Big dogs bring big excitement

Numerous places use Newfoundland dogs for festive fundraisers

Steve Bartlett
Published on December 27, 2011
Newfoundland dogs pull Christmas trees to customers in Dalby Forest, England.
— Submitted photo

Newfoundland dogs helped raise Christmas spirits - and generated lots of media attention in doing so - on both sides of the Atlantic this month.

In the days leading up to the yuletide, the animals delighted people buying Christmas trees in places like North Yorkshire county, England, North Andover, Mass., and Keswick Ridge, N.B.

The big, friendly Newfoundlands were put to work pulling trees to the cars of customers in carts harnessed to their backs.

The unrelated initiatives raised funds for various causes, including an air ambulance fund and the Children's Wish Foundation.

The dog work also made the news in their respective areas and elsewhere.

A shot of a Newfoundland in action near Dalby Forest, England, even caught the attention of, which selected the photo as its picture of day in its Dec. 6 BlogPost.

Rob Lewis is with the Aqua Nova Water Bears, the Newfoundland owners group involved in that particular event.

He told The Telegram it has "been great publicity for our group, and for Newfoundland dogs.

"The main people who came were families with children, who were very excited," he said, adding, "We had people travel from maybe over 200 miles away to see the dogs because they had seen the dogs in the local newspapers. And they travelled over 200 miles, not to buy a Christmas tree, but to see the dogs."

A few, he added, came out because they were interested in purchasing a Newfoundland dog and wanted to see one up close.

Newfoundlands originate from this province.

Known for their life-saving instinct, the dogs are also noted for their size and strength, plus their ability to swim and pull heavy objects.

Lewis has two Newfoundlands, Mya and Maddie.

He said his club takes part in numerous events throughout the year.

Working dogs

Members train their dogs in water rescue during the warm months and land work such as pulling during the winter.

According to Lewis, the breed is not common in England, and people regularly stop to admire the animals.

He also noted a lot of breeders in the U.K. name their kennels after places in this province.

Devon Nutbeem, Atlantic director of the Newfoundland Dog Club of Canada and a New Brunswick kennel owner, takes part in the Keswick Ridge Christmas tree pull annually.

"The little kids, when they're up in their parents' arms, they're just like, 'Oh this is neat' and they want to get down," she told the Fredericton Daily Gleaner. "But when they get down on the level and they're looking right into this big face, they go, 'Oh my God.' Their eyes go wide as saucers." Twitter: @bartlett_steve