This week we met up with Karen and her beautiful companion Bella, a 9 month old Cockapoo. After a sunny afternoon of tea, laughter, and a whole lot of puppy licks and belly rubs, she agreed to write down her weekend adventures to share with Hygge & Hound. Here is Karen, she won’t tell you herself but she used to run for Great Britain in the 24hr ultra running team, she even ran 250 miles in one go with no sleep, she won the race then went straight into London to watch her daughter perform on stage.  Her life has changed a lot since then, and without knowing what Hygge is, it sounds to me as though she is experiencing her own piece of it…

I was a runner, for one reason or another it didn’t fit in with my life, so for quite a while and I made the decision to stop. When I say stop I really stopped, I didn’t even run up the road. I fell out of love with running and everything it involved. That is, until we welcomed into our home and family little Bella. 

Bella is a black and white Cockapoo, everyone has the best dog and we are no different. She makes us laugh even when you don’t want to, her antics are endearing yet mischievous, and we wouldn’t change that at all. She has a sparkle in her eyes you cannot help but fall instantly in love with, and she has made us a more complete family. 

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Family

Bella and Jordan, makes my heart smile.

When we hit the magical 12 weeks milestone and Bella was allowed out into the big wide world, it was an exciting time. Going out for walks with Bella was the only exercise I was doing, but she made it something I looked forward to. All she wanted to do was run around, and the joy I saw in her was captivating.
She wasn’t being anything other than a puppy, a very happy puppy, no worries, no thoughts of what else she should be doing, no competing, no letting anyone down, she was just happy to be outside and ran to express that.
As she got older every now and again I started to run along with her, she would jump up and want to play, then stop to sniff and run to catch up. It was very special, and strengthened the bond we had.

A few months back now, I decided to purposely put on my running gear and run with her, I felt at last excited to run. Bella made our walk/run times an absolute joy, which was so different from running I was doing before before, there was no pressure, no expectations, no need to complete this many miles within this time, no training diaries it was just us running as we wanted, stopping when we wanted, choosing whichever route took our fancy. It’s not that competition is bad, it can be a driver which keeps you motivated, and I support that, but for me I am in a different place than I was, my mindset has changed, this suits ‘me’ and my family better.
Bella is brilliant, she runs with me, then runs ahead to find a stick, or nose out something interesting (or her favourite past time; hoovering up the handy picnic piles of rabbit droppings) I'll stop and call her and she’ll come belting round the corner like the tornado of tongue and fluff that she is. We love our time together discovering places to run, and meeting lots of new furry friends on our route. We love the different weather, and especially coming home to well deserved treats and hot chocolate. 

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Into The Woods

Got a stick, got my friends, I’m happy as a pup in mud.

Bella is beautiful and very much part of our family.

I entered a race a few weeks back, but it wasn’t a race, to me it was a chance to be in the countryside and on the trails that I love, it was my first ultra of this distance when I started many moons ago now, so it felt the right one to do now in a different state of mind. I had the support of my partner, Bella, and his 2 dogs (Max and Lucy both Cocker Spaniels) they drove along the route stopping to give me food and drink where the trail crossed a road (or even when it didn’t, cut to them getting stuck in the mud!) but more importantly they gave me unconditional love, wagging tails, and a whole load of happiness!
I saw them roughly every hour, I got licks on the faces, cuddles, and even a surprise FaceTime call from my daughter who was dancing in London. I stopped and stroked every dog I saw on the public footpaths, chatted with their owners, and took my time, this was not a race, this was me doing what I love, and being surrounded by the positive energy and joy that is our family.

I finished (almost 90 miles and a day later) which I wasn’t even sure I would, but I firmly believe happiness got me round. 

I enjoyed this event more than any others, our car has now officially become the dog mobile, its surprising how much room is in a Qashqai with all the seats down and made into one giant dog bed. Our beloved companions made the perfect recovery aids too. Smiling I swear relaxes the whole body, and they never fail to make us smile, they made getting over any soreness a breeze.

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Love Them

They were amazing, enjoyed every step, and there was quite a few!

"But how is this all very Hygge?” I asked, “it’s not what you would instantly associate with cosiness”
For me this is a piece of my Hygge, it’s about finding contentment, and a shared enjoyment in the simplest of things, our runs are such a fun way to start the day, connect with the outdoors, and enjoy the awareness of being in the moment, plus in the winter months with a frost on the ground, we get to run back to the warmth of home, and wrap up knowing we just had the greatest of mornings.  

I have learnt so much from Bella, her happiness is wonderfully contagious, and if it isn’t, her tail will wag so much anyway you’d be forced to smile!

Racing has become ‘being', I finally understand why I do it, and Bella has just made it a millions times better.  It may not be your typical Hygge but the warmth and happiness I felt from my pups at the end of the ‘race’ filled me joy, it may not be traditional Hygge, but I loved it. 

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Hygge & Hound

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