Win £100 Leisure Vouchers with Direct Line

We take imperfect walks.  Late, twins-should-be-in-bed walks.  Did-you-bring-the-bottles/No-I-thought-you-did walks.  Walks before and after work.  When the twins were very small we took walks because they were only quiet when Kirsty was wearing them, so she would take the babies and I would hobble around the local park, from one bench to the next.

All of our pockets are stuffed with poo bags.  We might forget nappies but we’ve never forgotten to bring a bag.  My handbag for work has dozens of them, plus treats and a spare lead in case I ever encounter a stray.  You might say that I’m a dog person.  The twins sort of know ‘sit’ and ‘stay’ and they definitely know ‘come’, although none of their commands are as well engrained as Josephine’s.

She’s the perfect dog.  It’s not that she reads my mind, I know that – it’s that we tend to have the same bright ideas at the same time.  Or else, her plan turns out to be a better one than mine anyway.

During the working week, her walks are dictated by my plans.  We all walk to the train station, then they walk home without me.  At the end of the day, they meet me.  This walk takes her through the local park and she has a chance to say hi to her friends, to Tim the Lurcher and the Border Terrorists and all of the other dogs whose names I know (but not their owners).  We all call each other by the name of our dogs, Muttley’s Mum and Tim’s Dad and I suppose that Kirsty and I are both Josephine’s Mum.  I don’t know how they differentiate between us, if they need to.

But on the weekends, Josephine gets to choose.  She knows her favourite paths and where she wants to go: to the park, to the pond, to the common or the nature reserve.  Past Costa for a cappuccino for mums – she loves the foam and we shouldn’t, but sometimes we let her lick a little from our finger – and then she chooses left or right and the walk is decided.  Once off of the road, off comes the lead.  Josephine has a perfect recall and walks beautifully to heel when asked so I always feel safe allowing her to roam freely.  She loves to venture out a little bit ahead, to sniff for rabbits, to skirt around the mud and to find the best patches of sunlight in which to stretch out and wait for us to trudge up the hill.

Recently she’s started to play.  She had a traumatic past before she was mine and I thought that she would never learn to play but it’s coming to her gradually.  She makes the most fearsome noises and then stops and looks terribly sheepish.  It’s sweet but also a bit sad.

It can be hard to motivate yourself out after a long day of wrangling children – or worse, colleagues!  Sometimes we take walks that we cut short even though we know that we shouldn’t.  Sometimes I fall asleep thinking guiltily about how much happier Josephine probably was when her day was our priority.  It can be hard to be a dog mum and a human baby mum when there are only so many hours.  If you feel the same way, you might be interested in Direct Line’s Walkies app, which tracks your walk so that you don’t have to.  It records the distance that you’ve travelled as well as estimating approximately how many calories your pet has burned.  Josephine doesn’t need to lose weight but as an older dog it’s important to me that we maintain her fitness and respond quickly to any lack of energy because it could be indicative of something more serious.

I can see this being a really useful app for the busy dog-guardian.  There’s so much to think about in the day and it certainly comes in handy when an app can automate some of the thinking for you.  Direct Line run the Fit Fred dog blog that illustrates this with case studies and further information.

Direct Line have offered me £100 in Leisure vouchers to give away to one lucky reader.  If you’d like a chance to win, tell me about your favourite dog walk in the comments below (if you don’t have a dog, feel free to pretend that you do!) and for extra entries, complete the Rafflecopter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

* The prize is non-transferable and no cash alternative is offered.
* Open to UK residents aged 18 and over, excluding employees and relatives of Amber of the Goblin Child and Direct Line Group.
* Closing date for entries is 21st September.
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* The winner will be informed within 14 days of the closing date and will need to respond with a postal address within 28 days or a new winner will be chosen.
* The winner’s name will be available on request.
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* This is a joint promotion between Amber of The Goblin Child and Direct Line Group.
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137 Comments

  1. Tracey Peach
    August 24, 2015 / 10:46 am

    I used to love walking my childhood dog around the village I lived in, there was lots of fields to explore

  2. Mary Heald
    August 24, 2015 / 10:54 am

    We love walking on the High Peak Trail in Derbyshire.

  3. Paula Readings
    August 24, 2015 / 11:31 am

    The football ground locally.

  4. Rebecca Austin
    August 24, 2015 / 12:13 pm

    I love walking my pug dog Prince in parks. Sometimes I hide from him behind a tree and watch what he does when he is trying to look for me

  5. julie booth
    August 24, 2015 / 12:19 pm

    my favourite dog walk is around Broadwater lake in Godalming. It is beautiful, and plenty of fields to to run around on.

  6. Charlene Keddy
    August 24, 2015 / 12:22 pm

    Fleet Pond is great for dog walking. Lots of different trail options with enough space to let them off leash. Oh, and at the end there is a big pond with lots of water to splash about in. They love it 🙂

  7. Susan Lloyd
    August 24, 2015 / 12:43 pm

    Brighton beach x

  8. kellyjo walters
    August 24, 2015 / 12:45 pm

    we go to a huge park in Southgate, it’s something like 600 odd acres with a huge lake a forestry.. lovely friendly people and dogs

  9. Denfor Hopkins
    August 24, 2015 / 1:37 pm

    Down Parc Penbre, nr. Llanelli.

  10. Kat Glynn
    August 24, 2015 / 2:01 pm

    We like to walk round our local water park, my dog never gets all the way round without diving in for a swim 🙂

  11. Jayne T
    August 24, 2015 / 2:45 pm

    Mine is by my local river, it’s so quiet and peaceful and the dog loves it.

  12. kim neville
    August 24, 2015 / 4:07 pm

    Walking through Cassiobury park with lovely surroundings

  13. Claire
    August 24, 2015 / 4:40 pm

    being mums just suits you both so well!

    Also josephine is such a happy andobvioisly well loved dog.

  14. iain maciver
    August 24, 2015 / 5:58 pm

    round our local castle grounds its simply stunning

  15. Steven Appleton
    August 24, 2015 / 6:04 pm

    I love walking on Formby Beach near Southport with my imaginary dog 🙂

  16. August 24, 2015 / 7:11 pm

    We often take our in laws Staffie to Virginia Water, it links into Saville Garden and you can walk all the way to Windsor Castle if you wanted! x

  17. Hazel Rea
    August 24, 2015 / 7:13 pm

    Best dog walk – along the beach in Frinton. There are so many happy dogs and their owners there. Everyone is incredibly friendly.

  18. pete c
    August 24, 2015 / 7:15 pm

    it`s one of the several walks through Dalby Forest in North Yorks; safe, quiet and picturesque

  19. Alison
    August 24, 2015 / 7:45 pm

    Along the promenade in Llandudno

  20. Michaela Hannah
    August 24, 2015 / 7:57 pm

    We like to walk up to Roseberry topping, a place quite near us. Its a steep walk but the views from the top are amazing

  21. August 24, 2015 / 8:18 pm

    Our walk would take us along the beaches of the Baltic Sea, with sandy dunes and rocky pebbles as well as clear blue water and lots of drift wood for playing fetch.

  22. ashleigh allan
    August 24, 2015 / 9:00 pm

    In the lake district region!

  23. Kev C
    August 24, 2015 / 9:31 pm

    my dog enjoys taking ME for a walk along the tow path on the local canal 🙂

  24. Samantha Loughlin
    August 24, 2015 / 9:43 pm

    Along the beach at Compton bay Isle of white we go a few time per year xxx

  25. August 25, 2015 / 1:31 am

    Through my local nature reserves, next to the big lake and the canal towpaths, you see the swans and the ducks and there’s lots of places to explore!

  26. lucy camilla
    August 25, 2015 / 5:36 am

    There is a clifftop walk near me that goes along the white cliffs – on a good day you can see out to france! Beautiful!

  27. clair downham
    August 25, 2015 / 7:20 am

    northumbria is beautiful for walking

  28. Nichole Frerichs
    August 25, 2015 / 8:24 am

    Our local park when all the daffodils are in boom!

  29. Kirsty Sparks
    August 25, 2015 / 9:57 am

    In the park 🙂

  30. Martina Pichova
    August 25, 2015 / 10:14 am

    On the Malvern Hills.

  31. gemma brown
    August 25, 2015 / 11:43 am

    talbot heath is a lovely walk

  32. Jade Hewlett
    August 25, 2015 / 11:57 am

    A walk through the park on a sunny day

  33. charlotte
    August 25, 2015 / 2:26 pm

    i love walks on the beach especially playing fetch near the sea 🙂

  34. Laura Pritchard
    August 25, 2015 / 3:52 pm

    If I had a dog it would be our local nature reserve, Stratfield Brake.

  35. August 25, 2015 / 7:11 pm

    There’s a really nice walk along our local river x

  36. Kellie Faggle McIntyre
    August 25, 2015 / 7:20 pm

    My fave dog walk as a child was on my Alsatian Princes back! Treasured memories

  37. Sinead ORourke
    August 25, 2015 / 7:20 pm

    I love walking in Lincolnshire Wolds. its stunning

  38. Tracy Newton
    August 25, 2015 / 8:27 pm

    We used to love taking our dog around Hardwick Wildlife Park. The little ones can ride bikes or scooters, feed the ducks and play in play park. Then at the end of the day everyone can have icecream.

  39. Isabell Whitenstall
    August 25, 2015 / 8:36 pm

    There is the rising sun country park near us with a large lake. It used to be a pit heap when the colliery was working but is now a great place for dog walking.

  40. Tracy
    August 25, 2015 / 9:05 pm

    Our local woods… there is so much space for a runaround and thousandas of sticks to find! (Really beautiful in the summer and it gets suitably muddy in the colder months too!)

  41. Dawn Andrews
    August 25, 2015 / 10:58 pm

    I used to love walks with my dog through the local forest and country park.

  42. Nat thomason
    August 26, 2015 / 3:51 am

    Round the cricket field

  43. Kay Panayi
    August 26, 2015 / 10:08 am

    We live by the river tavy it’s a beautiful walk with my collie

  44. Alix Smith
    August 26, 2015 / 3:22 pm

    I don’t have a dog (will do one day when I have a bigger garden!) but if I did I would take it for long walks down the Alban Way which is just down the road from where I live.

  45. August 26, 2015 / 10:25 pm

    Don’t have a dog, but if I did, then Whitewebbs forest would be my fav 🙂

  46. August 26, 2015 / 11:15 pm

    My favourite dog walk is the one we do on the way into town – all off road and off lead. Like you I feel quite guilty that she doesn’t get the attention she deserves, especially while my little one is still so young. She seems happy enough though!

  47. emily omara
    August 27, 2015 / 2:44 pm

    I always walk my doh yogi the newfoundland round the block, he is such a gd boy <3

  48. Michael Rattray
    August 27, 2015 / 10:38 pm

    We enjoy walking through a forest

  49. Darrell
    August 28, 2015 / 6:19 am

    We do have a dog and it is normally left to me to walk him, which I really enjoy to do. We normally walk through the forest for hours, which we both enjoy

  50. Ruth Harwood
    August 28, 2015 / 8:41 am

    Morecambe Beach x

  51. Tracy Gladman
    August 28, 2015 / 5:22 pm

    Through my local country park, lots of space to run around.

  52. Nikki Hayes
    August 29, 2015 / 5:38 pm

    I don’t actually have a dog but if I did then Brandon Hill Nature Park is about ten minutes walk from where we live, plus there are lovely walks on both sides of the harbour (I live in Bristol).

  53. Liz Briggs
    August 29, 2015 / 7:54 pm

    If I had a dog it would be along the beach or in Epping Forest near where I live x

  54. angela - Garden Tea Cakes and Me
    August 30, 2015 / 8:34 am

    My local national trust parkland at Attingham

  55. aaron broad
    August 31, 2015 / 3:21 pm

    I like walking the dog around Tehidy Country Park in Cornwall

  56. jo shrew
    August 31, 2015 / 6:14 pm

    i’ve got cats so not much walking, but my rescue cat stan once followed me and my son to the local wood. he was obviously well out of his territory and was shaking like a leaf. when we got to the wood, he did a huge nervous poo. then he followed us all the way home too! very strange…..

  57. Stevey H
    September 1, 2015 / 1:00 am

    A walk along the river in London is great; plenty to see!

  58. gemma clark
    September 1, 2015 / 11:12 pm

    Black park is a great place to go dog walking x

  59. Tammy Stevenson
    September 3, 2015 / 11:12 pm

    Our best dog walk was around our local park it was rather strange. My little boy decided we had to walk (more like stalk) a huge black dog around for about half a mile instead of playing in the park. It wasn’t our dog nor did we know the owner but I didn’t have a choice he kept running off to follow the dog. It’s owner was very friendly though and let him hold the lead for a minute when the dog stopped!

  60. Yvonne Brownsea
    September 4, 2015 / 5:07 am

    Along Otterspool promenade

  61. Wendy Collard
    September 4, 2015 / 3:21 pm

    Along the canal in Oxforshire is beautiful

  62. Leanne Lunn
    September 5, 2015 / 9:57 am

    Through our local common and woods so peaceful and lots of space for pooch to run around.

  63. Samantha Scivier
    September 5, 2015 / 12:39 pm

    In the local park with my children. whole family together

  64. Kellie Collister
    September 5, 2015 / 4:29 pm

    I love walking them around the Marine Lake in West Kirby and watching the boats and windsurfers

  65. Louise Fairweather
    September 5, 2015 / 9:26 pm

    We love taking my Aunts dog around Virginia Waters

  66. Jess Howliston
    September 5, 2015 / 9:59 pm

    Crisp morning air whilst the frost is still fresh and untouched on the grass, where the birds are still chirping and the sun rising over the lake. A lovely morning walk with my pooch to start the day! x

  67. Gill Mitchell
    September 6, 2015 / 8:48 am

    Around the stunning Hollingworth Lake

  68. Christopher Read
    September 6, 2015 / 12:52 pm

    A walk in the woods on an Autumn morning

  69. Kelly Ellen Hirst
    September 6, 2015 / 5:29 pm

    A park local to me ‘High Elms’ that is full of interesting places to walk

  70. claire woods
    September 6, 2015 / 6:51 pm

    The Lake District is a great place to walk a dog. Just come back from there & saw lots of lovely doggies.

  71. Gwyn Sharps
    September 6, 2015 / 7:53 pm

    My favourite walk with my dog is along our canal when the baby ducks have been born.

  72. Laura Nice
    September 6, 2015 / 11:11 pm

    Love walking my dog george at the epsom downs racecourse, he also love it! 🙂

  73. marsha richardson
    September 7, 2015 / 9:03 am

    I take Wizzer around the shores of a local beauty spot called Charnwood Water. Its our piece of Inner City heaven!!

  74. Michelle Banks
    September 7, 2015 / 1:02 pm

    we are quite lucky to live next to some fantastic woods and fields x its a lovely walk x

  75. mel crumpton
    September 7, 2015 / 7:35 pm

    My local woods, I have loads around me so I can do a different one every day.

  76. kimberley ryan
    September 7, 2015 / 8:13 pm

    love walking down the canal. watching the barges sail by, jumping in the water after sticks if its a hot day.

  77. Mary Chez
    September 7, 2015 / 10:14 pm

    Around our local lido

  78. Rosemary Rowe
    September 8, 2015 / 12:26 pm

    I love taking them to the park and meeting up with other dog walkers I’ve known for years. Our dogs are well-socialised and love to run round together!

  79. janine atkin
    September 9, 2015 / 8:29 am

    we love weelsby woods, there something for everyone there, including the dogs!

  80. Becca Staples
    September 9, 2015 / 3:02 pm

    We love walking around our local country park x

  81. Rebecca U
    September 10, 2015 / 11:01 am

    We love walking in our local area and national trust areas

  82. Leanne V Mckenna
    September 11, 2015 / 8:25 pm

    There is a lake near to where I live and it’s fab in the spring summer with all the wildlife, baby swans and lovely flowers growing. People everywhere enjoying picnics, water skiing, pedalos.

  83. Christine Caple
    September 14, 2015 / 1:31 pm

    The Cornish Coastal Path.

  84. Emma Chester
    September 14, 2015 / 7:13 pm

    My local country walk ‘The Lizard’

  85. Di Coke
    September 14, 2015 / 10:13 pm

    I love the Undercliff Walk in Brighton!

  86. Tina deacon
    September 14, 2015 / 10:22 pm

    We love walking our dog down at our local beaches

  87. Audsley Ben
    September 15, 2015 / 9:32 am

    through victoria park in london !!!

  88. Claire Davies
    September 15, 2015 / 1:37 pm

    One of my favourite walking routes is the Pembrokeshire Coast Path, particularly the walk from Saundersfoot to Tenby 🙂

  89. Lizzy Cooper
    September 15, 2015 / 2:45 pm

    on the beach 🙂

  90. Rebecca Smith
    September 15, 2015 / 7:13 pm

    Around the local woods

  91. Helen Cooper
    September 16, 2015 / 7:05 pm

    I love walking my friends dogs around the fields behind her house, the dogs love it more of course!

  92. Katie Kingsbury
    September 17, 2015 / 12:03 pm

    I don’t have a dog at the moment but I always used to love taking my old furry best mate (Mad) Max on the beach.

  93. Greig spencer
    September 17, 2015 / 5:28 pm

    BRADGATE PARK IN LEICESTERSHIRE IS AMAZING FOR DOGS AND FAMILIES

  94. Anthea Holloway
    September 17, 2015 / 6:07 pm

    We take our granddogs across a lovely meadow and then on to Hatchards Copse in West Moors and then down to the river where they have a swim. It is lovely.

  95. mama syder
    September 17, 2015 / 8:03 pm

    Our favorite dog walk is along the river that runs along the bottom of my road.

  96. Eleanor Powell
    September 17, 2015 / 9:11 pm

    Priddy Woods

  97. Nicola Lynch
    September 18, 2015 / 10:27 am

    Around the lanes where I grew up in Anglesey. Such lovely walks and lots of fresh clean air.

  98. Moany Mike
    September 18, 2015 / 12:50 pm

    A walk by the Barcelona marina, the warm sea breeze, waves lapping against the small boats, fishermen with poles trying to catch the small fry for their cats and the dog trotting faithfully and happily by my side. Maybe tomorrow.

  99. Pauline Dring
    September 18, 2015 / 4:16 pm

    The Forest of Dean is great for walking dogs

  100. Kimberley H
    September 18, 2015 / 8:22 pm

    There’s a stream at the bottom of a glen local to me that’s great for dogs and non-dogs!

  101. Sheri Darby
    September 18, 2015 / 10:06 pm

    Hampstead Heath

  102. Helen Gilbert
    September 18, 2015 / 10:19 pm

    National Trust Castle Trail has stunning walks…. pure escapism

  103. sarah-dawn pope
    September 18, 2015 / 11:36 pm

    I like to walk along the river in Hay-on-Wye

  104. sue seaman
    September 19, 2015 / 2:07 am

    we love walking our dogs along the county durham coastal footpath 5 mins from home but once there feels a world a way from the norm

  105. kim plant
    September 19, 2015 / 12:00 pm

    ive just got a puppy pug 4 weeks ago so walking atm is abitof a mission as he sniffs everythink :/

  106. Claire Barker
    September 19, 2015 / 3:49 pm

    The Millenium Coastal Path near Llanelli is a fabulous place to walk dogs, so many sniffs, beautiful scenery and coastal breezes. 🙂

  107. Victoria Prince
    September 19, 2015 / 4:39 pm

    I am lucky enough to live 5-10 minutes walk from a racecourse with a public footpath running through it – it’s far and away our favourite walk! Wonderful level year round access for me (as a wheelchair user) and the most fabulous large, flat open space that the dogs can run in 🙂 and the visibility is very good so I don’t have the safety worries

  108. Ellen Stafford
    September 19, 2015 / 8:05 pm

    I love walking in Hurcott Woods near where I live. My dog Shortie loves his walks.

  109. mrs sharron page
    September 19, 2015 / 9:24 pm

    Walking through the woods in Great Ashby Way, Stevenage – it’s so beautiful there – you forget that you live in a large town

  110. Lyndsey Beckford
    September 19, 2015 / 9:29 pm

    I don’t have a dog but if I did I would walk round Ogden water

  111. Jayne K
    September 19, 2015 / 9:34 pm

    There’s a lovely nature reserve and lake 2 minutes walk from my house

  112. Petra Hora
    September 19, 2015 / 10:12 pm

    I love to walk my dog at Morden Hall Park.

  113. david cavender
    September 19, 2015 / 11:49 pm

    a walk on the local beach twice a day

  114. Nancy Bradford
    September 20, 2015 / 12:17 am

    I have a lovely but very naughty dog so my favourite walk involves a field that is fenced in so I can let him off his lead (because anywhere else he runs away).

  115. Theresa Thomas
    September 20, 2015 / 12:38 am

    I love to go walking in Castleton in the Peak DIstrict

  116. cat culmer
    September 20, 2015 / 12:44 am

    I love walking along the edge of Coniston in the Lakes with my old man, Archie

  117. Sheila Reeves
    September 20, 2015 / 8:44 am

    Pepper & I love walking across the fields near our house – lots to sniff there!

  118. Pat Stubbs
    September 20, 2015 / 9:20 am

    Over Nine Barrow Fown from Swanage to Corfe

  119. Vera Bahounkova
    September 20, 2015 / 9:47 am

    I like to walk my dog at Richmond Park.

  120. LEE HARDY
    September 20, 2015 / 10:18 am

    As a child used to look forward to walking our dog through the hospital woods opposite where I lived.

  121. kayleigh white
    September 20, 2015 / 10:49 am

    I live in the beautiful Pembrokeshire countryside, and all I can see is miles and miles of unspoilt land. I take my three dogs; Fergie (Westie who is 3), Bailey (Bischon x Westie who is 2) and Doodles (Bischon x Schnauzer who is 1) on a walk in the woods every day!

  122. Richard Wood
    September 20, 2015 / 11:59 am

    If I had a dog I’d walk it along a coastal path in Cornwall

  123. Gillian Holmes
    September 20, 2015 / 12:54 pm

    Along the side of the river at Dovedale

  124. sue mc
    September 20, 2015 / 4:17 pm

    Firestone Copse, Wootton

  125. Erica Price
    September 20, 2015 / 7:42 pm

    Our local woods

  126. claire fawkner
    September 20, 2015 / 8:08 pm

    The fields at the back of our house

  127. janice skelton
    September 20, 2015 / 8:51 pm

    Down by the river on a lovely summers day.

  128. Nicola McC
    September 20, 2015 / 10:12 pm

    I like taking my dog to the woods where we’re all alone and can just enjoy the serenity.

  129. Rachel Wise
    September 20, 2015 / 10:29 pm

    Walking round a reservoir we have close by and across farming fields

  130. Wes M
    September 20, 2015 / 10:33 pm

    I love walking our dog through our village meadow

  131. Laura Kevlin
    September 20, 2015 / 10:37 pm

    Sankey Valley Park – larger dogs get the chance to have a good run and stretch their legs there 🙂

  132. Janet Rumley
    September 20, 2015 / 10:38 pm

    We love to walk through Formby Pinewoods and along the beach xxx

  133. Maria P
    September 20, 2015 / 10:50 pm

    early morning along the nearby river

  134. Monika S
    September 20, 2015 / 11:18 pm

    Used to walk with my dog in the forest – visiting a war bunker most days

  135. Barri Dhillon
    September 20, 2015 / 11:27 pm

    My fav dog walk is when me and Lucy go out and we hike together, its like having someone who is there to support you, Lucy runs ahead and makes the pathway clear, and for us to see the scenic views after are beautiful

  136. Boo Oatham
    September 20, 2015 / 11:36 pm

    I used to love walking my old boy through an “Estate” that I called Lottery Lane. The houses were worth millions and I used to talk to him about which house we would have in the future!! As you can guess it didn’t happen and my old boy is no longer with me.

  137. Sammi McSporran
    September 21, 2015 / 12:02 am

    Ilove walking through the park and down to the lake. So peaceful and beautiful 🙂

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