Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Dog Food, Dog Boots, Ferry Tickets And The Stroller

Roman’s dog food arrived at the vets this morning so I got my brother, Rich, to give me a lift there to pick it up. The vets have also kindly donated a couple of things for us. They have given us a flea treatment called Advocate that will last Roman for about 3 months – hopefully the duration of our journey. They have also given us a Scalibor collar. These are to keep sand flies away as they can be pretty dangerous to dogs. We don’t get sand flies in this country but they are quite common on the continent.

The vets have been really good in supporting us through the whole of our preparations for this walk. They have been happy to help whenever I have needed advice and have really gone out of their way to help us. If you are ever in need of a good vets near Chester then don’t hesitate to give them a go – the vets I use are Storrar vets and they are right next door to Bill Smith’s Motors in Boughton. The whole establishment is a credit to the vet profession – the reception staff are really polite and really helpful and they all love animals completely, whether it be a cat, a Yorkshire terrier or a Rottweiler! I have always been made to feel very welcome there and I think the family run heritage is probably a big reason behind that.

I have given up in my quest to get a company to provide Roman’s dog boots for free – either I manage to speak to someone and I get the good old “We’ve already picked our charities for this year” script or I email and get completely ignored! It’s really very frustrating at times! I have taken up my friend on their offer and they have ordered the boots for Roman today so they should be with us pretty soon. I’m quite excited about them to be honest (sad, I know!) and I reckon Roman will look quite dapper in them!

The search for a bicycle trailer / stroller continued today too. I have managed to spot a few knocking about and they range from quite expensive models in online stores to much cheaper versions of pretty much exactly the same things on ebay! I have spotted one for £72 on ebay and will be ordering it as soon as I have had a couple of questions answered by the company. I just wanted to be sure about the weight limit on the stroller and also wanted to confirm that the attachments needed to convert it to a stroller are included.

Roman’s paw has not given him any trouble today – in the past he was suffering the day after exercise but he has had no problems at all. I took him out on the field earlier so that he could run around for a bit and get rid of some of his excess energy before going to see my parents. It’s been a while since I have been up to see them and there aren’t too many days to go until I go now so I will have to make the most of the time I have here.

I have been practising a new way of walking Roman over the past couple of days as suggested by Gemma at the vets and Angela at FIDO (the dog training place). I have a double ended lead for Roman and I have been attaching one end to a link about two thirds of the way around the lead and the other end to Roman’s harness. I then place the lead over my shoulder, much like you would with a record bag. Doing it this way means that I can walk him without actually holding the lead – I will need both hands for pushing the stroller!

As soon as I have the stroller I will be practising walking Roman with that, firstly so that Roman can get used to having something in front of him but also so that I can get used to how he behaves with it. Angela got me to try pushing a buggy around in a training class once but it’s hard to judge how Roman took to it as there were so many other dogs about to distract him! I don’t think he will have any problem with it though.

I got a reply from Natalie at P&O Ferries this morning to advise that they would not be able to provide a ticket on the morning of 31st August due to heavy bookings as a result of the bank holiday weekend. Instead she suggested that we could travel over on the evening of the 30th August and my friend could then return the following morning. I have decided to get the 7pm ferry over and then my friend will return on the 10.55am ferry the following morning. I am sure it will be a pleasant change to have some company for an evening!

Day Three

Our third day of walking will see us depart Newport and head for a place called Brownhills West. The total distance covered will be approximately 22 miles on the third day. I have been thinking about our rest points along the way and have decided that I will walk for an hour and then rest for half an hour. I think by doing it this way we should reach our final destination each day by about 4pm or 5pm so we will be able to work out where we will be staying and where I can eat!

I think this will be a nice way of doing things as it will mean that we can just relax once we have stopped safe in the knowledge that we are done for the day. I have decided that I will take a few books with me so that I don’t get bored in the evenings. One of these books will definitely be an Italian book so that I can continue learning whilst we are travelling!

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