When I heard about the Muddy Dog Challenge organised by Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, I had to take part
It’s more ‘Woof Mudder’ than Tough Mudder – a fun obstacle course for dogs and humans.
I went to the first of four races this summer at Woollaton Hall in Nottingham.
An impressive 700 people and their dogs took part, each pledging £100 for the charity and so far the total raised is £92,000.
Events manager Emma Lovesey said: “The event is about owners and their dogs having fun and getting muddy.
“We’re so grateful to the many runners taking part and raising a tremendous amount of money to help rescue dogs and cats.”
So what happens at Muddy Dog Challenge?
You choose from a 2.5 or 5km course with between six and 12 obstacles. As Daisy is 12, we went for the shorter route.
Each dog and their human is put in a group of 20, with a 10 minute gap between each wave setting off so there’s enough space.
The event is supported by LV=, the pet insurance provider, and vets and paramedics are on hand in case anyone gets injured.
First obstacle was the Doggy Ball Pit – a pool filled with plastic balls and water. Daisy had a quick dip and decided it wasn’t for her.
Rules state the humans must tackle each obstacle so I had to wade through the freezing water!
Daisy had a spring in her step as we reached the Balance Beams.
I think the cold had startled her though as she didn’t want to go on the beams, so the volunteers held her while I wobbled across mine!
Next, we trotted past Woollaton Hall, a stunning Elizabethan Mansion built in the 1580s.
It was a spectacular home to generations of the wealthy Willoughby family from the early 1700s until 1881, when they declared it was ‘too near the smoke’ of town.
It’s served as a Natural History Museum since 1924 and was the backdrop for the 2011 Batman movie, The Dark Knight Rises.
Next was the A Frame. I plonked Daisy on top so she could run down it, tempting her with cocktail sausages!
The really muddy obstacles are at the end
At the Canine Crawl, a cargo net over a watery swamp, Daisy teetered around the side while I got knee deep in sludge.
Then came the Muddy Tunnels – a crawl through six inches of thick mud.
Daisy tiptoed over the top, barely messing up her dainty paws!
At Trampolines we hopped on, jumped around then hurtled through Gone Fishing, another muddy swamp, to the finish line.
I got a medal and Daisy a rosette and were both pretty filthy, so went for a hose down at the Dog Washing Station.
Daisy was shivering, so we dried her and wrapped her in a towel while I went to clean myself up.
Afterwards we had a look round the stalls and chatted to other dog owners, which was lovely
We treated Daisy to For All Dogkind shampoo to de-stink her and some treats.
We also met Claire Kirton of the Canine Massage Guild who was giving free muscular health checks to the dogs.
She checked Daisy over and said she was in very good health and congratulated her for getting round.
Claire found a twitch in her back – probably down to her age – and recommended clinical massage sessions to help.
Then it was time to head home after a brilliant, fun filled morning.
My journey was spent scrubbing myself with baby wipes and preparing my Muddy Dog feature for the LV= At Heart website to let the other Woof Mudders know what they’re in for!
Meanwhile, Princess Daisy sat wrapped snugly in her blanket, eating her organic chicken and rawhide twisters and contemplating her upcoming massage sessions.
They say it’s a dog’s life and it certainly is!
Thinking of taking on the Muddy Dog Challenge – here’s what you’ll need
- Poo bags – it’s only fair to make sure the course is as clean as can be!
- Treats – use titbits to encourage them over the obstacles and reward at the end.
- Water – there’s plenty provided but it’s good to have a fresh bowl for your dog and a bottle for you!
- An old collar and lead – your pooch will be caked in muck, so don’t put on their best diamante number.
- Old sportswear and trainers – don’t wear jewellery or fitness trackers as they may get lost in the mud!
- Food – give your dog a light breakfast 4 hours before taking part so they have time to digest it.
- Safety pins – use these to fix your number to your top.
- Baby wipes – there’s no showers so these are best for cleaning up.
- Change of clothes – you will be covered in mud, and take a clean lead and collar too.
- Bum bag – ideal for carrying your phone, camera, treats and keys.