Losing a dog is heartbreaking at any time and especially if it is very suddenly. Tim Dickson is one of our DogFit Canicross Trainers in Belvedere, Kent, and in a frank and honest way, explains how canicross is helping him through this difficult time.
My name is Tim and I’m the owner of ‘Belvedere Running and Walking Company’
I discovered canicross by chance. I had just found a new soul mate by the name of Moseph, a beautiful blue and white whippet. When she arrived at our home my life changed so much. It was like having a new child and I knew that this pup needed a whole lot of my attention.
It was on one of those sleepless nights that I discovered canicross whilst surfing the internet. I was hooked in minutes and started checking out You Tube videos for more information and to learn more. My first disappointment came when I found out Moseph was too young to start, but this didn’t dampen my enthusiasm for long. It was on these web searches that I found DogFit, and with this the chance to get trained myself to teach this fabulous sport. So that night off went my application to get on the course. Moseph and I then just waited excitedly for a response.
Within a couple of days, we received a phone call from the guys at DogFit who talked us through their requirements to become a certified DogFit Canicross Trainer. As a personal trainer already and having gained other leadership qualifications, I was accepted on the course and our journey had begun.
Now a Certified DogFit Canicross Trainer, I was absolutely buzzing, I still knew Mo was too young to Canicross, however, she wasn’t too young to be taught commands so we set to work the very next day. We started with the basics like sit, stay, come, then moving on to setting up cones and moving on to commands such as left, right and hold back. The bond was just amazing and my love for Mo was off the scale. We were starting a new journey in both our lives and it was awesome.
We were 18 weeks into our brand new life together when on the 20th of November 2017 I had to write the following post to our friends and followers.
“This morning at approximately 12.05 Mo was tragically killed in a road traffic accident. I am destroyed. Dreams we talked about in our long nights up together gone. Mo I’m so sorry I couldn’t save you. I truly loved you unconditionally. This was my last photo with you. I will cherish it forever”
From this day life drastically changed for me. I would consistently beat myself up. Any interest I had in running, walking, going out just disappeared. Everything we worked for, like I said, endless sleepless nights of puppy training, chatting about our dreams and goals all gone in a split second. With the images constantly going through my head I just went into a downward spiral, and really wasn’t interested in interacting with anyone.
With support from, and constant ‘come on Tim’ from my wife, and the messages from our group I got myself up and out. I finally started back walking with everyone’s support and I will never forget this. You may not know it but all you guys involved with Belvedere Plodders got me through this horrible time in my life. Although loads better, I still to this day shed a tear from that day’s events.
A few weeks passed from the day of the accident and out the blue I got a message from my mum asking how I was. She then went on to say she wanted to help me get a new friend when I was ready. To be truthful I didn’t think I would ever be ready. With this offer, I started looking on the internet again. It was here I discovered the world of Greyhounds and the hard lives they are also put through. Although I knew they weren’t the best dogs for canicross I just had to rescue one of these beautiful hounds with the thought of “We could help fix each other” so this is what we did.
Welcome to Team Dickson – Daisy Duke.
Well, this was different! By day two I knew I had my work cut out with Daisy. She was also broken and very withdrawn, so I just sat, stroked, and talked to her for days. Finally, we went out for our first walk, she just froze and really didn’t want to be with me. Over the coming months, I had the constant battle of her not wanting to leave the house. I spent hours in the woods, some days in the pouring rain when she refused to move, trying to reassure her that life was going to be better. I truly believe most people who had work schedules and commitments would have given up on the beautiful dog but not me. No way. If I had to sit out in all weather conditions that’s exactly what I was going to do.
After around a month, with great delight we started to walk the woods, in fact, the woods became her safe place. I could see the change in her being and it was brilliant. We started to run, walk with poles and started having some adventures together. Having said all this, as soon as it was time to go home and she saw the open spaces when leaving the woods she again just went into what I can only describe as a panic attack. With continued patience and reassurance, I’ll never forget the day we ran from the woods and just as I was waiting for her to stop she just continued running into and around the field. Man, that was a great moment!
We have had Daisy now for around 15 months. She loves the woods and will run with our Canicross group within them. However, she still freezes when there are large numbers of people around. We are yet to complete a park run but I will never give up on trying with her.
I want to finish ‘My Story’ with news of a new arrival, Hollie. We fell in love with her whilst visiting Kent Greyhound Rescue, and so did Daisy. Although we tried, I couldn’t leave the kennels without her. So the journey starts again.
Canicross genuinely changed my life. It has helped me physically and mentally. It has helped my girls both physically and mentally. We run and hike in all weathers. We chat about everything, and although we are all still fighting our demons we continue to grow stronger every day together.
Tim, Caz, Daisy and Hollie ~ Team Belvedere Canicross