Cozy Tales: 43. Fame

Since my Cozy had her own website that many people in the Newfy community routinely visited, her page had references on thousands of other pages. This was at a time before Myspace and Facebook, when the average person was just learning about the Internet. Google did not yet exist, and Alta Vista and Yahoo were the big names in search engines.

I often receive emails sent by people from throughout the world commenting on Cozy or Daisy and how much they loved the pictures and updates, and those who searched for terms such as Newfoundland dog would find Cozy’s page since it was so popular. One day in 2002 I received an email from the Army Corps of Engineers asking if they could use one of the images of Cozy for a project.

Curious as to why the Army would be interested in my Cozy, I found that they were producing a brochure to help celebrate the passage of Lewis and Clark through the midwest. From my reading I knew that Lewis and Clark made their trek with the help of a Newfoundland dog named Seaman. The Army Corps of Engineers wanted a picture that epitomized a Newfoundland dog, and they had found one that they liked on Cozy’s webpage.

They had chosen a picture that I had taken while at my mother’s house in New Hampshire in 1998. It wasn’t the greatest picture, and it had been taken with my old Kodak DC120 1.2 megapixel digital camera. It was, by my standards, a terrible representation of my skills as a photographer, even if they felt that it was the perfect representation of the breed. I offered them different pictures and even offered to take new ones, but it they didn’t seem to care about my skills, and they wanted this particular picture. Who was I to say no?

I agreed that they could use the picture and sent them the high-resolution (as high as 1.2 megapixels could be) original. I said that I only wanted credit for the photograph and a copy of whatever it was they were producing. They agreed and promised that I would get what I had requested. I promptly forgot all about the entire affair and went on with my life, which at this stage involved a lot of things revolving around small children, large dogs, and whatever distractions I could fit in to maintain my sanity.

Months later I got a funny tube in the mail. Wondering what goofy thing I might have bought and forgotten, which was a sadly common problem in my sleep-deprived  life. I brought it into the house, and when I told Lauren that I had received something in a tube, she got up and ran over excitedly exclaiming “Cozy! Cozy!” Suddenly I felt like I had missed something, which is something that’s still common in our house to this day.

Fearing for her sanity I handed over the tube which she quickly opened revealing a wonderful glossy pamphlet that had to have been one foot by two feet in size. It looked like the kind of thing you might find in a museum or a classroom. Each page showed maps and details about the progress of the Lewis and Clark expedition, and on one of the pages next to a diary entry mentioning Seaman was my picture of Cozy with the caption Lewis’ Dog Seaman was a Newfoundland – © 1998 Gary A. Donahue. Not only had I had my first photograph published, it was of my beloved Cozy! I immediately set out to photograph the pamphlet so I could show it off on Newf.Net where everyone was properly impressed.

My Cozy was not only famous, she was now representing the breed to thousands of people that were learning about them for the first time. I would like to think that Cozy was very honored, but she seemed thoroughly bored by the whole affair, likely due to the fact that the pamphlet didn’t smell like leftover tilapia from the trash.

The full document is still available online and can be viewed on the Kansas City District Army Corps of Engineers website.

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