Here's a thrilling true story about a Newfoundland not only clever enough to get into a theatre, but brave and strong enough to make a dramatic if unplanned stage debut. . .
* * *On Thursday evening, January 28, 1858, as the play of "Jessie Vere" was being performed at Woolwich Theatre, and when a scene in the third act had been reached, in which a "terrific struggle" for the possession of a child takes place between the fond mother and two "hired ruffians," a large Newfoundland dog, which had by some means gained admittance with its owner into the pit, leaped over the heads of the musicians in the orchestra, and flew to the rescue, seizing one of the assassins, and almost dragging him to the ground. It was with difficulty removed, and dragged off the stage. The dog, which is the property of the chief engineer of Her Majesty's ship Buffalo, has been habitually accustomed to the society of children, for whom he has on many occasions evinced strong proofs of affection.
From a Museum favorite: Anecdotes of Dogs, edited by Edward Jesse (1858), p. 167.