Tell us a bit about you and your dog/s
I am Deb, the wrong side of 50 and I live on a smallholding near the coast in West Wales. I share it with hubby, two Dobermanns, 3 goats, more geese than I care to admit plus some ducks and chickens. Poppy is 3yr old. Very bright and built like a tank. Challenges are her thing and she loves mantrailing and canicross, learning new body conditioning exercises, goats milk and eating apple cores. Willow is 16 months, a rescue pup with quite a few health challenges. She is a bit anxious about a lot of things after so many vet visits she is very reactive to other dogs too. Her fave past times are eating apples, chewing and digging up molehills in the lawn.
Tell us a bit about your canicross experience so far…
I’d seen friends do canicross but always thought you needed to be fit and athletic to take part. It was only after a friend visited and we did a walk version that I realised how unfit I was but also how much it helped tire out Poppy mentally and physically. Canicross seemed ideal to give Poppy an outlet and me a much needed boot up the rear! We canicross on our own mainly living in actual area has its down sides. I was fortunate to find a vet physio that canicrossed so could ensure Poppy was kept fit with stretches and other conditioning plus checks that the harness choice didn’t impede her physically. When I remember I get myself checked out too, as I have found little things like changing my canicross belt can impact on me physically.
Tell us about how canicross has helped you and your dog/s and your biggest achievements
Canicross has helped us both in many ways. I am fitter for sure and no longer need to take medication for my blood pressure, losing around 6kg didn’t hurt either. It has also had a positive impact on my mental health and self-belief. After having to leave what I thought would be my lifetime job due to an injury that resulted in a hip replacement in my 40s, I felt a bit lost and worthless and didn’t believe in myself anymore. I let a lot of things slide. Poppy and her needs made me get off the sofa and push myself out of my comfort zone as well. She is a real fear of missing out personality which can make for a lot of over excitement meeting people and dogs. Sadly her breed means she is judged by appearance alone which is frustrating. Canicross has given her a job that she understands and enjoys doing. It has calmed her down and given us an activity that has also connected us in a way that is just ours. Starting with couch to 5 km we found our way into canicross together, me watching videos and using Facebook groups for advice and trying it out. Now we are both fitter we enjoy our time spent out discovering new trails and paths. I have a shoe cupboard just for my running gear! Our biggest achievement apart from still doing canicross two years later, is canicrossing the height of Mt Everest in elevation gain last year. It was a bit epic fitting the last bits in due to injury and 10 day hospital stay…but we managed the final run on New Year’s Eve running our fastest time up the local hill! Double celebration…
What are your goals and plans for the future?
To continue to enjoy running the public rights away around our local area come rain or shine! Hopefully pluck up courage to enter an official canicross event within striking distance of home. Failing that try and get others in my remote area interested enough to maybe give it a try too and get the same buzz we do.