Christmas trees delivered by dogs
Published 28/11/2011 | 14:46
A pack of giant dogs will provide a delivery service with a difference this year for festive shoppers who buy a Christmas tree from a North Yorkshire visitor centre.
The Newfoundland dogs, weighing up to 12 stone each, have been recruited by the Forestry Commission in Dalby Forest, near Pickering, to help transport customers' trees to their cars.
The dogs are helping to raise money for charity through donations for each tree carried at the 3,400 hectare (8,600 acre) beauty spot in the North York Moors National Park.
The dogs are owned by enthusiasts from the Aqua Nova Water Bears training club.
Web-footed Newfoundlands, which can swim using a canine version of breaststroke, are used as water rescue dogs, with one being credited for saving Napoleon when he fell overboard while escaping from Elba in 1815.
This winter, they will be raising funds for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance and Scarborough and Ryedale Mountain Rescue by towing trees, including Norway Spruce and Nordmann Fir, in carts.
Yvonne Bone, who co-ordinates the group, said: "They are docile and wonderful with children but because they are such a big dog they are more of a lifestyle than a pet.
"They are a little known breed in the UK, but we are dedicated to keeping them active doing the things they were bred for. They love being out and working at Christmas."
Katie Thorn, Forestry Commission recreation manager, added: "It's a fantastic crowd-pleasing way to buy a tree and have the dogs tow it back to the car in a cart. Real trees use 10 times fewer materials to produce and five times less energy than artificial trees so it's a good way of being kind to the planet."
The dogs will be in Dalby on December 10, 11, 17 and 18 and will be joined by a traditional English green Father Christmas.