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There seems to be no end of activities that people engage in with their Newfs; some of them even surprise me. There are definitely some undertakings only suitable for Newfoundland dogs and special people.

Two such special people are Kevin Dixon and Lynne Park-Dixon of Belleville, Ontario. They have had a number of different breeds but finally gravitated to a Newfoundland in the person of Nemo. Both husband and wife are active in the outdoors, particularly in the water. One of the first things they taught Nemo was to ride in a canoe without tipping it, even when taking a drink from the side. They sent me a series of pictures with Nemo sitting and lying in a canoe and one of these made the front cover of the Spring issue of the Gentle Giant News.

In talking with Kevin I discovered that this dynamic duo is in the water all year round. “In January?” I asked incredulously, and I was assured that they did indeed go boating all winter. Not in canoes however, but in one person kayaks. Naturally I wondered where Nemo rode on such a contraption. Turns out he swims along side.

Well I knew that a Newf could swim in cold water like a polar bear, but what if the kayak overturns? Is Nemo suppose to rescue him? Not necessarily, even though the Newf is trained in water rescue and makes a good safety back up. Kevin says that when the kayak overturns, he just rights it with one good push with the paddle. “Don’t you feel the cold?” I inquired? Kevin admitted to getting an “ice cream headache” when he turns over in the water in January.

Peter Maniate has been writing columns for the Newf News, the magazine of the Newfoundland Dog Club of Canada, since 1979.  In 1996 he started writing a Newfoundland dog column in the Breedlines section of Dogs in Canada magazine on behalf of the Newfoundland Dog Club of Canada.  When Dogs in Canada ceased publication at the end of 2011 he continued the Breedlines column in the Newf Newfs.

Permission is granted for re-publication of the preceding article or excerpts from it as long as the author is credited and the name of the original publication and date of first publication is included.

Dogs in Canada

October 2001