This section of the book is from the "Stories of Animal Sagacity" book, by William Henry Giles Kingston.
How often has the noble Newfoundland dog been the means of saving the lives of those perishing in the water!
A heavy gale was blowing, when a vessel was seen driving toward the coast of Kent. She struck, and the surf rolled furiously round her. Eight human beings were observed clinging to the wreck, but no ordinary boat could be launched to their aid; and in those days, I believe, no lifeboats existed,—at all events, not as they do now, on all parts of the coast. It was feared every moment that the unfortunate seamen would perish, when a gentleman came down to the beach, accompanied by a Newfoundland dog. He saw that, if a line could be stretched between the wreck and the shore, the people might be saved; but it could only be carried from the vessel to the shore. He knew how it must be done.
Putting a short stick in the mouth of the animal, he pointed to the vessel. The courageous dog understood his meaning, and springing into the sea, fought his way through the waves. In vain, however, he strove to get up the vessel’s side; but he was seen by the crew, who, making fast a rope to another piece of wood, hove it toward him. The sagacious animal understood the object, and seizing the piece of wood, dragged it through the surf, and delivered it to his master. A line of communication was thus formed between the vessel and the shore, and every man on board was rescued from a watery grave.