"From January 1st to the 31st, Dolly and I will be running 50 miles to raise money for Hope Rescue.
Hope Rescue are a wonderful charity who take in dogs when their owners can't keep them anymore, dogs who are injured and countless strays. They've saved the lives of hundreds of dogs and they must continue to do so! I have followed Hope's supporters stories and admire how much they do to help. Hope Rescue's charity shop was flooded last year and when it re opened it was quickly closed again, due to Covid19 restrictions. They also haven't been able to run any big fundraising events, so we all need to give a helping hand! 

If you can't donate, why not try joining in? Even walking the 50 miles is helping! If you're a dog owner you probably walk around that mark anyway! Plus it's great exercise and if you're looking to start moving the New Year is the perfect time!!"

This is Alexandra's and Dolly's Story:

"So Dolly is my Dalmatian and she is 2 in March. I used to be quite active when I was younger with horses and all the dogs. Unfortunately, my pony I'd had for 17 years died in May 2019 and it destroyed me. After two weeks of not really having anything to keep me busy, I went out and got Dolly! I've always wanted a Dalmatian, having done years of research on the breed - even then she was a challenge!!

I started working at the vets as a student vet nurse in October 2019 and immediately learnt a lot about canine health. I was furloughed in March and to keep myself occupied, I started gently training Dolly to run with me and rebuild my own fitness. As she was only 12 months old, I was very careful not to over-exercise her and gently build her stamina up. This involved a lot of off-lead running so she could go at her own pace.

My partner bought me a full Canicross running kit, complete with belt and harness and I started training her to pull me, which she does very well! Over the next few months, I built her up slowly and we were running 5km every other day. Not only is it great exercise for me and her, but it put her mind to work; Dalmatians were born to run! They are a utility breed, bred to run alongside carriages and hunt deer in Croatia, so they can run A Lot. I found that by 'working' her she was mentally tired. She started to behave better and became more responsive to training.

Dalmations are such a difficult breed and I worry with the new Cruella film more people will buy them. They're stubborn, ignorant, demanding and very hyper. But if you treat them right, they are one of the most rewarding breeds I've ever known.

It's hard working full time in a busy practice and keeping her exercised, but it's worth it for the fitness and to see her content and happy. We run every other day and on the days we don't run, my partner and I take her on long 4/5 mile walks to keep her active.

If you would like to donate to Alexandra and Dolly's challenge, please click here