Newfound use for giant dogs

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A PACK of Newfoundland dogs has been recruited to help carry Christmas trees back to visitors’ cars when festive sales begin at Dalby Forest Visitor Centre.

The gentle giants, weighing up to 12 stone, are owned by enthusiasts from the Aqua Nova Water Bears training club and will be bidding to raise funds for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance and Scarborough and Ryedale Mountain Rescue Team, who both operate in the Whitby area.

Former cat enthusiast-turned-dog trainer Yvonne Bone 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.”

The dogs will be in Dalby on the weekends of 10-11 and 17-18 December, along with a traditional green Father Christmas.

Tree sales operate daily at Dalby Forest Visitor Centre from now to 22 December.

Katie Thorn, Forestry Commission recreation manager, said: “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.”

Forest toll charges will be refunded when purchasing a tree, and buyers also have the opportunity to win two tickets for next year’s summer concerts in Dalby Forest by posting a picture of the decorated tree on the Forestry Commission’s Flickr site at www.flickr.com/groups/gbforestrycommission.

For more information call (01751) 460295.