The story of Lewis and Clark’s dog is a timeless one. The fact that they named their dog “Seaman” has aged less gracefully.
Seaman was a Newfoundland, a beast of a pupper whose breed regularly tops 100 pounds. Loyal, heavy-boned working dogs originally bred to help fishermen, they’re exactly the kind of furry companion that you’d want on a treacherous cross-country expedition.
Meriwether Lewis purchased Seaman for $20 in Pittsburgh in August of 1803, It wasn’t an easy slog for the dog, at least according to Lewis’ journals, in which he details a story of the dog being attacked by a beaver, sustaining arterial damage in his hind leg and requiring Lewis to operate. At another point, the story goes that Seaman (stop laughing, that was his real name) was abducted by natives, and Lewis threatened to kill their entire tribe if his dog wasn’t returned, which is, uh, sweet? In sort of a John Wick way?
Still, Seaman persisted, and managed to survive the entire trip. The last known record of the dog came in 1806, when Lewis described his pooch’s discomfort after being swarmed by mosquitoes.