Discovering canicross with hearing dog Evie, following a small stroke.

Posted by Ginetta George, 21st April 2019

If you are looking for inspiration to start the sport of canicross, take a look at this amazing lady and her hearing dog Evie who demonstrate that canicross really is for everyone. Pru was born deaf and only 9 months ago couldn’t walk after a small stroke. Her canicross journey began with a taster session with DogFit Canicross Instructor, Yolanda Wilkins in Peterborough.

Pru’s walking stick gave her confidence as she was still getting to grips with the loss of her balance after her stroke. They both signed up for our Canicross Couch to 5K and their dedication and perseverance paid off as this dynamic duo progressed at a rapid rate. It wasn’t long before Pru no longer needed her stick and was feeling much more confident in her abilities to run.

At the final week of the C25K DogFit course, they ran together, continuously for 5K (with a little swim in the river halfway around for Evie). This journey has touched many who followed their progress earlier this year and we are all very proud in congratulating them both in accomplishing this incredible achievement.

Such an inspiration, we are proud to bring you Pru’s story.


“My name is Prudence and my hearing dog’s name is Evie. I was born deaf from birth and now have cochlear implant and I can hear a lot of sounds. She is my third hearing dog and is a 6 years old working cocker spaniel. She responds to all sounds and is one of the best hearing dogs in the East Anglia!

I have always been active and have enjoyed gardening and walking for many years. Last September I was struck by a small stroke and suffered loss of balance. After I left the hospital, I started to rebuild my fitness on my exercise bike and Evie helped me get back to active walking. My guinea pigs were also pleased to have me back on my feet! 

When I first started canicross with Evie, she was a bit puzzled, but liked it. We started with an introductory lesson, which I thought was daunting at first, but my DogFit Trainer, Yolanda at YoFit Canicross, helped me get confident.

We went on our first training canicross couch-5K course, with new members and other dogs. We walked/ran for one minute each and repeated 10 times. We finished the first lesson and I was exhausted but it felt good and Evie loved it. By the time we got home, Evie was fast asleep already! With Evie to keep me going, we gained confidence and practiced to learn how to go from walking to running. Now she recognises her canicross harness coming out, and knows exactly what we are going do to. Whilst waiting to go, she sings!! She is very vocal and loves attention. 

In the next session, we did 2 minutes running and walking in between. Although I felt unfit in the beginning, with Evie to keep me going and Yolanda’s guidance, it began to feel better. I’m sure Evie also understood and kept a steady pace with me.

Through the following weeks, we built up our running/walking distances. I was getting more used to running and Evie too.  I would also see on Facebook posts afterward, that she was always wagging her tail all the way round and really enjoying herself! We got to 8 minutes running and 2 minutes walking in the next session, even though it was a windy day,  Evie was always patient with me. Then the following week 10 minutes running and a few minutes walking. All the while, Evie looks at me as if to say ‘I’m waiting for you’!!  She takes it all in her stride, tail wagging while I’m jogging quietly.  

For our final 5k session it was a lovely warm Spring sunny day. I did not think I would run all the way, but Evie encouraged me, especially on the last lap when she decided to increase her speed to meet  Yolanda, Lyra, and Grace.  All the dogs enjoyed the small swimming break half way round too.

It was hard work but was it worth it. You feel easier each time. We are going to carry on and do the couch-5k again, but with a bit more speed.”

Prudence and Evie

It just goes to show what can be achieved with determination, perseverance and of course, your four-legged best friend to help motivate you along the way. If you would like to learn how to canicross with a DogFit canicross trainer, please get in touch to find out more.


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