by Barbara Frey
It’s time for holiday celebrations and in the midst of all the parties, cookie baking and shopping don’t forget to include your Newfs in the holiday traditions. If you are going to cut your own tree, don’t forget the most important piece of equipment, your Newf! Even if you don’t have a real cart or dog sled you can get by with a child’s plastic sled. Your Newf will enjoy the outing and the chance to show off some working dog instincts. When we hold our annual Newf family tree pull at the Nursery Tree Farm, we often get a newcomer who is astonished when their Newf tries on a harness for the first time and heads off pulling a tree, with their tail wagging. Last year we had a cart that had improvements made especially for a tree drag. Companion Newf committee member Carolyn Kuhn shares her idea for adapting your cart to make it “Christmas tree friendly.”
Our cart has two, twenty-two-inch bicycle type wheels in the rear with the axle mounted on two leaf springs. The front wheels are twelve-inch bicycle type and the front axle steers by a center pin and circular plate to keep the axle from oscillating and overturning the cart. The drawing shafts are extra long (four and a half feet) to accommodate the largest of dogs and has a series of height and brake positions to adjust to a dog of any size. The shafts are removable for transport or storage by removing two pins. We made a wooden cradle which bolts to the wagon body and extends seven feet out to the rear to hold a Christmas Tree. The four wheel design and large wheels enable the dog to haul a very large tree without bearing any of the weight on its body.