Day Trips! 🇪🇸🐾

As the bulk of our time on the road trip has been spent in Spain, we have been for some trips out around the local (ish) area!

Sunday was our first full day not travelling so we had a lovely relaxed day, Toby and I walked to the pebble beach that isn’t far from where we are staying, Mum and Dad showed us around the local area, to give us a few local walks for Toby to explore.

We had a climb on the rocks at the beach and spent the afternoon relaxing and unpacking for the stay, we also had to rescue my mum and dad who got stuck in a thunderstorm when they went for an afternoon stroll!

Toby hates thunder so we were trying our best to keep him calm and relaxed and then had a rescue mission to contend with!!

On Monday we had another walk to the pebble beach and a game of frisbee before we then had a human day (Toby was more than happy to have the afternoon off to snooze!!) we went for a mooch around the local shops and visited the Ondara Centre, which is a shopping centre!

After shopping till we dropped we then went back and took Toby on a little visit to the sandy beach, which is a short drive from where we were staying in Els Poblets, Toby was armed with his Ruffwear Float Coat and I was hoping that this holiday would be the first time Toby swam, my theory was he never paddled until I went in with him but I only ever paddled in shallow water (cold English water) so I thought if I went in deeper he would come with, the plan worked, Toby has swum on this holiday, he will happily go in for his frisbee, the float coat has definitely given him extra confidence in the water and has made me feel safer with him swimming in a sea inlet. He will follow me in to the water and is happy having a paddle, play and swim in the inlet, the waves of the actual sea are however far too scary for him!

Tuesday we had a little disaster, which resulted in a trip to the vets for Toby.

Before heading to Spain I had been advised about and had researched any potential diseases or illnesses that I needed to be aware of taking Toby with me.

The most worrying of these for the time of year we were visiting was Leishmania, which is a disease passed through a bite by an infected Sandfly, I spoke to my vets in Cheshire and also spoke to a Spanish veterinary practice in the area we were staying in to find the best way to combat the risk of this disease.

I was advised that Toby should wear a Seresto collar, which he should have on for two weeks prior to the trip and keep on for the duration of the trip, this would provided 85% protection, the vet had advised that the protection with a vaccination was only a few more percent – so I did some further research including reading some studies about the effectiveness of the slow release collar in the prevention of Leishmania, as a gigantic worry wart I was satisfied with the protection that the collar provided following speaking to the Spanish vet and doing my own research, the Spanish vet advised that it should be sufficient and if I was at all concerned when we were in Spain they could give the vaccination to give the extra percent.

The other things I had researched that would help prevent Toby being bitten were:

– ensure the dog is sleeping indoors (he sleeps with me so no problems there)

– avoid walking at between dusk and dawn

– make sure you keep windows and doors closed after dusk.

I followed all the above advice and made sure that Toby was inside before dusk and that his last pee walks were short and sweet!

On Tuesday however I noticed that a window was open, which had been left open by mistake after dusk, as I have said I am a massive worry bucket so I wanted to be sure that Toby was still ok – so booked him in to the vets for a blood test and if that came back as negative for Leishmania he would then be able to have the vaccine also.

The blood tests were not Toby’s favourite and although he was very brave, he was not a happy bunny! The 10 minutes we had to wait for the result was agonising!!

Thankfully it came back that Toby was negative for Leishmania, so he was able to have the vaccination to give him the few extra percent (and to give me a little bit more piece of mind!!)

After our traumatic morning we then headed to Benidorm as originally planned for Tuesday!

We went for a walk along the beach and Toby got to do some skating on the multi coloured path, which earned him some claps and lots of admirers!

We also took Toby to the Old Town and had a walk around the shopping area – we found so many places in Spain that were dog friendly, the majority of restaurants have tables outside and are more than happy for you to have a dog with you – Toby truly was in his element!

The day we went to Benidorm was another really hot day, Toby’s Ruffwear Cooling Jacket has been absolutely vital on this trip as otherwise Toby would not have been able to join in many of the activities or day trips we had planned – with his cool coat, he was more than happy to be out and about in the heat and was able to enjoy all the new places he got to explore without being too warm and over heating.

On Wednesday we went for a day trip to Calpe to do a walk, originally we had hoped to climb Calpe Rock, but after looking in to it they are limiting numbers that are able to go up due to the rocks being slippy and unsafe, the day that we walked in Calpe was also very very hot, so Toby wouldn’t have thanked us for a climb!

We did the Calpe coastal walk instead which is a seven mile walk with gorgeous views of the coast, a very refreshing sea breeze and has a handy bar three quarters of the way round to stop for a drink and a bite to eat!

It was an absolutely gorgeous walk – so many beautiful things to see! There are a few little beaches and coves in the route but a few of them had signs up to say “Perros No” so Toby wasn’t able to explore those!

It was a very warm 29 degrees when we did the coastal walk so once again Toby was very grateful for his cool coat, his Kurgo Bottle and the sea breeze! Toby got used to the heat fairly quickly and I ensured that he had regular drink stops and regular chances to have a rest if he was getting too hot.

Thursday was another relaxing day (not for my parents – they ended the day with a hole in the ceiling courtesy of two plumbers 😂) we had a beach trip with Toby and did some more swimming and then went souvenir shopping and to get plenty of presents for Amos 😍

On Friday we headed to Guadalest for another day trip!

I have been to Guadalest in the past when I have visited Spain and every time I have been it amazes me – it’s so so beautiful!

We had a lovely wander around taking in all the breathtaking views and stopped for a meal and an ice cream in a local bar.

Whilst visiting Guadalest we had another unfortunate incident!

We visited the Torture Museum which was dog friendly and very interesting, I discovered the downside of using the “shaping” training method however!

For those that don’t know shaping is training that lets your dogs work it out for themselves and encourages to use their brains.

Toby had been having a sniff round and a pose every now and then for photos he seemed to be enjoyed his trip back in time!

Once of the rooms had a stock / stockade in, Toby went round the back of it for a sniff (perfectly acceptable) he was still on his lead then he stuck his head through the hole and looked at me as though to say “this would be a great picture mum”

As I went to get my camera out Toby seemed to realise he had put his head in a hole and had a little panic, which resulted in a big panic as he couldn’t get his head back out!!

Me and mum tried our hardest to calm him down, my mum was being sensible talking to him and telling him his head must fit through the hole as it went in … I was trying to keep him calm by stroking him.

He was stuck for what felt like forever, he’s puffed all his fur up and just couldn’t get himself out, we tried lifting the stock but nothing seemed to work, after a little while Billy came up to the room we were in and got my dad to go and get the lady on the front desk, the poor Spanish lady didn’t have a clue what was going on but we all started trying to get him out, after a little while it was as though he realised he’d puffed up and he just pulled his head out!

I checked him over and he was perfectly fine and he just kept looking at me as though to say, well are you going to give me the biscuit or what?!

Needless to say I will continue doing shaping with him, but I will not let him near medieval torture equipment or small holes he can stick his head into!!

We had our final little day trip on Sunday we went to Javea to have a walk around the Arenal and have a meal out.

We stopped in the most beautiful bar overlooking the sea and the beach for a drink, they brought it a bowl of water for Toby as soon as we arrived which was a lovely touch!

The bar had beds and sofas to relax on and was a beautiful peaceful way to spend a few hours in the sunshine!

Toby made himself right at home 😂

Me and mum also went for a little mooch over to the rocks near the sea as to let Toby have a sniff and a climb – again the views and scenery were just beautiful!

Monday was our final day in Spain so we decided to spend the morning at the beach soaking up the sunshine and letting Toby play with his frisbee, paddle and swim!

Then it was heading back for the dreaded packing and loading up the car before we set off the following day!

Toby also had his appointment at the vets to ensure he was treated for worms before he came back into the U.K. and to make sure that all his documentation was correct!

We left for our next stop Zaragoza bright and early on Tuesday morning and arrived early afternoon!

Our hotel was amazing and overlooked the cathedral – which was gorgeous! We had paid for a room with a view and my was it worth it!!

We spent the afternoon wandering around the city and Toby got to do a little more city skating!

The only thing we weren’t fond of about Zaragoza was the hundreds of pigeons that zoomed around at full speed! When you are sitting outside of a restaurant it’s quite nerve wracking when a hoard of Pigeons tries to fly and poop on your dinner!!

On Wednesday we had our final drive in Spain, from Zaragoza to Bilbao to get on the boat home!

I was fairly nervous about the boat trip – I wasn’t sure how well I would manage with the movement as I struggle to not fall down on a bus or train when they are moving and they are usually calmer than the sea …. 🙄

Toby had to be muzzled to embark on the boat, so we had been doing plenty of muzzle training, he doesn’t love it but he knows that good things follow the muzzle so was happy enough with it on.

The boat was the bit I enjoyed the least, I spent the first 16 hours in bed looking very green, thankfully Billy was fine with the sea so Toby had someone who wasn’t walking like they’d downed 20 vodkas to walk him on the exercise deck!

I found Queezibics (human version) a complete life saver and although Toby was coping well also got him some of the dog friendly ones to try! Which he loved! We saved some for Amos to try when we got home too! As they were ginger biscuits for our big ginge!!

Overall we had an amazing trip – it was something we would love to do again, Toby had an absolute blast and loved exploring in three new countries!

In total we drove 2520 miles on our adventure so I think we can officially call Toby an international explorer ❤️

Thanks for reading!! 🇪🇸

Road Trip! 🚙🚗⛰

We are currently road tripping through France, Andorra and Spain.

This is a holiday that we have been planning for around a year – possibly longer!

Amos is not with us for the trip as he is classed as a banned breed in two of the countries we are visiting, that coupled with the fact he would find the whole trip insanely stressful it wasn’t fair to bring him.

The trip was planned before Amos came to us and I researched before we fostered Amos the possibility of him coming with us, as he is unable to I had sorted his own ‘mini holiday’ months ago to make sure he was going to be happy and comfortable whilst we were away.

Of course we miss him, but in the big picture this trip would have been too much for him to cope with, too many new sounds, smells and locations to familiarise himself with and would have had a negative impact on his overall confidence which we have been working on for months!

Our trip started nice and early on Wednesday morning when we left home at 2:00am 😫 to drive to Folkestone to get on the EuroTunnel.

We took the driving in turns to get to the tunnel as both the humans were exhausted! So we took regular breaks and naps 😊

After a very long morning in the car we arrived at Folkestone a couple of hours early for our train, we were moved to an earlier train (at no extra cost! 🎉) so had an hour or so to kill.

The Eurotunnel has an amazing dog play area, and even has a separate one for females in season – I was amazed, I found it incredible, there is a little bit of agility equipment that people can use and a fenced in area to let your pups have a stretch of their legs.

The Eurotunnel was an experience – I didn’t like it much, we were parked near a window and the movement of the train but not the car really messed with my head!

Once we arrived in France we had another 5 or so hours in the car until we got to our first stop in Orléans.

It was such a long day that by the time we arrived at the hotel, we took Toby for a walk in the town and then went straight back to the room to catch up on some well deserved sleep!

We all slept from about 8:30pm for a full 12 hours!!

We had a little mooch around Orléans the next morning before we set off on the next leg of the trip, which was making our way to Andorra!

We decided we would stop on the way in Toulouse – it was a disaster! The plan had been to spend an hour or so mooching around, letting Toby stretch his legs and is stopping somewhere for a bite to eat. We instead spent over an hour in standstill traffic! We did have loads of fun people watching though – so every cloud and all that!

It was also the scariest place to drive as people just zoomed past on bikes/ mopeds and cars just cut each other up constantly – Billy did an amazing job of driving us though and we eventually (when we were safely out of Toulouse) stopped to get snacks at a petrol station!!

We carried on our merry way to get to our next stop which was in Andorra, unfortunately the delay in Toulouse meant that we were a smidge behind schedule, so we ended up driving the most crazy mountain roads in the south of France in the dark, which was a frightening experience! The silver lining was it meant Andorra was lit up when we arrived and it looked beautiful!!

Our hotel in Andorra was fabulous, very dog friendly (€8 extra a night got Toby to stay) but he was able to come and sit in the restaurant with us for all our meals and was made very welcome by all the staff.

Our day in Andorra was spent exploring and climbing, there were a number of walks from the hotel, which I had wanted to try, the waterfall walk seemed the best bet as it meant we were always close to water to help keep Toby cool.

It wasn’t too hot in Andorra, but I obviously wanted to ensure Toby was coping with the weather.

We had a beautiful walk, the scenery was just incredible and utterly breathtaking.

The afternoon in Andorra was spent in Andorra La Vella, which was an experience in itself!

Toby thoroughly enjoyed mooching around the department stores and having a quick rest whilst I checked out all the stationary 😂

Some of the shops weren’t dog friendly but there were quite a few that would allow dogs inside which made a nice change from home!

It was a beautiful area to walk around, if you wanted to walk in the countryside or in a more urban setting, there were plenty of places to stop and get food where we would have been able to sit outside with Toby, we decided again getting food in Andorra La Vella as the food at the hotel was gorgeous! So we decided to head back for something to eat!

Our final morning in Andorra we went for another little explore around the local area and let Toby have a good stretch of his legs before the next leg of the journey – to Spain!!

From Andorra to where we are staying in Spain was another 6 hours in the car, Toby has been doing amazingly well in the car, he’s great at travelling – he just doesn’t sleep, so a day in the car is very tiring for him, he spends all day looking out of the window pretty much so when we arrive somewhere he is usually very sleepy!!

We take lots of breaks for humans and pooch to have a stretch of the legs, snacks and drinks which has made it much more manageable for Toby as he gets a break from staring at scenery 😂

When we arrived in Spain our first priority was of course a walk to the beach!

In Spain we are staying with my Mum and Dad, so are lucky enough to have two built in tour guides for this stretch of the trip!

Whilst Toby and I wandered off to the beach with Mum, Billy and Dad stayed back to unpack the car!

The beach close by is so beautiful, it’s a pebble beach (which doesn’t bother Toby at all) which eventually turns to a sandy beach, which is walkable but can take over an hour to get to, Toby is still adjusting to the heat out here so I didn’t want to walk him that far before he then got a run on the beach initially, he’s getting much better with the heat however, he just needed a little time to adjust!

That’s all for leg one of the trip … we’ll post another blog soon with the day trips we have done whilst in Spain!

I have too many pictures to try and squeeze into one blog 😂

#10mountains10months Part 8 ⛰🗻

For part 8 of our challenge we headed to Helvellyn in the Lakes.

We looked into the different routes up Helvellyn and were initially going to go via Striding edge, however we originally had a few extra people coming with us … safety in numbers and all.

It ended up just being Sophie and I (which isn’t a problem at all we appreciate people have lives, jobs and other commitments) but we felt that going up striding edge just the two of us and Toby would be too dangerous.

The challenge is just that; a challenge – but we still need to be sensible and ensure we are safe for the walks.

We looked into an alternative route that would be suitable and safe for the three of us and decided that the route from Thirlmere looked like a good alternative.

It was set to be another long day – Toby and I got up at 5:00am, packed the last minute items in the Rucksack, took Amos for a little wander round the block (he had the luxury of going back to bed until Billy got up!!) and then set off to Sophie’s house at 6:00am.

This walk wasn’t as far from Sophie’s house, only an hour and a half which was a lovely scenic drive and flew by!

We started the walk and I am not ashamed to admit – by going the wrong way, so we walked for half an hour or so without actually started the climb!

Once we realised we had gone wrong we turned back on ourselves and started in the correct direction.

The walk was a tough but beautiful one, the route from Thirlmere zigzags up, and it is continuously up for all of the walk, it was worth the tough climb however as the views were utterly gorgeous!

We had been expecting rain for the walk as every time I checked the forecast for the week it wasn’t looking promising. We were very lucky however as the weather was really nice! It was a little warm in some sections but there was a nice breeze and not too many clouds so we were able to see far and wide!

This walk was tough right until the last stretch where the path then becomes more gradual and undulating which then leads to the Trig Point – we went over to have a look at Striding Edge when we were on the top section of the path and it made my knees feel funny.

It is something both Sophie and I have said we would like to do but maybe in a few years when we are better prepared for it!

We did have a few negative comments made on this walk about Toby – which always irritates me.

People either love or hate his back pack, that’s fine – but as the saying goes: if you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say anything.

Toby was called spoilt and was called a “poor dog” and there were a few other comments made throughout the walk – I’m sure if they knew what kind of a life Toby had, they wouldn’t have that attitude, he goes on more adventures than most of the dogs I know.

His happiness is paramount in my mind, he loves adventures, he loves his little job of carrying the first aid kits and he LOVES posing for photos (it always ends with a delicious treat!)

Negativity aside – we also managed to speak to a couple of lovely people who asked us all about our challenge and the charities we were doing it for, which is what this challenge is all about, we had a couple of people ask us about the labels on Toby too, his backpack is usually a great conversation starter and the labels have certainly helped spread the message! For this walk he was wearing “Lets Talk Prevention”

Helvellyn is a walk I would love to do again – it was beyond beautiful.

On a little side note – I am so proud of Toby for the part he is playing in this challenge, he helps motivate Sophie and I, is a great conversation starter during all our walks and I’m proud that he is helping us do as much as we can to dispel the stigma surrounding suicide and mental health.

Remember – being silent isn’t being strong it’s time we talked about it.

Once again thank you to all the support throughout the challenge!

When life gets in the way 😬🙄

Sorry about the lack of blog updates we have had a stressful few adventures over the last couple of weeks!

41AD3625-43AC-456C-837D-EC7A0B3E1F43.jpeg

A will give a little potted history about what we have been up to the last few week to catch you all up!

Since our last post Amos has passed his Kennel Club Good Citizen Bronze Test – which we are very very proud of him for! He has now moved up to the Silver classes which he is doing very well in.

BBBAA695-FBDB-4FA2-A6A8-9A2DE6F64D99.jpeg

We have been on an adventure to Loggerheads in Wales, where the boys got to explore the dried up river bed, which made for lots of interesting sniffs and smells. We also had a little climb which Toby thoroughly enjoyed!

84AE76BC-7E79-4FA0-8179-C80EF66F50B4.jpeg

We went for a disastrous adventure to Quarry Bank Mill – which is somewhere I would be happy to never return to!

The walk was lovely and the area was really nice, but we came across far too many rude dog walkers for me to want to return.

25A31E0E-DAD4-4CA8-993F-8651E47A5468.jpeg

Amos can be noise reactive on walks – and let’s be honest who can blame him? He normally has a woof or two and then calms down, there were so many people who stared at him, made rude comments or just had no manners and allowed their dogs to run into him – which is a pet peeve of mine anyway, even worse for a poor dog that can’t see what is approaching him .. but his lack of sight doesn’t and shouldn’t mean that he doesn’t get to explore new places and experience the new smells and sounds that come with it!

Following that disastrous adventure I was a blubbering wreck so wasn’t in the right frame of mind to write about it (the above is the short version of that story!!)

2188636F-8281-4EB7-BD04-85D62F598411.jpeg

In more positive news, we have found a little secret woodland near our house – so the boys can have a morning sniffari every morning nice and early before they begin their day – which they are both enjoying!

B72AC4A2-6CE3-45A9-B270-14C40C53C7F9.jpeg

Last weekend we went for a mini adventure to the Cloud in Congleton which is a lovely walk – we went super early to try and avoid as many people as possible as I didn’t want a repeat of previous weeks.

8B7A8726-AF2D-46C8-B1AC-F9AA655E0689.jpeg

Amos is such a good mountain goat, he has the odd bump on the walk but he handles uneven terrain really well and he really enjoys the sniffs and sounds he hears whilst he is out and about!

DCE25BA3-D9A8-4845-AAB1-F799F2AEAC3B.jpeg

We were rewarded with beautiful views and a really peaceful walk – I managed to get lots of nice pictures of both boys!

D4CFD6F9-A1FE-4AAC-9DC4-A481AFB06E02.jpeg

The boys have been taking turns coming to work with me on a Sunday for the past few months too – which is doing Amos’ socialisation great as he is experiencing lots of new noises and smells whist he is playing receptionist!

Last week was Amos’ turn and as usual he’s fit for nothing when he comes home from work so Toby and I headed out for a little bit of we’ll deserved one on one time!

9E93F543-2C07-420C-B7EC-486B08ADB686.jpeg

I will be back to regular blogging from now – Promise!

Thanks for reading! ❤️

#10mountains10months Part 7 ⛰🏔

Saturday was #10Mountains10months part 7 – we headed to the Lakes to tackle Great Gable ⛰

F2A1F81E-4B20-4366-A2AB-4A0D29777F41.jpeg

It was set to be a long old day for me and Toby as for the walks in the lakes I drive to Sophie’s to car share, Sophie’s is an hour or so drive from my house.
0255BEF9-6805-4BD7-9951-618444ACECDB.jpeg
We then had a 2 and a half hour drive with Sophie to get to the start of the walk!!
I left home at half six to set off for Sophie’s and the plan was to start the walk shortly after ten ish.
We arrived at Sophie’s slightly later as my sat nav had a mind of its own and took me all around the houses!
5D1AE8F0-1BF0-4D6C-A8E3-10F7C9AE7CD1.jpeg
That had a knock on effect on the whole day so we didn’t start the walk until 11 ish!
We had company on this walk, Abby and Harry joined us, Abby had joined Sophie on her Scarfell Walk last year in memory of Rob and had wanted to join us for one of the walks this challenge!
18D91C7B-DF69-4472-B45D-9117EE0CBA2E.jpeg
It was lovely having extra people with us – as we have found with previous walks, people seem more inclined to talk to you about it if there are more of us!
Harry was an absolute trooper! Him and Toby (the two with the smallest legs) were absolute stars and did so well with this climb!
D692D0EA-1ABB-4CA3-835B-D179A0929239.jpeg
Great Gable was a tough walk for Toby as a lot of the route is loose rocks and boulders which he finds difficult to negotiate, he as always reverted to mountain goat Toby and other than hurting his foot (which is why he is backpack-less on the photos from the descent) and being carried down one short section he wasn’t phased at all!
E70DBD11-29C1-49CF-918C-CBB60AD75D73.jpeg
This walk we didn’t actually plan a route as such, we did some research about the route and looked online for some alternative routes and information but we wanted to start from Wasdale and the routes we found didn’t really allow that.
42AF7C01-F515-4CC3-9DD8-0CBB82665924.jpeg
We spoke to a very nice farmer when we arrived and he told and showed us one of the routes up, which was the path we chose to follow.
The weather was against us for this walk – it made a change from all the warm weather we have been having.
D804140C-D6EA-40E4-ABB8-93D2DDE5212A.jpeg
When we arrived it was quite chilly and most of the climb we were walking inside a cloud! I had checked the weather forecast and knew it was set to be foggy, so wasn’t expecting the views to be seen by us!
A427EE75-F903-478F-B208-86C6A52C5832.jpeg
It made it quite difficult to negotiate the descent as the path isn’t very clear towards the top as you are just walking amongst boulders and cairns – there are several cairns so even if we wandered away from the path we did manage to find our way down without getting too lost!!
AD9EE4EB-ADDC-49CF-97FA-D9F10C580E26.jpeg
The fog and cloud lifted on the descent so we were rewarded with some beautiful views towards the end of the day!
7C7A896D-EC14-4F9C-A347-6D5FA3BCE815.jpeg
We got to talk to a few people about why we are doing what we are doing and chat to them about our challenge so far, a few were interested in the walks we had done and what we had left on our list of climbs!
4402A4B4-0819-45BD-849B-E70F4D0C8718.jpeg
This was an emotional walk for me as we did this walk the day after what would have been my brother’s birthday, this time last year Toby and I walked the Yorkshire Three Peaks with my mum and dad in memory of Phil, so I had been thinking about him more than usual over the past week.
8B2A520B-E33B-4EDD-B24F-D81AD3C61BEA.jpeg
We are already planning next years challenge – we’re still in the ideas stage at the moment but we’ll be sure to think of something exciting to keep us busy next year!
Once again thank you for all the support throughout our challenge and for the help raising awareness for these two amazing charities 😍
62E27059-030B-475E-AD6B-965436ABF89C.jpeg
Being silent isn’t being strong – it’s time we talked about it.
Be someone’s shoulder to cry on – make yourself available to friends and family and ask them how they’re feeling.
❤️