Newfies Bring The Christmas Spirit (and Trees!) on Pennsylvania Farm

Lori Ennis
by Lori Ennis
Move over Rudolph! There are some new dogs in a Pennsylvania town, and they’re all about pulling sleds–full of Christmas trees!

In a small family-owned tree farm in Pennsylvania, you can get your Christmas tree brought to you in the most epic way–on a sled pulled by some gorgeous and hard working Newfoundlands!

Lindsay Eshelman is running Plow Farms, which was founded by her parents, Gregg and Brenda Eshelman. Initially, the sleigh pulled by the Newfies wasn’t part of the charm, but when they got their first big galoot of love in 2001, guests and visitors at their farm were in love.

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They have three now, Lillie Bell, Stell and Matilda, and the girls are part of the attraction that makes Plow Farms the place to get a tree this holiday season. Plow Farms started hosting an annual gathering for Newfies right before Christmas last year, and the dogs love being hooked to custom-built sleds and delivering trees.

Eshelman said that they only allow dogs who have been trained in ‘draft work’ can pull the sleds, which means that only dogs who know what they are doing when it comes to pulling carts. The dogs have to have a certificate that says they’ve been through the classes, as draft work is not something any old dog can do. Eshelman said the dogs are spoiled and luxuriously indulged year-round, but they love this time of year and the work they perform!

Lillie Bell is also a trained therapy dog when she’s not doing a better job than the reindeer.

Michael San Filippo is a spokesperson for the American Veterinary Medical Association who says that the dogs seem to be cut out for the task and aren’t seeming stressed or unhappy–in fact, they look like they love doing it. He said that as long as all involved are careful the dogs are not overexerted, it’s a great activity for the breed.

Next year’s gathering/sled pull is December 8, 2018, if you’re in the area, and in the meantime, the dogs will be sitting by the fire, waiting for you to bring a cup of hot chocolate and join them!

Lori Ennis
Lori Ennis

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