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In all the miles traveled by the Corps of Discovery and all the sites named after individuals in the expedition, Lewis and Clark Journals mention only one landmark named after the canine member of the crew…and the name of that Montana stream has since been changed.

Now, “Seaman” has been given a permanent home in Salmon.

The famous Newfoundland dog was honored on Memorial Day with the unveiling of a life size bronze statue at Salmon’s Sacajawea Interpretive Center. Seeing the statue in place is a dream come true for members of the Lemhi County Humane Society who first thought of the idea two years ago. The group was able to commission the work with the help of a grant from the Idaho Governor’s Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Celebration Trail Committee. The needed additional funds were raised locally through donations, sales of books about Seaman and Seaman T-shirts.

The two creators of the actual statue are metal sculptor Bill Kranstover of Park City, Utah and bronze artist Adrian Prazten of Salt Lake City. Humane Society President Mitzi Felton said this statue is the first of its kind for both artists. She said the two talked constantly by phone with a man who raises Newfoundland dogs professionally and who supplied all the dimension details of the life-size replica. The honor of unveiling the statue was given to the artists.

Felton thanked all those involved in bringing the project to reality including the city for its grant writing direction plus the actual labor and equipment involved in statue placement.

It is thought Seaman was purchased in Philadelphia by Lewis, expressly for the expedition. The price paid for the dog over a century ago was $20. There are numerous references to Seaman in expedition journals and it is clear he acted as a guard against camp intruders such as buffalo and bear and was one of the expedition’s more successful hunters. Being an excellent retriever by breed, he was encouraged to provide squirrels for camp dinners and on one occasion a deer. The deer had been wounded by a hunting party member and had attempted a water way escape. Seaman plunged into the river, drowned the deer and hauled it to shore.

Seaman’s adventures included a life threatening encounter with a beaver which severed an artery in the dog’s hind leg, and he was even the victim of a kidnapping when an Indian tribe decided they wanted him. Other tribes tried to barter with beaver pelts, to no avail.

Trail veteran Seaman suffered the literal barbs of vegetation and bites from incredibly huge swarms of mosquitoes right along with his human companions.

The local Humane Society has made the Sacajawea Center a very canine friendly place. Leashed dogs are allowed on the walking trails where the organization has supplied a doggie sanitation center with plastic baggies and waste disposal containers. Right next to the new Seaman statue is a fenced area complete with potted flowers, seating for humans and beautiful green grass. The new critter rest stop was built by Humane Society volunteers led by the tireless efforts of Vicki Armstrong. Armstrong says the newly created facility will also have a sanitation center plus wire fencing added to the rails for better containment.

The beautiful bronze rendition of Seaman stands to the east of the Sacajawea statue. If Memorial Day youngsters are an accurate forecast of what’s to come, the Seaman statue will undoubtedly be petted to a golden sheen by children who just have to touch him….and aren’t told not to.

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