On the way to Poland

All the way from Greece- princess Laferra- the dog who changed my life even more than Roger. She became best friend with Roger from day 1 and eventually she opened her heart to me too. Last season was amazing, we both learnt a lot! Once again thanks Colin Reid and Louise Mitchell for helping, supporting and training with us at the time that I lost my believes. Since then Laferra grew up so much in confidence and now she just loves harness work. She met so many new dogs friends around the world. We have been training and having fun all the time. She is my amazing angel to keep me going and dreaming. I knew I need to step up and do more for her. Thanks Ben Robinson (Robinson Canicross) for last few months of sweat, tears, swear words and hard work, for showing me a level up canicross and for making me do the training, that I have never even think of! We put a lot of work into everything and I know we will have a lot of fun, because that what all matters?! I can’t wait to see my family, friends and meet new friends (Team 🇵🇱 ️be prepared for us)! Today we are leaving to compete at the ICF World Championship in Canicross, Bikejor and Dog Scooter in Lubieszów Poland🇵🇱️ (2nd international event that we will compete at). First a bit of relax at my hometown and introduce my Two crazy mutts to my family (Roger is going with us, his first time abroad!)! Thank you to Westport Vets – South Queensferry and Lisa Cleeton,Veterinary Physiotherapy, Spinal Manipulation & Shiatsu for looking after Laferra. She is ready, I am ready. 💪🇵🇱

Travelling with dogs (long journey)

As you know we are heading for long road trip with dogs for the ICF World Championship in Lubieszów/Bierawa, Poland. I thought this is great opportunity to write a quick post about travelling with your pets.

Plan the journey

We have a long over 1200 miles to go. I know my dogs can travel long with few stops, as we do that a lot for our races. However make sure your dogs are ok to travel that far.

I always plan my trip ahead and check dog-friendly service stations, where I can walk dogs properly on grass area not just in the corner under one tree. They are the most important for me, so they are relax and happy. I usually like to stop every 2-3 hours too, which really is good for me as a driver too (stretching legs everyone).

Also both dogs have collars with tags on during whole journey. Their place is full of blankets and bedding. I also leave them non-spill bowl with fresh water. This time we will also have a journey with ferry (only 2 hours from Dover to Dunkirk). DFDS already sent me an email remaining me what I need to have with me for travelling with pets, which is really great from them.

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I am lucky as we are going first for Canicross Midlands races, which means both dogs will be tired and well exercised. Here are few tips what to do and dont:

  • exercise your dogs prior.
  • avoid feeding or just spread over few meals.
  • make sure you have spare leads and collars.
  • fresh water for dogs.
  • non-spill bowl.
  • pack toys and treats.
  • going abroad have passport and de-worming tablets for coming back to the UK.
  • dont leave dogs in car on a hot days.
  • reward your dogs for good behaviours.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Paws by the Prom at Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home

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On Sunday the 2nd September Roger, Laferra and I attended the Paws by the Prom held at the Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home. This is the place that Roger was waiting for his forever home for sometime. It looked like a lovely day so I knew it will be fun. The aim of this event was for EDCH to have Open Day to promote their pets for re-homing but also bring dog lovers together. There were different zones: rehoming, learning, fun, shopping, refuelling and kennels tours.

So the stalls were all so interested and there were so many:

Agria Pet Insurance
Brewdog
Dog Furiendly
Three Sisters
The Dog Edit
Bowzos
Cani-sports
Miss D’s Cakes
Dog Play Centre
Lush
Auld Connection
Truly treasured originals
Bonnie Burrito’s Hot Sauce
Bug Bakes
Nic Gannucci
Bark and Hare
K9 Clean Coats
Face Painting
Crafty Kit Company
St Luca
Fife Beachcombers
Mr Donut Man
The Caravan of Courage
Prague Shack
Bonnie Burrito
Sly Fox Foods

Roger at EDCH

I was a bit anxious about us attending this event as the EDCH was Roger’s home before when someone didnt want him or I should say he was waiting for his forever home. I was worried that he will be worried that he will be left again. What a surprise that boy was.

We passed reception and Roger couldn’t stop wagging his tail, I was like: oh wow he is excited. Then I knew he recognised one of the girls who looked after him. One happy boy jumping around and smiling.

He knew where to go and was pullying us inside, sniffing everything around and being excited. Oh, another person who he recognised. Overall one happy dog, wagging tails around and looking into my eyes. Like he wanted to say mum this is fun or maybe just I love you mum.

Open day

So we went directly to the field, where everything was happening. There were a lot of stalls and things for everyone. I have decided to sign those two for “handsome boy” and “prettiest girl” competitions. I thought Roger might rock this one as a former EDCH resident (oops I was wrong!). Yes, Laferra won 3rd place for “prettiest girl” and as always she stole the glory.

Since we were planning to attend there and our first canicross club asked me to help them with canicross demo, I thought this will be brilliant: ex-resident Roger promoting what we both love a lot. I thought we did well but watching the video back, I think we were a bit like a clowns! Here you can watch it and judge yourself:

So Roger was a bit of superstar today too🙊🤔😂Roger was actually a muppet during presentation and I kind of talked nonsense (it was stressful) 😂😂But great day promoting the sport for rescues at Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home Paws by the Prom (Open Day):)

Posted by Agata Aleksandra Zaremba on Sunday, September 2, 2018

Anyways, it makes me laugh how happy Roger was during our demo.

Overall an amazing day and great to see so many people with dogs. Great to see that not only Roger recognised people but he was recognised by them too. I am so lucky to have this boy and I am glad he was happy to show around how happy he is with me, with us <3

Note: Photos courtesy of Barking Cat Photography. More photos you can find here:https://barkingcatpetphotography.com/edch-paws-at-the-prom-2018/

 

New trails and new places

Weekends are made to have fun right? I always try to plan something fun for me and dogs. This weekend it was all about discovering new trails.

Carberry Country Estate

One of the great Castle Mansion Houses of Scotland, Carberry Tower is a multi-award winning, luxury 4 star Castle hotel with an award-winning Bistro, situated just outside Edinburgh in beautiful East Lothian countryside. Standing regally in 35 acres of stunning, private Estate parkland and widely recognised as Edinburgh’s ‘Castle in the country,’ Carberry Tower is a place of intimate grandeur and to arrive here, is to weave your own story into a history that goes back to 1480 when our first foundation stone was laid.

The estate itself is surprisingly hilly, so my long run turned into a tough work. It is mainly arranged for mountain bikers but we had a lot of fun running around.

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History lessons!

There is a lot of history on this estate: “In the 13th century, the lands were owned by John de Crebarrie from whose name the estate probably derives its title. The lands were at one time Crown property and later passed to Dunfermline Abbey. In 1541 the Abbey authorities leased them to Hugh Rigg who built or enlarged the Tower.

By 1587 the church lands were annexed to the Crown and the superiors became the Maitlands of Lauderdale. The Rigg families continued to lease Carberry until 1659 when it was passed to Sir Adam Blair. In 1689 it passed to Sir Robert Dickson of Inveresk who sold it to John Fullerton whose niece Elizabeth married in 1774 the Hon Wm Elphinstone, third son of the 10th Baron, whose son succeeded to the title.

Image may contain: tree, sky, grass, plant, cloud, outdoor and natureThe Elphinstones held Carberry from 1801-1961. Alterations and additions were made to the old Tower from c.1830. The 15th Baron succeeded in 1861 and was involved in political and court life. The park layout was entirely redesigned during his time and the arboretum started. His son, Sydney Herbert, the 16th Baron Elphinstone, married Lady Mary Bowes Lyon in 1910 and they carried out further improvements to the Tower and particularly to the grounds. The formal gardens to the south of the tower were laid out in 1911 and they added to the specimen trees and shrubs in the parks.

The 16th Lord Elphinstone died in 1955 and Lady Elphinstone died in 1961 when the Tower and part of the estate were gifted by the family to the Church of Scotland.” The information was taken from the Historic Scotland page.

Redwood Meadows Dog Activity Park

I was looking for a fenced place where I can let Laferra off lead during her “heat”. A friend recommended me this place. Lovely and very friendly owner welcomed us and showed us around.

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Unfortunately it was raining when we were there, but dogs still had so much fun. The park has a lot of different things that the dogs can sniff, walk on and discover. Laferra as usual was doing her own thing, but Mr Rogerowski was loving everything about it and of course that I had treats to make him do things.

Such a great place and so muh fun for dogs and me😊😂🙊

Posted by Dogxplorescotland on Sunday, August 19, 2018

 

 

A new challenge to put myself to a new level- no processed food

I thought I will write a bit different post since my couple friends been asking me how am I doing and it has been over 80 days I am sticking to this crazy idea my coach challenged me on to see if my performance can be increased.

Definition

To make sure we are all on the same page here is a bit of definition what I am challenged on.

Food processing is the transformation of cooked ingredients, by physical or chemical means into food, or of food into other forms including:

enter site Bread. savoury  http://strongandradiant.com/category/health/page/5/ snacks, such as crisps, sausage rolls, pies and pasties.  go meat products, such as bacon, sausage, ham, salami and paté “convenience foods”, such as microwave meals or ready meals.

Food processing can be as basic as:

  • freezing
  • canning
  • baking
  • drying

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Challenge

I think the biggest challenge for me was how I will manage without bread and cheese. I agreed to accept this challenge with some expectation:

  • continue to have yogurts.
  • continue to eat cottage cheese.
  • eat polish sausage.
  • exchange bread for wholegrain crispbread.
  • not too often having honey.

Yes, I thought that is manageable now, just easy 126 days until the ICF World Championship so I can easily do it. I was wrong.

Day by day

A few friends said to me it will just get easy, first 3 weeks will be a struggle, but then it will be easy. That is not true and don’t listen to people who say that to you. My first three weeks were awesome and easy. I was super proud and needed to quickly learn what I can and what I can’t. My daily shopping routine usually lasted 5 minutes, now it is 20-30 minutes going through products and reading labels. I am in shock and disgust with some of the products on our shelves. I have quickly learn what to avoid and what was my favourite things.

The whole eating “smarter” wasn’t cheaper at all either. I am going through a lot of kgs of fruits and veggies during day. Love my dinners full of meat and nice fresh veggies. I discovered different recipes for using sweet potato. It really takes time to plan dinners now too.

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Half way through

I have learnt that my needs are fulfil with just passing by the bakery or just smell cakes. How many times I said I had enough and went to local Tesco, quickly bought donuts and just smelled them at home. I have managed to be strong and I am sure seagulls enjoyed them (oops). Finally I got to the stage that I discovered that there aren’t much variety for my meals so getting bored now and really counting days when I can finish this challenge.

Benefits

It isn’t easy, but the benefits are just amazing. Here are some:

  • Appreciation for fruit… Oh they smell so nice!
  • Feeling more sensitive to smells.
  • Discovering new world of eating- new recipes, new ingredients.
  • Losing weight (but I think it is more due to the fact my body bulking into muscles, so goodbye bad fat).
  • Flatter belly- no more bloated, feeling heavy on my stomach.
  • Easier to fall asleep- never had problem with that, but now I just put head on pillow and that’s me.
  • My skin is more elastic/ healthier.
  • Say goodbye to eye bag.
  • Stronger running, quicker to recover.
  • At the moment I can see that I am running lighter.
  • Feeling better, all around.

Try it for yourself even couple weeks

I never thought it will be so difficult and I have managed and will finish it soon. I can’t wait for having ice-creams, crisps, bread and massive chocolate or polish donuts. However I know it is just what I think at the moment, I know I will continue with my healthy choices, as I feel absolutely amazing. Make sure you enjoy life but make the right choices!

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Sport camp- canicross taken to another level

Coming from sport background, I was always used to pre-season sport camp, where our coaches made us do things to really make us stronger athletes. I remember very well early morning warm up short training very early morning, which I always hated. Usually it last week or two but you defo were coming back pretty tired. However body recovered quickly and we always were ready for September and our first volleyball games of the season. The older I get the more I miss team bonding and all the fun that was in connection with our sport camp (late night press up punishment for not sleeping! was one of them). Such a good memories. Anyway since I started training under “big eye” of Ben Robinson (current World, European and British Canicross Champion), I feel my canicross and whole running moved to new level. Due to some personal circumstances, I wasn’t able to go to France to compete at TDM, I thought I need to spend my holidays somehow different. With my crazy ideas Ben and I teamed up for a week of training camp.

Training plan

I like the idea that I don’t need to worry about what and where I need to do. Ben made sure me and dogs explored different trails, uphills, downhills and ran a lot of miles that week. Always remember when training with the Champ recovery run turns into massive elevation gain over pretty solid long distance.

Dogs training

It was all about training including dogs. It was great to make sure they run everyday. I also had an opportunity for really first time to canicross with beasts, in other word Champion’s dogs. Well Ben has nice variety of different dogs, but they are all superb with their heads for the running. I was really impressed with even his youngest dog that was super focused even when paired for the first time with my Laferra. If you ask me, yes I ran with Blakey boy- the Champion Dog and yes it was scary, but I felt my feet weren’t touching the ground!

For the first time I felt super strong dogs, but also my body wasn’t broke and I really enjoyed running at 3:21/km pace. Even the trees weren’t that annoying to hit my face 😀

The whole week I could try different dogs and try different thing with my girl. She ran as a single dog, she ran as a first time as a 2 dog team and finally she did a lot of free running while I was working hard. On the other hand Mr Rogerowski train a lot and work hard canicrossing with Ben (what a lucky dug right?). I am so happy he is back to harness as he loves it so much and really never gave up even when I ran big boy Nero and Ben’s Dad had Roger with Nova as 2 dog team 🙂

During the week I have learnt a lot about canicross resistance training for dogs, which is still new and I have never used it really.

Experience from pros

As I was staying with my close friends it was great to learn about their routine with dogs too. At the end of the day it isn’t just running, dogs like to be dogs. All that swimming, fetching and hiking is good for training too. Unfortunately my two still didn’t get the hint how to swim, but I can see Laferra is braver with going deeper to the water (oh and summer is gone LOL).

Athletic track

I know I used to say I will never go and run at the track, but Ben offered me to just experience it. No pressure at all right! First time ever I have been to that kind of place. So many people and I felt absolutely awful (so intimidating), but having my coach on the side explaining the rules and etiquette, I got a bit braver to run my first 400m on a track. I felt like a monkey in a zoo if I am honest. Also struggled when I could do my next time, as groups were running and running. On the other hand it was great to see some of those folks running. Oh they run soooo light! Maybe that gave me courage? I did it again and something broke inside me. Ah, I believed. I believed my dreams are possible to be reached. Maybe not tomorrow or within a month but they are closer to be reached than they were. Loved my experience on track and already looking for a local track availability.

Sport camp

Once again I felt like pro athlete who worked hard for the coming season. Every day training and excitement which dog I can run kept me going. My hard work was paid off in massive blisters and stiff calves, but at the end of the day the purpose of this camp was to experience and learn more. I learnt that a lot of hard work still needs to be done, but I am super excited for 2019.

 

My favourite running partner of my first canicross camp was Nero. We worked a lot together and we both felt same after 8 days of hard training. I am already looking forward to my next camp with these bunch of humans and dogs.

Gateway to England

Last week I had lovely holiday down in England in Gloucester area.

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Forest of Dean

It is historical land in the West of Gloucestershire in England. The forest is located between the River Wye in the west and north, Severn in the south and the city of Gloucester in the east. The forest is massive as it covers of 100m square with mixed forest and it is the second biggest largest forest in England. We have been discovering different trails and the dogs loved it. A lot of car parks around to stop and discover different parts of the forest. Ohh and the boars are awesome.

Mallard’s Pike Lake

Lovely place for picnic or just walk with dogs. We did spend a lot of time there, trying to teach miss Lafie how to swim, walk around, eat lunches or run the trails around. Most ponds in the forest were made to supply water wheels that powered the mills and iron forges of the Forests industrial past but these were made by the Forestry Commission for the community’s pleasure. The larger, lower pond is used for water sports, the upper pond is left undisturbed for wildlife.

One of the interesting runs we did was Adidas running trails, which is apparently challenging for any runners of 3.4 miles.

Gloucester city

It is a city and district in Gloucestershire, England, of which it is the county town. Gloucester lies close to the Welsh border, on the River Severn, between the Cotswolds to the east and the Forest of Dean to the southwest. I had a lovely walk around city centre with dogs and also found a lot of place were dog-friendly which was really extra bonus to nice walk around.

For the first time I had so much attention with those two, as a lot of people were stopping and asking about them. Surprisingly they both behaved, but maybe it was due to that we were already after our training camp.

Ross on Wye

I think this was my most favourite place that we visited during our holidays. Ross-on-Wye is a small market town in south eastern Herefordshire located on the River Wye, and northern edge of forest of Dean. The city promotes itself as a birthplace of British tourism. Lovely walk down the river allowed dogs to be off lead and had a paddle in a water. River Rye is the 5th longest river in the UK, stretching some 215km.

Absolutely awesome place to visit with your 4 legged friends. A lot of places to walk, run and hike.

An adventure to the heart of the Lanarkshire

I need to improvise a bit recently without a van to make dogs happy but also to have something to do at the weekends myself. Last weekend we were invited to my friend Lee to meet their new addition. Roger stayed in Edinburgh on his own adventure with his previous owners. They sometimes help me to look after dogs.

Travelling

I never knew that travelling with a dog by train in Scotland is so easy and actually enjoyable. We walked to Waverly Train Station in Edinburgh, it was very busy but Laferra is good walking near my heel.

It was super busy inside too, so we needed to wait in queue to get our ticket (next time I will buy it online for sure), however princess just sat and waited patiently for our turn. You can have up to two dogs with you on a train. We have managed to get the train without any changes. An hour ride by train was very nice as Lafie settled in no problem sitting on my laps as she was tired after parkrun. She was catching some energy for later.

Carluke

We went to see our friend Lee as she had a new dog coming all the way from Greece (same rescue place as Laferra). I was spamming a bit my page and wall with two puppies from Greece and two of them found home in Scotland. Both arrived Saturday morning and settling in well. However this black dog is special to me, as it looks totally like Laferra when she was younger. They could be easy half sisters??

They were actually very happy to see each other like they knew each other, or maybe Laferra could smell Greece? Ghini the black pointer was delighted to see Laferra. Hopefully one day Lafie could show Ghini how to get into sport 😉

Equitots Lanarkshire Community

My friend Lee has few horses, goats, rabbits, cat and other doggies too. It is like heaven for animals and children. Laferra even chased her cat (oops), loved watching the horses and goats. They organised a lot of cool things: ridding horses, creative activities (I cant wait to join them next time)- like painting the stones and some fun time for kids in forest. Lovely afternoon with dogs and friends just chilling. If you ever looking for something to do with kids have a look at their page!

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Feeling lucky to have an amazing friend like this. I also got a beautiful painted stones as a thank you for helping them out with Ghini and a beautiful bookmark which looks like Laferra. Thank you soooo much! You are so talented.

Return to Edinburgh

Unfortunately the train we were planning to catch has been cancelled so we needed to wait an hour for next one. Had a wee walk around and then Lafie just sat on my laps watching birds. Finally train arrived and we were on the way home. Lafie just fall asleep in the middle of a train and noone said anything to move her. Everyone was carefully passing her. Love how dog-friendly everyone and trains are. Absolutely amazing. I feel very lucky with Laferra being such an easy dog and coping with the world so well.

We have picked up Roger on the way and he was on mission to stop everyone on the way home (3.5km walking took us forever).

Roger the Explorer- What to do when you lose your dog?

Recently I lost Roger in the place I thought I had control over him. There are few factors to this and I don’t blame him but only myself. Here’s a short post with some advice that I have learnt from this experience.

Why he got lost?

Few factors to that:

  • routine has changed as my van broke down, so we took a bus to our usual hilly run.
  • I stopped using ball to keep him occupied.
  • He ran away after bunnies and I let him stay behind us.
  • I whistled but thought he knows where he is and where we were.

What did I do wrong?

So when I realised we lost him, I started searching for him (finally realising it was wrong direction). I whistled and whistled. Laferra kept with me and she really tried to help but she kept running with me. Someone said to me he ran the other way (which eventually I realised wasnt right and that how we missed Roger half way through). I moved from the place we lost him rather than staying as I started to panic.

What happen to Roger?

On the map below there is yellow mark at the bottom where we lost Roger. Roger overthink stuff and only he could thought of running all the way to top yellow mark (bus stop where we got off from the bus) to check if we are there. When he realised we werent there, he ran back to the park, but by that time I started thinking like him, so we met where the heart is on photo. Only Roger could remember a way that he only walked once. Only Roger would think to go and check if we are there. Eventually when we found him, he didnt look stressed, he look way chuffed with himself that he found us. Bless him.

What should I do when I lost him?

  • go to place where I lost him.
  • stay there and whistle and call him cheerfully (I thought I was going to kill him).
  • try to listen for him.
  • don’t panic.
  • don’t stress.
  • if I decided to move around, I should have left my jacket at the place I lost him (friend’s advice).
  • asked around few people rather than one who really had no clue.
  • when Roger was found I cried but I really should have greet him warmly (I gave him massive cuddle).

Happy ending

I was lucky that it was just Roger and I believe as a staffie x border collie he is super smart and just doesn’t think as ordinary dog. Roger is a dog who overthinks and remembers things that were showed to him once. I love him to bits and yes it was scary but I wasn’t stressed however was worried that something would happen to him as you can see he really went to explore Edinburgh. Now I ordered him a gift tho so no more missing Roger: tractive gps. I will let you know how we are getting on with it.

How not to lose motivation?

Recently my training programme is very high volume, which makes me tired and sometimes frustrated. Yesterday during my sessions, I keep saying in my head I need to write about this. So a short note on how to keep motivated on my own experience. It has been almost 15 weeks that I am doing Ben’s training programme and I haven’t missed a single session.

What exactly keeps me motivated? Here are few points.

Identify your goal

Dream big right? So before you start your hard training sessions, have a think what exactly you want to achieve by doing them. Firstly make a short-term goal, but also think about long-term goal and have a wider perspective to see your goals. The results of these perspective could be such as: feeling more confident, better health, happiness and better fitness.

Monitor your progress

Ok, I use Strava, but I also keep my diary after each session. I like to write down how I felt and come back to it, as it shows me that I do progress in all my training. I have three different diaries, one is for canicross (and really dogs’ training), second for my core body exercises, third is for my dogless running and progress there.

Be flexible

Be flexible with your goals, do some changes and make it a bit more challenging specially the short-term one. Remember the small steps will really keep you going if you will see the progress.

Nothing happens without hard work

Some folks think, progress can happen without hard training. Well you are wrong, you really need to put effort to achieve your goals. So remember there are no miracles in this! You need to work hard.

Timeline

Identify your timeline, when do you want to achieve your small goals, but also big goals.

Be happy

You need to work hard but remember have fun during the session too, and if it was bad sessions, remember tomorrow is a new day and it will be better.

Find a partner

Sounds so romantic, but I dont mean it this way! I found that having my dogs off lead is the best thing ever, and I treat them as my running buddies who keep me going.

Stick to your plan and good luck.