274 TWO BIG DOGS AND A LITTLE ONE
and then, if necessary, they are ready to undertake the post of night-watchman, or to do anything else that their masters wish.
One weakness, however, Newfoundland dogs have, and that is a love of sheep's blood, which renders it dangerous to keep them in sheep-breeding districts.
A story is told of a man who brought a pure-bred puppy from the north of the island of Newfoundland to his own home, at a place called Harbour Grace. The pup soon became a great favourite with everybody, and especially with the children, and in his leisure moments, when his work was done, was generally to be found in their company. Even the cats rather liked him—he was so big that most likely they didn't think he was a dog at all—he never interfered with anything they did, and was always polite. But the moment he saw a sheep he became another creature. He would chase it until he ran it down, and would even drive it over the cliffs into the sea, and jump in after it! That is, he would jump in if he did not consider the leap too dangerous, for Newfoundland dogs are very cautious. If he did, he would scramble round by an easier road, and reach his prey some other way.
But the puppy, young as he was, was so cunning, that it was often a matter of difficulty to detect his crimes, and so good and useful in other respects, that his master had often not the heart to punish him for them. Besides, as the man felt, it was the nature of the creature, and no amount of punishment would ever alter that. The dog must either go, or the man must, as far as he could, keep the sheep out of his way, and when he could not, suffer in silence! Still, let him be as careful as he might, the sheep and the dog could not always be kept separate, and then something dreadful always happened. For some time the master thought, however, that Fowler was really cured of his bad habits, for he would pass three young sheep that had been bought without taking the slightest