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The Historic Newfoundland


based on an article in Newf Tide Winter 1984
from Dog News, August 1933

Western Union Cable Ship "Cyrus Field" that rescued the Newfoundland Dog Berg image courtesy Virtual Museum of Canada

Western Union Cable Ship "Cyrus Field" image courtesy Virtual Museum of Canada


THIS IS A STORY of how a big Newfoundland underwent terrible hardships, floating for weeks on an iceberg in the Atlantic Ocean and how the kind-hearted crew of the Western Union Cable Ship, Cyrus Field, sighted and rescued him, nursed him back to health, and now have a mascot on board.
Berg, appropriately named, as he was found on an iceberg, is believed to be one of five dogs cut away from a sledge by seal hunters when the ice cracked off Horse Island, 140 miles north of where Berg was found. His companions must have perished, but Berg somehow managed to survive, possibly by killing and eating young seal while the ice on which he was stranded was blown by gales forty miles out to sea.
The Cyrus Field encountered the heaviest ice in twenty-eight years while they were repairing a cable. They had lookouts stationed in the crow's nest and other points. The ship was slowly nosing her way along seeking signs of clear water beyond the ice. An occasional seal was sighted.
"Seal on the ice 200 yards from the edge," sang out Quartermaster Young.
"Something queer about that seal," declared Officer of the Watch Flack. "I will train the telescope on it." Suddenly he declared, "It is not a seal, Captain Beadon, it is a dog out there."
"Oh, you must be wrong," the Captain replied.
"No sir, I am sure it is a dog and we will have to save it."
"Officer Flack, if I turn this ship about on your statement that you saw a dog and it turns out to be a seal, you will face instant dismissal for wasting the company's time."
Now, of course, there is nothing in the law of the sea that compels a ship to rescue a dog, nothing except man's love for the most loyal of his animal friends, and Capt. Beadon never hesitated.
The ship was put about and plowed through the heavy ice floe to that small black speck that could be seen on the ice. As the vessel came closer, the crew were sure that it was a dog, but the animal, frightened by the appearance of the ship, ran away each time it came close and the task of rescue seemed hopeless. Finally the dog attempted to jump to another piece of ice and fell into the water. The ship was turned with great difficulty, closing the ice so the dog could climb on it and there he lay exhausted until the ship came alongside.
The whole crew were anxious to go over the side to assist in the rescue. Boatswain McCreadie finally jumped out with a rope in his hand. Cable Foreman Weeden climbed over the side and caught the dog's harness with a boat hook. Lifted on board, the dog was received in the arms of Fifth Engineer Doran, an amateur dog breeder. The ship's physician, Dr. Hutchinson, administered first aid treatment and a few days of good care and nursing restored the dog to perfect health. All the crew, of course, wanted the dog, and finally the ship's company decided to adopt him and they christened him "BERG." Berg has turned out to be a very appreciative and friendly soul and needless to say is the pet of every member of the crew.










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