Wednesday, October 29, 2008

"Gander" The Heroic Newfoundland Dog

Newfoundland dogs are renown for their friendliness, love of children and for their rescuing abilities. Since the breed was developed in Newfoundland over a hundred years ago, there have been many stories told of Newfoundlands saving passengers from sinking ships and rescuing children in trouble while playing in their favourite swimming holes. But there is one Newfoundland that showed bravery and loyalty beyond what is commonly credited to the breed. His name was Gander and he gave his life protecting Canadian and other Commonwealth soldiers on the beaches of Hong Kong Island during World War II.

In 1940, Gander was the family pet of Rod Hayden, a resident of the town of Gander in Newfoundland. The dog's name at that time was Pal. He was well known in the town, but often mistaken as a bear by pilots landing at the airport. This gentle giant was loved by the neighbourhood children who used him to tow their sleds during winter. One day, while greeting a group of children, Pal's paw accidentally scratched the face of a six year old. Concerned that the dog might have to be "put down", Mr. Hayden gave Pal to the 1 st Battalion of the Royal Rifles of Canada as a mascot. His new owners called him Gander, after the military base they were responsible for protecting during the war.

Gander and the Royal Rifles were sent to Hong Kong Island in 1941 where they joined other Commonwealth troops to defend the island against attacks by the Japanese. During the Battle of the Lye Mun, Gander displayed great bravery protecting his "newfound" friends. When the Japanese landed near the Canadian section of the beach, Gander greeted the enemy with threatening barks and attempts at biting their legs. On another occasion as Japanese troops were nearing a group of wounded Canadian soldiers, Gander surprised the enemy by charging them. For some reason, the Japanese were unwilling to shoot the dog. Instead, they changed their route and the lives of the wounded soldiers were saved.

Gander showed his greatest and last act of bravery and loyalty during another Japanese attack. During the battle, an enemy grenade landed near a group of Canadian soldiers. Probably out of concern for his friends, Gander grabbed the grenade in his mouth and carried it to where it would do no harm. Unfortunately, the grenade exploded in Gander's mouth, killing him instantly. He had given his life saving the lives of the Canadian soldiers.

The story of Gander's bravery, once well-known and told many times by residents of his home town, was almost forgotten. In a conversation between Mrs. Eileen Elms, who knew the dog as Pal and whose sister had been scratched by the dog, and local historian Mr. Frank Tibbo, Gander's act of bravery was mentioned. Through their efforts, Gander's story was revived and his act of bravery recognized.

Gander, the Newfoundland dog, was posthumously awarded the prestigious Dickin Medal, equivalent to the Victoria Cross given to soldiers of the British Commonwealth for their acts of bravery. Gander was awarded the medal in August, 2000 at a Hong Kong Veterans of Canada reunion in Fredericton, New Brunswick.

Bravo Gander

Beauty without Vanity, Strength without Insolence, Courage without Ferocity, And all the Virtues of Man without his Vices.


Sunday, October 19, 2008

CH Mainsail's Blackbeary Express

My brother Rebus and I were in a dog show on the weekend. We had to wait around for our turn in the ring. I just don't get it mom spends hours and hours washing, drying, combing and clipping me and for what? A whole 60 seconds in the ring. At least this time the judges were nice to me. And boy did they smell good!
I got to go in the ring more than once this time, which made it worth it I guess. The last time in the ring I got to go in with 2 girls, Enya is a very special girl, the only time she is in the ring is the last time, and she prances around like she knows what to do. I just kinda follow along behind her.
This is Rebus and his mom waiting their turn in the ring. Rebus looked so good, he's getting the hang of it. He doesn't mind the judges touching him at all in fact it looks to me like he really enjoys it! He is such a handsome boy if I do say so. His tail is just like mine. We should have a contest to see who can carry their tail higher. Dad keeps telling me to keep it down and wacks it every once in awhile.
At he end of the show mom took our pictures. Don't we look handsome?
Mom and dad were pretty happy the last day, they said I was a "Champ" and that now I can carry my tail any way I want. Whew, that was hard work. I got to eat as many cookies as I wanted. And they even gave me some steak to eat, but I wasn't in to I'm just kinda hanging out waiting to see if any good looking girls come my way.
Hey Satchie, are there any girls up at the kennels that would be interested in a good looking Canadian boy? I know your hanging out with alot of girls right now so see if you can find one for me.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

As newfie's we have alot to be thankful for!!.. We seem to draw attention everywhere we go, and mom and dad get asked a zillion questions about us, which they answer as if it was the first time they had ever been asked. Like:

How much do I eat? (anyone that knows me, knows the answer to that one)

How much do I weigh? (173lbs today)

Do I shed much? (oh about a ton a year)

Do I slobber much? (only when I'm hot or when there is ice cream around and girls girls girls!!!)

Where do I sleep? (anywhere I want)

What's my name? (Giz, Gizzy, Gizmo, The Giz,Big Guy, Handsome, Goofball, Gizzard, Gizzimoto, Doofus)

What kind of dog am I? (I'm not a dog, I'm a Newfie!!!)

Am I tough? (mostly from younger boys, I say "Do you want to try me?")

I am thankful for all the attention, I am thankful for all my friends, like Satch, Rebus, Androol, and of course my Godfather, Uncle Steve.

But most of all I am thankful for having a mom and dad that look after me so well.

Mom came across this posting and we thought we would share it with you.

Found on Craig's list (For all the people who casually place their beloved family pets on the pages of craigslist everywhere- for whatever reasons one can imagine..... .. THESE are the people who need to read THIS!)
I have three dogs, one is 130+ lbs, he's a Komondor, loves to play, will pick up the brush when/if I drop it and give it back to me. He has a ghost we call Boo.. He likes to carry Boo around. Great with kids, protective over his family. A female Weimaraner that is 60+, very pretty, shiny coat, blue in color. Can be protective, but is generally outgoing. Can put a treat on her nose then usually catch it. Sometimes the big dog grabs it before she gets it though. A 5 lb Yorkie, he's 10 years old, and cranky. Pees in the house if he's upset, and will occasionally leave other "gifts" for you. Things that upset him are not sleeping in, rain, other dogs, other cats, not giving him enough attention, anything new in the house, when I'm upset, when I leave and don't take him, and a few other things. But he does dance for a treat and catch mice and will do agility courses. My dogs are all neutered/spayed and current on their vaccinations. They get fed holistic food, it seems expensive but is really only $1/day for all of them. That's less than a bottle of soda. My dogs are not up for adoption. I have moved 6 times in my life, including college and a divorce, they always come with. We've lived here for 4 years, and if we move, they'll go with me. I have two kids, I still have my dogs. They were here before the kids, and I took the time to teach them to be gentle to kids, even tiny babies. My little dog doesn't like kids that much, he likes them when they're sleeping. So I trained my kids to leave him alone. I don't have a job, haven't for the last three years, my job has been being a mother. I still have my dogs. I just don't buy other things I don't need. I have a 130 lb dog who needs to be groomed... I brush him twice a week, it takes less than 5 minutes a day. I don't feel bad for people who say they "don't have the time" to groom a shih tzu. It doesn't take that long.
My dogs shed, but so do I, so I think we're even. I've had dogs my whole life, and have never "suddenly" acquired a strange allergic reaction to them, nor know anyone who has, and I know a lot of people with dogs.
My dogs do not destroy my house, because I don't let them. I have two breeds that are commonly referred to as strong willed and destructive. I simply have rules and make the dogs listen. They do not eat until I tell them they can. This makes me the pack leader. I do not share my couch or bed. With the big dogs, I will not fight over where I get to sit. I do not have to lock my dogs out of the kitchen when we eat. I simply taught them they're not allowed. A flyswatter being smacked on the table has a lot of power in a dogs eyes, used with the word "out" it's amazing. I have two cats, and a leather living room set. The cats are not declawed. I simply give them other things to scratch that are acceptable. They enjoy them. I have three dogs and two cats. Sometimes they get fed up with each other. I still have them all. I just remind them this is my house, and separate them from each other for an hour then everything is okay. I have an old dog, and I got a new dog. I did not get rid of the old dog because he didn't like the new dog. An end note to all the dogs who have spent the best 3-10 years of their lives in the only home they've known to be replaced by a child, other pet, move, new job, etc. I'm so sorry. I can't imagine your heartache of being disowned by your parent who loved you for years. There was a name attached, I do not know that it was the actual person who wrote it, or whether this was written as a 'model' to remind people that they're not getting rid of a coat, but a live being.
Regardless it makes a very important point and to me at least, is worthy of sharing.

The Gizmeister