WARRENTON — On July 10, the 26th annual Seaman’s Day will be held at Lewis and Clark National Historical Park’s Fort Clatsop unit to celebrate Seaman, the Newfoundland dog Merriwether Lewis purchased for $20 in August 1803.

Peninsula resident Marty Martin and her Newfoundland Bismarck have participated in several Seaman’s Day celebrations, and they will be there this year as well.

When this gentle giant was younger he used to chase shadows and the infamous “red dot” created by a laser pointer.

“It was pretty funny to see a 160-pound dog leap in the air like a cat, trying to get the dot,” Martin said.

“Bismarck is getting old now,” Martin said.

“He’s 9. The two of us are pretty entertaining, though, with him being so big and me being a little runt.”

When asked what Bismarck would be doing for the Seaman’s Day festivities, Martin said, “We’re going to try luring him into the red-dot nonsense.”

Bismarck, a black and white Newfoundland, (also called a Landseer) also barks on command.

The Landseer dog breed is named after the British painter Sir Edwin Henry Landseer. This breed is not recognized by all kennel clubs, nor is it to be confused with a black and white Newfoundland.

Newfoundlands are known for their incredible swimming ability. They don’t really do the dog paddle. They use power strokes much like the human breaststroke.

These dogs often try to rescue swimmers or surfers who aren’t in need of being rescued.

Martin said Newfoundlands have a lot of energy until they reach the age of two.

“After that they’re basically speed bumps.”

In fact, Bismarck was chosen because he had more white on him than the other pups in the litter.

“We got tired of tripping over all-black dogs,” Martin said with a laugh.

This time of year can be traumatic for many pets because of the fireworks. This doesn’t seem to be a problem for Bismarck. He goes outside and barks at them. Martin’s husband, Bob, wonders if Bismarck is seeing a skyful of the ever-elusive red dot.

See Coast Weekend for more details about Fort Clatsop’s Newfoundland event.

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