Parkrunning

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What is it?

http://carpetstarcarpetcleaning.com/?p=550 Parkrun is free organized 5km timed run around the world. They are very popular in the UK and are open to everyone, allow kids and runners with dogs. However they are known in other coutnries too, around 18 countries over 5 continents at the moment have parkruns running. It is great as the route has marshalls around so people know which way to run and also it is safe and really for everyone. The events try to encourage people to run and also welcome anyone (even if you are just starting with running). You can even walk it if you struggle with distance. The parkruns in the UK are at 9.30am every Saturday.

Falkirk Parkrun

follow I never thought I will say it but I think this one is my favoruite parkrun so far. Although I haven’t been too many, it is challenging ever time I go there.

The trails have a bit of tarmac in two places, but it can be easily avoided. The course is in Callendar park and run on mixed surfaces, including forest paths. Some sections of the course may accumulate mud, leaves and puddles after rain.

The Falkirk parkrun course is an undulating, picturesque route within Callendar Park. The course starts on gravel at Callendar House, then moves to trail paths through woods, then on to tarmac through a golf course, finally coming back onto trail paths, up a wee hill and through the woods back to the gravel and the start. It is always a great way to start Saturday with that heartbreak hill! 🙂

I must say it is very dog-friendly parkrun as if you ask the Race Director and you have proven they will allow you to start to the front, which I think is safer rather than me passing all the people. If you are around and can join go and try it! So worth it.

Vogrie Country Park

Another great parkrun, there is only tiny 100-150m of tarmac at the start. The rest is just nice soft trails. This parkrun is more sceptic about runners with dogs, but I always ask if I can run and start in front and they are fine with it. They know we are kind of fast.

The course comprises of a start section and two laps, run anti-clockwise.
Runners will head down the main access road towards Vogrie House, and take the ‘blue’ route past the pond and play park. They will follow this trail and take the pathway highlighted for the car park, they will continue along this path, crossing over the small concrete bridge. Runners will continue on this path until they reach the main car park. At this point they will turn left and follow the path parallel to the events field. At the end of the path they will turn left then immediately right along a short path and enter the events field at the top end. Keeping to the field perimeter on your left follow it to the second field until directed right to the BBQ area 1. Past the BBQ hut turn left on to the path and then right along the pond to Vogrie House. They will then complete a second loop of the above route and at the end of the second loop, they will finish just beyond the pond on the left.

Dog-friendly movie in Edinburgh

A few weeks ago I have seen that Cameo Cinema in Edinburgh invited folks for a dog-friendly and human-only movie. I didn’t think twice and just booked in for the early movie, and already planned that I will take Laferra.

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Pre-movie

I have parked near Meadows, so I have walked Laferra prior the movie. Unfortunately, I forgot to check how long is the movie so I didn’t know how long we were going to sit there. Luckly, very early morning we were at the beach, so I thought a quick walk around for pee and have a look at Meadows, as I have never really been there before with dogs.

 

Then we went to the cinema, I had really no clue what to expect. I could see from afar that there are people with dogs already outside. We walked in and see more people with dogs. However it wasn’t really overwhelming so I thought this is great. A few journalist waiting just at the front door and small tiny stall from Dog Aid Society, who straight away guessed Laferra breeds and gave her biscuit.

I never thought her the manners, but she sat straight away knowing she will get a biscuit. Super proud moment. We showed the ticket on the phone and at the same time received an IKEA blanket for Laferra’s seat. I must say, I didn’t expect that and brought her blanket, but this is just great. We walk pass and see a lot of bowls with waters and finding a seat for us. I put a blanket for her but she just jumped on my knees and sat watching surrounding. We were approached by STV as the journalist said: “would you like to answer few questions, as your dog seems the calmest in here”. Wow, thank you, that is massive compliment. Cinema was feeling, but every owner had spare seat for their dogs. My only issue was that people had popcorn and crips around us, so Laferra was chancing to beg, but quickly gave up and just cuddled into me.

 

Movie

Screening started with some house-keeping and rules: how to put blanket on a seat and that dogs must be kept on a lead all the time. Here we come “Isle of Dogs” and all the dogs in the cinema started to bark as on screen there is a massive talking dog.

Everyone just laughed. I was like this is great, Laferra was just watching around. I thought she might be stressed but nothing at all, she was one happy dog.

During movie, she was sitting on my laps or sitting on the floor watching me and her treats. Overall she did brilliant, nice and calm. Only interested in treats even from people near us. The movie wasnt long maybe around 1h 40min, which was just perfect for Princess.

About the movie

Director: Wes Anderson
Starring: Edward Norton, Frances McDormand, Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton, Bryan Cranston, Liev Schreiber, Koyu Rankin, Bob Balaban, Jeff Goldblum, Scarlett Johansson, Kunichi Nomura, Ken Watanabe, Yoko Ono, Greta Gerwig, Akira Ito
Duration: 101 min

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Four long years after The Grand Budapest Hotel, Isle of Dogs brings another welcome dose of Wes Anderson’s whimsical charm and offbeat direction to capture audiences’ hearts. Set in a dystopian future Japan, the paw-some stop-motion animation follows 12-year-old Atari (Koyu Rankin) on his noble quest to find his adored pet dog, Spots (Liev Schreiber). After a mysterious outbreak of ‘canine flu’, all the hounds of Megasaki City are exiled by the authorities to a colossal rubbish dump known as Trash Island. Atari sets out solo to rescue his beloved pooch, meeting a few new mongrel friends along the way. Together, they end up on a journey that will decide the fate of the entire prefecture.

Note: when you are with your dog in cinema you don’t really focus on a movie! Haha

After movie

I wanted to leave quick so we would avoid the crowd, but I didn’t manage. It was a bit overwhelming for Laferra but she kept looking to me for assurance. Once again she didn’t show any signs of stress just walked near my heel.

 

Perfect spot after cinema, Laferra ran around Meadows, before we head to naughty Roger, who did recycling of the bin for me. I always thought it is Laferra, but I know it is Roger to blame from now on. I think he really missed her, as since we are back they just cuddle and Lafie just kisses him.

Overall

Overall movie was great and the whole idea of dog-friendly was brilliant. Laferra is just perfect for that kind of inventions. I had a lot of fun and seeing so many crazy dog people were great. Laferra proved that we have an amazing bonding together and that she is a really perfect dog. Love her to bits.

 

 

 

 

Dog walker or home boarding? Why do I feel like I want to become a stalker!

Do you feel sometimes like you wish to stalk your dog walker?! Unfortunately, my trust towards people that I pay a lot of money to look after has been broken some time ago. Since then I have a very low level of trust to folks when they look after my dogs. Ok. I know strange as I have a dog walker and home Home boarding while I am away, but….

Beginning…

Let’s me start from the beginning. To make myself a bit calmer and more secure, before signing any contracts I do a detailed research but also interview with the person, if they are really capable of looking after my two dogs. I am also honest with them, that my trust was broken before and this is very hard for me.

Another important factor for me is what Roger thinks and shows me. The longer I have him the longer I believe he is right about people. I know funny right, but seriously if Roger likes someone it always ends as being a good person. He also proved to me that not liking someone was right, as I ended up realizing it wasn’t best of choice. Yes, Roger is the main factor when I choose people to look after them, Laferra will just follow him.

The Dogwalker

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When the dog walker walked into my flat… I knew straight away Roger loves Kris, I didn’t even properly introduce us to Kris and Roger started bringing him toys and everything what possible so he would notice him and totally focus on him rather than have a chat with me. That time Laferra was still too young for joining the group walks.

It has been a year now that Kris is walking dogs! I am super happy and love getting updates on how they were today. I am happy!

Home Boarding

Home boarding…. Another tough decision and I have been unlucky. It took me some time to finally find somewhere to be their second home. So this is how we chose it or Roger did. Roger is taught to bring balls to me, not to strangers. Walking around playing the ball and chatting with boarders I could see Roger looks towards me for assurance. I allow him to play ball with them. He chose Jenni. Happy boy.

I know silly right, but I trust Roger, in both cases if he is happy. Later on, we chatted, we talked and I told everything that I would expect from them. I like to keep my dogs routine with walks, meals and so on. Yes, all good for home boarding. Next questions is about the house where they will have access, are they allowed on the sofa, where they will be fed. Unfortunately, I have a bad experience when Laferra, as she was separated daycare are for feeding… why?! No idea, but she came back home and didn’t want to eat and showed signs of stress during meal. I found out later on that place was separating them almost like to crate for feeding, which in case of Laferra was the worst scenario as she doesn’t like crate at all.

Vet

On the other side, recently I discovered that dog walker and home boarding is very important with your trust, but also the vet. Yes, you go to the vet with your dog, however recently I needed to leave Roger for few hours there for some tests. I was nervous as I know how much stress it would bring to Roger. I got brilliant reassurance from the vet, as he talked me through what will happen to Roger and afterward how great he is as they spent time with him. I have never been so excited to go there and pick him up. He was a very sleepy boy who just wanted to cuddle in. Laferra was super excited to see him.

 

Questions to ask

So here are a couple of questions to ask anyone who you leave your dog with (my dear friend shared them with me some time ago):

  • Are they insured? For how many dogs? What are the terms of the policy regarding injury to your dog while in their care? Who pays vet bill? Are they covered for public liability should your dog be involved in an incident?
  • Are they registered with their local council’s dog walkers scheme? While many of these are voluntary codes of conduct, a responsible dog walker will adhere to these regulations.
  • Do they have Scottish Disclosure? A dog walker will usually have keys to your house and be alone while there. It is important you know you can trust them. Will you be able to meet them while they are out walking dogs to see how they operate and interact with their dogs?
  • What type of transport they use for their work…Ideally, dogs should have separate cages which are securely fixed. Failing that, if the dogs are transported in a car, each dog should be “harnessed” in on a seat belt or other acceptable way to ensure a dog’s safety. It is NOT acceptable to secure a dog by a collar…and it is extremely dangerous to have dogs loose in a car or van.
  • How long are dogs in the van? Is it ventilated? Heated for winter?
  • How long do they walk for? If your dog walker says they get an hr, then they should have that hour out of the van and actually be walking.
  • What would they do in an emergency?
  • Are they First Aid certified?
  • Do they know how to break up a dog fight..and more importantly, do they know how to avoid getting dogs into these situations?
  • PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE ask them about their experience with dogs. While many dog walkers have vast experience and know-how, the ease with which anyone can become a dog walker makes it a precarious business trying to find a good one.
  • Do they reward dogs for good behavior (treats, praise, playing with them) This is the ideal
  • Are they able to walk your dog on his own until he is ready to join a group?
  • Are they totally aware of canine body language?

Important! Watch your dog

WHAT TO LOOK FOR WHEN YOUR DOG GOES OUT WITH HIS WALKER Your dog should be relaxed and eager to go out on his walk. If he is reluctant, hides, shows signs of distress he is obviously not happy about going out with the walker. On return, he should be happy and relaxed. If your dog comes back and looks stressed, overly tired or shows any deterioration in his behavior, check what is happening on walks Is he being bullied by the other dogs? Is he okay in transit? Has your dog walker taken the time to integrate him with her group and get him used to the transport?

 

A good dog walker/Home boarding is worth their weight in gold.

Running training and motivation!

Last couple weeks I was on and off with my running. I feel a bit unfit at the moment. However, starting my training programme with Ben Robinson as my coach and mentor hopefully put me back on track again. I am really looking forward to it as I never know what to do with running, as this is totally new to me. Volleyball was way different.

Lost and found motivation

Due to my traveling recently I feel I lost my motivation for running with dogs. I was away I ran a lot myself, it gave me a chance to explore Zagreb as much as I want. With dogs I can’t run anywhere. Also Laferra is in a season so no running for her off lead.

Anyway, I think I find my motivation back, and even tho last week was really lazy! I found the strength to wake up early and go for a run with Rogerowski. I was planning the beach, but then I thought it would be unfair if Laferra would discover we went to the beach without her. We stayed locally in Leith Links.

Leith Links

The principal open space within Leith, the docks district of Edinburgh, Scotland. This public park extends to 18.5 hectares (46 acres). In its current form, it is divided into two main areas, a western section and an eastern section, by Links Gardens both being largely flat expanses of grass bordered by mature trees. I love it with Roger, we can run around and he sticks to me as he just runs happily with his ball. Best running partner ever. On the other hand Laferra is covering too much space so this place is too small for her and too dangerous with cars and roads.

 

Portobello

The training programme is busy so another morning spent with my dogs running around.

Oh wow it was just beautiful. Not sure what happened, but everything was purple. It was just us, no one else. As of who would have go out at 5.30am right? Tired legs, but recovery run was just spot on, so worth the early start to the day!

That kind of mornings highlights why I even bother to wake up and go out for run. I just want to do it again and again. My motivation definitely came back.

Just keep going, never stop, motivation will keep around.

 

Travelling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller. Croatian story.

I feel very lucky with my job, as it allows me to travel around the world. It has been a long time since my last post as I was away to Croatia for two weeks.

Croatia

Croatia is an Eastern European country with a long coastline on the Adriatic Sea. Encompassing more than a thousand islands, it’s also crossed by the Dinaric Alps. Its inland capital, Zagreb, is distinguished by its medieval Gornji Grad (Upper Town) and diverse museums. The major coastal city Dubrovnik has massive 16th-century walls encircling an Old Town with Gothic and Renaissance buildings. I was lucky and I stayed in downtown of Zagreb, so close to see almost anything within walking distance (or running).

I was very surprised that the temps were so below 0 degrees, as I always had that idea that Croatia is always warm. Nevermind I was wrong. Even tho a business trip I have a lot of time over the weekend to check and feel a bit like a tourist. I tried to explore Zagreb as a dog-friendly city.

Dog-friendly

To my surprise, Zagreb has a lot of shops for dogs (pets). Just around the corner from where I stayed there was a shop called Hov-Hov Zagreb in English: Woof-Woof Zagreb. It is a pets bakery doing homemade treats and cakes. Just lovely place to bring your dog in. On the other hand, I was very shocked when I was doing shopping in H&M when the dog passed me with his owner. I didn’t expect dog inside, but it seems in a shopping center that is just normal casual thing to have your dog. Great idea.

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In the morning I liked to go for a short run so parks were my choice. I didn’t see many dogs but when I saw it looks like a lot of rescues and different crossbreeds out there. Around every corner, there were tiny grassy place to actually walk your dogs with a lot of bins! I haven’t seen many “pick up poo after your dog” signs, but also I didn’t manage to step into any poo, so it must mean they clean after their dogs.

A lot of restaurants were allowing dogs too. Almost every single one that I have been to had a sign that it is dog-friendly. I haven’t seen any dogs with their owners but a lot of places were really empty. Croatia faced first time in 15 years such an awful winter with a lot of snow and very cold temperature. Also, a note that signs on the doors for dog-friendly were similar to ours here in the UK. The staff is very nice in Croatian restaurants and there is always meal of the day too. The menu is always full of traditional meals and it really reminded me about being home or holidays with my family when I was a child.

 

Adventure

I always thought Zagreb is bigger than it actually feels. I was able to run outside it and I am not a long distances runner. There were defo two places I would recommend to visit: Medvedgrad Castle and Jarun lake (although that Lake was a bit disappointed in snow).

The castle is a medieval fortified town located on the south slopes of Medvednica mountain, approximately halfway from the Croatian capital Zagreb to the mountain top Sljeme. I didn’t expect such a heavy winter with so many snow around. Ohh, how much I missed it. I met so many walkers with dogs around there.

I only explored a route to the castle, but it looks like in the summer there would be a lot of trails to canicross with dogs. Such a peaceful place.

Another longer run, I did via city to the Jarun Lake, which looked amazing on photos in the Internet (see below). Jarun is a neighborhood in the southwestern part of Zagreb, Croatia. It was named after Lake Jarun, formed by the Sava River, now located on the southern edge of the neighborhood.

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I was super excited about running there. Unfortunately, in a snow it looks totally like a wee pond (see photo below). Maybe I should have ran to the other side of it?!

Anyways near the lake, there are few restaurants and very nice trails to run. Once again I met few dog walkers around as there was a tiny forest nearby too.

Holidays

Zagreb is the place to go for sure. I would say 2-3days would be enough and then just move to the coast with a lot of beaches and charming villages. Everyone is so friendly and helpful. Surprisingly a lot of people speak good English although I have learned that I speak fluent Croatian. If you plan to go with dog, great enjoy this dog-friendly place!