An Heroic Dog.—In the year 1867, when the Gloucester lifeboat was launched, in the Victoria Docks of that city, it was deemed necessary for two men to throw themselves into the water in order to show the great utility of cork-jackets in keeping the upper part of the bodies of their wearers when in the water above its surface, to save them from drowning. Amongst the thousands of spectators who were watching the men floating about was a Newfoundland dog, who became much excited at what he, no doubt, considered to be the perilous condition of the men. He ran hither and thither, barking very furiously, and trying in a thoroughly doggish way his very best to prevail upon some one in that large multitude of human beings to go to the men's assistance. Finding no one did so, splash into the water he went, and swam direct to the men, one of whom he caught by the sleeve, with the intention of helping him out of danger. A struggle ensued: the man tried to shake the dog off, but it was of no avail. The dog would not relinquish his hold until two men in a small boat went to their rescue and took them both into it. They were then safely landed on the quay. The dog evinced some pleasure in seeing the men once again on terra firma.
If the dog was ignorant of the uses of cork-jackets he had a perception of danger, and therefore, impelled by an almost humane feeling, and prompted by a generous heart and true heroism in what he did, plunged into the water to save the men he thought were running the risk of losing their lives. No selfish motive tarnished this dog's most noble act.
-- from Verson S. Moorwood, Facts and Phases of Animal Life: Interspersed with Amusing and Original Anecdotes (New York: D. Appleton, 1883), 221.