Old Faithful – The Rum Running Dog

Gertrude Lythgoe and Old FaithfulBill McCoy’s Newfoundland dog, Old Faithful, sailed with the rumrunner in the early 1920s as Bill’s companion and banker.

As you can imagine, rum running was a cash-and-carry business. When wads of dollars filled Bill’s pockets, he dumped the dough on the double bunk he shared with his dog. Faithful guarded the stash with bared teeth and a guttural growl. Bill said that anyone dumb enough to reach for the cash would have to kill or be killed. He literally bet his money on his dog.

Black LabradorNewfieThe only picture I could find of Faithful is in the tight hug of Gertrude Lythgoe, the Queen of Rum Running. From what little I can see, Faithful looks more like a Black Labrador than the Newfoundland dogs I’ve been honored to pet.

After a little web searching, I found a picture of a Newfoundland dog from the 1920s. I’ll be darned if this pup isn’t the spitting image of a Lab or even a Chesapeake Bay Retriever.

I’d let this tough guy guard my cash any day.


3 thoughts on “Old Faithful – The Rum Running Dog

  1. Interesting, Jo. I had a Newfoundland, Phred. 160 pounds of love and affection. Plus, as they were bred to go on fishing ships and rescue men who fell into the cold Atlantic, they had slightly webbed feet and some sort of oil skin under the mounds of fur. In the winter offer Phred the barn at night and he’d always choose a snowbank instead.

    Lots of lakes and ponds in Andover, MA. where we lived. The rule was, if you want to go skating, you have to take Phred. If any child fell through the ice, Phred would jump in and pull them to shore. Never had to test that, fortunately.

    Best dog I ever had.


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