The Dog Who Pushed Kids into the River for Steak Rewards


In 1908 Paris, an extraordinary and somewhat scandalous story emerged about a Newfoundland dog with a very cunning plan to secure steak rewards.

According to a contemporary report from the New York Times, this dog was anything but a typical heroic canine.

The tale begins innocently enough. One day, the dog heard the frantic cries of a child who had accidentally fallen into the river Seine.

Displaying remarkable bravery, the dog leaped into the river and managed to save the struggling child.

The dog’s heroism did not go unnoticed, and it was rewarded with a generous slab of meat.

This seemed like a fitting reward for such a noble act, but it inadvertently set off a chain of events that would reveal the dog’s true motives.

The Canine’s Clever Scheme

The dog quickly made a crucial connection: rescuing children from the river meant getting meat as a reward.

Unlike humans, who might consider the ethics of such a situation, the dog saw a straightforward opportunity.

It realized that waiting for children to fall into the river was inefficient when it could expedite the process itself.

A few days after its first rescue, another child happened to be playing near the river Seine. The same dog, perhaps looking a bit fuller from its previous reward, saw an opportunity and took action.

It pushed the child into the river and then immediately jumped in to save him, just as it had done before.

The grateful onlookers once again rewarded the dog with a nice slab of meat. The dog’s hypothesis was confirmed: rescuing children was indeed a reliable path to acquiring tasty rewards.

The Pattern Emerges

This cycle continued, with the dog consistently appearing at the right place and time to “rescue” children from the river.

However, the frequency of these incidents soon aroused suspicion.

It was odd that so many children were falling into the Seine in such a short period, especially near the same dog. People began to question the coincidence.

The Scandal Breaks

The situation reached its peak when the New York Times published a sensational front-page story: “DOG A FAKE HERO.”

The article revealed that the dog had been deliberately pushing children into the river to stage rescues and earn beefsteak rewards.

The headline was accompanied by the damning caption: “pushes children into the Seine to rescue them and win beefsteaks.”

A Deceptive Hero

According to the report, the dog had developed a habit of shoving any child it saw playing near the water into the river.

It would then perform a dramatic rescue, all the while eyeing the nearest adult, anticipating the meat reward that would surely follow.

The dog had essentially trained itself, much like Pavlov’s famous dogs, to associate the act of saving children with receiving delicious slabs of prime beef.

A Fascinating Tale

This story of the cunning Newfoundland dog quickly became a topic of conversation in Paris.

While some might have admired the dog’s intelligence and resourcefulness, others were undoubtedly disturbed by the deceptive and dangerous behavior it exhibited.

Regardless, the tale of the dog who pushed kids into the river for steak rewards remains a fascinating and cautionary story about unintended consequences and the surprising lengths to which animals (and perhaps even humans) will go when motivated by a tasty reward.