Toby Week 8: Licence to chill

Another visit to the dog-tors this week, to get the required kennel cough which is important when he’s in contact with many other dogs at Paws Doggy DayCare.  While there, the vet gave him a good checking over, his weight is 10kg which is spot on, and all other checks showed him to be in great shape.  But oh, he is really timid when there, and retreats for cuddles in Dad’s arms.

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Talking of which, it’s been Dog-fathers Day!  The pupsters gave him a card with a pug on it, and a notebook with a staffy on it.  Chris is all about the Elvis, looking forward to their upcoming Vegas boys trip.

He really enjoys going to doggy day care, and has been there 3 days a week.  Look at him ready with Big Sis for the morning school run.

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He is knackered afterwards!

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Saturday was a bit of a trial – he pooped in Dad’s office, then threw up in the car! Maybe a little bit of ginger biscuit before a car trip will help the queasiness.

Sundays are family fun days, and a bit of off lead training in Moira Demesne, while I tail walked with Minnie at Moira Juniors parkrun

But his favourite lap to curl up in is Chris.

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parkrun tourism: Holy Cross, Strabane

parkrun#257 event#63

Reason for visit: tagging on a Fathers Day lunch.

Latest addition to the NI stable, and much to the delight of alphabeteers, it begins with a haitch!

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Access:

The postcode given on the parkrun page takes you right there.  From Omagh, through the delightfully pretty village of Sion Mills, and at the roundabout as you enter Strabane go straight ahead, past the Fir Trees hotel.

Facilities:

There is plenty of car parking, but even though the course takes place in the College grounds, there is no access to the building itself.  ie NO TOILETS!  Remember the Fir Trees Hotel you passed on the way?  Time to pay it a closer look.  There was tea, coffee and biscuits on this occasion, and there is a Mace shop across the road which does hot deli food if you fancy something more substantial.

Course:

The start is a little way from the finish, on a wide tarmac path.

Round a cone and onto the running track, which is mostly gravel.

Up a gentle (!) slope behind the school, and back around to the front.

On the 4th lap you finish here.

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The running track is quite wide, so make sure you hug the inner path if possible, or you’ll be running more than 5k.  There’s one wee stretch where runners are travelling in both directions, so keep to the right at this section.

Crowd:

Inaugurals attract crowds, but the just under 200 runners today were very well managed by the volunteer team.  I was one of at least 4 people wearing 250 shirts, and I recognised a few other familiar faces.  There were a couple of buggies, but this is a NO DOGS course, due to school rules.

The best surprise was when Dame Kelly Holmes turned up with a film crew.  She gave a short talk during the pre-run brief about the programme she’s making, which looks at the benefits of exercise like parkrun, not just physical but also for good mental health and stress management.  She then started at the back of the pack with her go-pro, gradually overtook the field, giving encouragement as she went, finished as first lady and then headed back out onto the course to give high fives and words of support to those still running.  And then she happily stayed chatting and posing for photos afterwards.  What a wonderful inspiring woman!

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Gear:

I had remembered to charge my Garmin and earphones.  Sadly, my phone had failed to charge overnight, so I was limited as to what photos I could take, and couldn’t use the music/ headphones.  I had my new barcode water bottle, which kept my water refreshingly cool.  The weather was miserable in Belfast, but as I headed west it gradually brightened, and I needed my sunglasses during the run.  Road shoes would be fine for the surface.

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Time:

I was aiming for sub-35, and managed it.

Strangely Appropriate Song on Shuffle:

No music on my headphones, but I did enjoy singing along to the car radio and Birdhouse In Your Soul, which I haven’t heard in a while

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All My parkruns:

list of all parkruns completed

Toby week 7: Under my umberella, ella, ella

Well, Mister Toby is not a fan of the rain!

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I’m still taking him out frequently to consolidate the house-training, so this week’s heavy showers have seen me standing by the back door with an umbrella, trying to encourage him to come with me in the micro-climate.  He is smart though – he figured out he could find some shelter under the honeysuckle hedge by the deck, and made a dash for there.

Morning tussles are a little less frentetic, though we still have the odd growly ownership dispute over a nylabone.  (There are 2 nylabones, but the concept of having one each is a little sophisticated).

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Days spent at Paws Doggy Daycare are filled with fun, and the staff are really good at posting photos and videos of their furry pupils.

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A new bed – a Game of Thrones printed big cushion – feel free to insert your GOT pun here.tobygot

And time for a big-boy “Ruffwear” harness for travelling in the car – it’s an S, same size as Minnie’s, but it has a lot of adjusting straps which make the fit just right. I think green is definitely his colour!

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Toby Week 6: ….and 4 months old!

This week it’s been Master Toby’s 4 month-birthday.  We didn’t have any cake, but we did get to go out together to Moira Juniors parkrun.  I tailwalked with Minnie, and Roger and Toby marshalled near the turn point, before heading into the middle of the park to do some off lead work.  He’s grown so fast he’s now in the next size up fleece.  And happily travels in the boot of my car with Minnie.

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Afterwards we tucked into McMuffins, and both dogs sat beautifully in the pleasant sunshine.  This made the whole experience quite relaxing.

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House training is about 80% – there have been a few times where he has gone to the door and squeaked, but we haven’t been quick enough to take him outside.  But that’s our fault, not his.

He’s a familiar face now at Paws, and I love checking in on the webcams to see how he’s doing.  He certainly has plenty of playmates.

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Bed destruction continues – he may well be the unintended dog, but an unattended dog is really asking for trouble!  Tell me this is just a puppy phase….

 

Toby Week 5: The trouble with kibbles

On Monday we had a couple of kibbling problems.  At breakfast time, Toby is encouraged to sit and wait while his bowl is lowered to him.  But he does get excited at the prospect of food, and this time he jumped up and knocked the bowl out of Roger’s hand.  Of course the little bits of kibble flew all over the kitchen floor!  I had to shoo bog dogs out of the room while I got down on hands and knees to pick up every last bit.  Any stray piece would no doubt be scented by one or other, and much scratching and scrabbling would ensue.

Later that day, we took both dogs in the back of Roger’s car.  I sat in the middle with a dog on each side, to keep them calm.  Toby seemed unusally calm, subdued almost.  And indeed, a few miles down the road he was car sick, and a blob of semi -digested kibble reappeared.  Thankfully, my coat is washable!  (I hope you are not having your tea while reading this…..)

Travel sickness is not uncommon with puppies, as their balance regulating mechanisms in their ears is still forming.  we will try in different cars and different placements.

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Tuesday was a big day for a little pup – first day at school!  (Compulsory photo by the front door).

Well, Paws Doggy Day Care.  They were most impressed at his confidence and quickness to settle in, and at how well Minnie looks after him, making sure that no-one is giving him a hard time.  Paws has webcams, and I enjoyed checking up on him at various points to make sure he was having fun.  He certainly was, and seemed to particularly like playing with the other beagles, as well as the other youngsters.  He even managed to photobomb a picture of the bigger dogs.

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He’d been OK in the back of my car on Tuesday, but on Wednesday morning our route was diverted, and after a more twisty windy road the car sickness was back.  We will have to time any journies to allow for at least a few hours between feeding and travel.

He seems to love his schooldays, and is knackered when he gets home.

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Farewell Peppa Pig toy, and also squeaky zebra, but hello new chewy ring!

And new bigger collar as well.

 

parkrun tourism: Poolbeg

parkrun #255 event #62

Reason for visit: Dublin Scottish Dance groups’s annual dance.

I’ve attended this dance every year for the past 4 years, and each time I’ve managed to tick off another Dublin parkrun.  This year I was staying at the Uni halls of residence, Trinity Hall, in Rathmines and the closest event not yet done was Poolbeg.

Access:

I knew there wasn’t much parking nearby, and wanted to be considerate of residents, but I set my Sat Nav for Seaforth Avenue (since it reminded me of Ser Davos Seaworth in GOT), and found a pay and display car park with plenty of spaces.  It was 1 euro per hour, so I popped in a 2 euro coin.

I’d passed a few other car parks on the sea front, which would give you a nice little warm up jog before the start.  As I walked towards the start (doing the ususal lookout for other parkrunners), a taxi was letting out a group of about 6 obvious runner types.  And I met some others who had walked from the city centre.  So it’s good one to aim for if you are staying centrally.

Course:

From the start point, it’s back towards the city centre, a lap of Sean Moore Park, and when you pass the start point again that’s 1.5 km done.  From there, it’s 1km out through the Nature Reserve, one sneaky wee hill at the turn point,

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back to the start/finish point and another lap of Sean Moore.  There are a few parts where runners are going in both directions, so keep left, and the surface is largely packed gravel or tarmac. All the pinch points are well marshalled, and how fab is the view enjoyed by the person at the turnaround point!

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I absolutely loved the scenery, the sights and smells of the various flora, and the sounds of birds. And of course being by the sea always makes my heart sing.

Gear:

I’m still loving the cheers I get when wearing my 250 shirt.  My Garmin and headphones all behaved impeccably, and my cow cowl allowed me to identify other tourists.

Strangely-appropriate-song-on-shuffle:

Most of my playlist is Eurovision songs, but there is the odd Scottish Dance tune, and I love the music to Red House.

Crowd:

I was enormously struck by the diversity and community spirit. I met Alison, another northern lass who’d come down to see The Spice Girls, and we discovered a number of friends in common.  The crowd getting out of the taxi were cast and crew from “The King and I”, in town for 2 weeks, and I chatted to them about how my son, on another touring show, enjoys getting out with a few colleagues to get their Saturdays off to the best possible good start.  There must be potential for a “theatre touring parkrunners” group surely!  Doing the “Top Trumps” of number of events, furtherest travelled etc, I was doing quite well on my 62nd event, until Colin revealed he’d done over 200!  Mucho impressedo.

 

But what struck a real chord with me was the   Sanctuary Runners.  For people receiving Direct Assistance, who may have little access to physical exercise, this group makes sure they have the opportunity to take part in a parkrun each week.  What a fabulous way to embody the community “for everyone” ethos of parkrun.  And I’m going to explore if such a thing exists or could happen here in Norn Irn.

Facilities:

The start and finish are at the same point, so you can leave coats and stuff by the bench.  There are no nearby loos.  Post-run coffees are at the very lovely Dunne and Crescenzi, which serendiptously turned out to be right beside where I’d parked!  I thoroughly enjoyed my avo and poached egg on toasted sourdough with pistachio crumb – yum!  And I made myself useful by helping with the token sorting, one of my favourite jobs.

All my parkruns:

NI (and other) parkruns: summary list

 

Toby Week 4: Meeting and greeting

This week we’ve really started to get a daily routine.  If we get up around 5.30 we can usually catch him before he needs to pee/poo, which is a big plus in toilet training.  Minnie usually gets a bit of a lie in before she gets up around 7, and which point we have mad half-hour, fighting over toys, growling and tumbling.  Out for pees, breakfast, out for pees, bit of play, out for pees, sleep bye-byes, out for pees……and repeat.

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Friday was a big day – second injection! I was away, but Rog took him in the back of my car, where he squeaked and squawked all the way to the vets.  He has put on a whole 2 kilos in 2 weeks!  (previous weight was 5.4 kilos, so that’s a 37% increase). The vet was very impressed with how he is doing, and he was very well behaved getting jabs and flea treatment.  But he does need constant supervision, otherwise a bed may be destroyed….

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On Sunday he got to come with us to junior parkrun.  Minnie was coming too, and having them both in the back of the car seemed to calm and reassure him, and there was no squeaking or complaining.  Once there, he was very happy to be met and petted by his adoring public.  I was tail-walking with Mnnie, so Rog took Toby into the centre of the park, and did some off-lead recall work, which he excelled at.

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So now that he’s had his jabs, he’ll be able to go to doggy daycare, which will make working life a bit simpler for us both.

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