of the children when Teddy visits them. He goes to the E.R. first to check out the patients there. The nurses make such a fuss over him you’d think he was there only to visit them.

His next stop is the children’s ward. He visits all the children and sits by their beds while they pat and hug him. If there is a room where he is not allowed to go in for medical reasons, he sits at the door and wags his tail. The little children really enjoy his company.

Teddy’s next duty is to greet the school tours that also take place on Thursdays. Some children immediately go up to him and hug him while others stand back in awe. It only takes a little, but eventually all the rest of the children come up and pet and hug him. The children soon forget how big he is and only see a big lovable Newf.

When I see these children, many of whom are bedridden, have their eyes light up with joy and excitement when Teddy shows up, my heart warms up. Teddy is not simply the nanny to one child, he is the nanny to a whole hospital full of children.

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

June 1999