Schooner, a furry, eight-year-old St. John’s ambassador, has died. A Newfoundland dog who for the past several years — with other dogs of the same breed — greeted tourists on cruise ships and atop Signal Hill, died of cancer Tuesday night.
Owner Carolyn Jackman said he was fixture for tourists in St. John’s.
“(Tourism Newfoundland and Labrador) was looking for a Newfoundland dog and a Labrador retriever to greet the cruise ships, and that’s sort of how it started,” said Jackman.
A friend of the Jackman family mentioned Schooner, and his ambassadorial career was born.
Not only did he greet cruise ships, but he often opened conventions.
Jackman estimates Schooner made between 50 and 100 public appearances, with his last one coming at the AHL all-star game in St. John’s in February.
Jackman said greeting tourists was in Schooner’s blood.
“His father did cruise ship greetings, and the very first time Schooner was ever down on the dock for a greeting, an unofficial one, was when he was four months old,” said Jackman, who added her dog loved meeting people, and spent time visiting people in hospitals as part of a pet therapy program. “It was old hat for him.”
Schooner won two best-in-show titles at competitions as well, said Jackman, adding that he will be missed.
“It’s hard. It’s tough,” she said.
The Jackmans recently lost another Newfoundland dog, a 12-year-old, as well as another Newfoundland a couple of years ago.
The Jackmans currently have two wire-haired dachshunds, but Carolyn said they’d consider getting another Newfoundland someday.
“Once you get them, it’s hard not to have them.”