Tessa The Guide Dog

tessa-guide-dog-statue-front.jpg

As many of the readers of The Past Present will be aware, most postcards in the extensive collection focus on a place, be it a building, a beach or a park. Yet there have, over time, been many postcards created which focus instead on monuments, just as the postcard above does. The intriguing thing about this card is it has no caption, and makes no mention at all of what the focus of the statue is, where the monument is located, or why it was constructed.

After a little research, it has been discovered that the monument pictured above is located in Newcastle, in Stockton to be precise, at the Lynn Oval. Where many monuments honour a person or an event, this one honours an animal who, in her lifetime, did amazing work, not just for her owner, but for all blind people. Tessa, the dog in the photo, was a guide dog, and between 1958 and her death in 1971 she was owned by Mrs Jean Dowsett. So what was it which made this dog so special? Tessa and her blind owner were a world record breaking fundraising team! They would make the journey from their home to the Stockton Ferry Wharf, where they would ask passengers for donations to support the blind. In their years of service, they were able to raise $45000 which, at the time, was more than any other dog and owner worldwide! After Tessa died her owner wanted a monument to be created to remember the amazing dog and the Stockton Lions Club honoured this request, erecting a statue to ‘Tessa The Golden Guide Dog’ in the years following Tessa’s death.

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