It was when I was in the Asphodel that I first took a Newfoundland retriever, 'Hero' to sea with me from Scarborough. 'Hero' went ashore daily at Lauceston, and returned regularly, but on the day we sailed he failed to turn up, and we were hauled out in the stream before we noticed his absence.
There was another of Walker's ships there due to sail for London with him. The Captain did so, and as the Asphodel had to load at Mauritius, reached London before me. When he got there, there happened at the time to be a little Scarborough vessel, the 'Duncan Dunbar' lying in the river. She belonged to Mr William Wear, and with the 'Endeavour' used to bring general goods to Scarborough. 'Hero' was put on board the 'Duncan Dunbar,' but when this craft arrived at Scarborough it was low water, and she grounded coming in.
'Hero' ran into the bows, looked at the old town, jumped overboard, swam ashore, and bolted to my sisters house in Castlegate, from which place I had taken him. The house door was open, but no one was downstairs, and he bounded up to a bedroom, bursting in in the wildest excitement and to the surprise of all. Since leaving Scarborough he had been ten months away and right round the world, beating his master home. His arrival without me was a mystery and a matter of some anxiety until an explanation followed. Hero was a marvellous dog for the water, full of play, and accompanied me on many voyages. In light winds he would sometimes jump overboard for a swim, and we frequently had to back the mainsail to allow him being picked up again. Throwing over a bowline, into which he would put his fore-paws and head and shoulders assisting, we hauled him against the side of the ship.
Once in the South Pacific Ocean, on passage from Australia to China, I had a dozen Tasmanian geese, on board, as as we were close to the equator, and the ship was only making a mile an hour, I thought in my ignorance it would be a good thing to give the geese a swim, so fastened them at intervals to a long line, and threw them overboard. Instead of them swimming in the same direction of the ship, as I imagined they would have done, they formed line abreast, and began to swim in the opposite direction. When they felt the strain of the line as they began to be towed backwards, they set up a great cackling, and this created much excitement in the heart of 'Hero', who promptly jumped overboard and swam to the geese to see what it was all about. He treated them as a Sheperd dog treats sheep , and what with his attentions and the frantic efforts of the geese to break loose from the line as we pulled them in backwards to the ship, they were a pretty sorry looking pen of fowls when, we finally got them on board.
The above story appeared in a series of articles by Forrest Frank in 1920 in the Scarborough Daily Post - This story came from Captain Wyrill