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Henry is a very special Newfoundland. I heard that he has recently passed on to Newfie heaven, but he will still live on.

This remarkable Newf had a remarkable owner, Rachael Hale, an internationally renown award winning photographer from New Zealand. Together they created art that is a must have for Newfie fanciers. You have probably seen Henry’s image in card shops and other stores. His photos adorn plaques, magnets, mugs, posters, calendars and prints.

While my credentials as an art critic are dubious at best, I saw the essence of the Newfoundland dog captured in Ms. Hales’s photographs of her pet. All of her animal photography is great but there is something magical about the Henry pictures and three of them in particular.

Henry made his debut in 1999 in a Rachael Hale calendar. It seemed to be an impossible shot – Pipi the parrot was perched on his muzzle; try that with your run-of-the-mill dog! Then there was the shot of Henry with Bradley the rabbit on his head. However, in 2004, came my favourite – Henry with Edmund, a white cat, draped over Henry’s head. In an interview, Ms. Hale was quoted as saying: “I love photographing Henry. Each time you can tell by his eyes he’s thinking ‘oh no, not again’.” Well in the photo of Henry and Edmund you can see the eyes rolled up. At first I thought that he was just trying to see the cat on his head, but after the interview, I realized that he was doing the same eye roll that I got when back in 1980 I harnessed my Newf, George, to a gas powered lawn mower.

Newfoundlands are often described as “nature’s gentleman” and Rachael Hale’s photographs of Henry demonstrate this so eloquently.

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 2005