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Scruffs GIVEAWAY!

Here at Tailster we’re always on the lookout for products we love and can share with our users. This week we’ve teamed up with Scruffs, who are firmly established as a leading brand of luxury pet bedding and accessories.

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On offer is a Scruffs® Noodle Dry Mat. It’s extremely absorbent, easily soaking up excess moisture, enabling your dogs’ coat to dry quickly after a wet and muddy walk.

Micro-fibre chenille is used to produce the dry mats’ ‘noodles’. The micro-fibre material is made from millions of textured, ultrafine strands woven together to achieve a surface area that is much greater than the actual size of the dry mat. This vast surface area gives the dry mat its’ super-absorbent properties, soaking up water just like a sponge, as well as improving airflow, this means drying time is greatly reduced.

The same 25mm long chenille noodles also provide a comfortable surface for you dog to rest and has a non-skid surface applied to the underside of the mat making it ideal for use in cars, dog crates or around the home.

Sound good? To enter, simply click below and answer one super simple question – don’t forget to share your special links to receive 5 more chances to win!

CLICK HERE TO ENTER

 

And if you need any pet care in the meantime, you can fill out the request below and we’ll do the rest for you!

 

6 dogs who are really enjoying Halloween

It’s Halloween weekend – and what better way to get into the party spirit than looking at some cute dogs, who are clearly loving Halloween? These 6 Halloween pups are the favourites here at Tailster HQ.

  1. This guy is clearly pleased to be dressed up as everyone’s favourite emoji (spot the moody dog in the background… some costume envy going on).
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Source: Imgur

2. Just getting cosy in this pumpkin… don’t mind me.

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Source: Pinterest

3. Far too cute to be a threatening vampire, but still trying…

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Source: Pinterest

4. Ready for my Halloween dog treats!

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Source: Pinterest

5. Looking quite pleased with being Harry Potter.

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Source: Costume works

6. An adorable gnome.

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Source: Buzzfeed

Dressing up with your dog this year? Share your Halloween pup pictures with us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook!

Main image source: Instagram

 

If you need last minute pet care for Halloween – or in the coming months – make a request below. It’s free and it only takes 30 seconds – let’s see who we can find for you.

Day 15 – Cricklade to The Source

Day 15 of the #185milewaffle – Cricklade to The Source accompanied by Monty.

If you’d like to make a donation to Mast Cell Action, you can find out how here.

A certain sense of relief as I embark on my usual two hour prep before departure: up, shower and breakfast; check out the weather and consequential dress; sort backpack and footwear accordingly; organise logistics of dog, rendezvous and transport to, from and between each end of the stage; deal with critical emails, blog etc; see how donations are going and head off from my Abingdon base to the next stage.

Good old Tom, who joined me for two days earlier in the walk turned out again to accompany me onimg_1254 the final leg. We met at the Thames Head pub and drove to the starting point at Cricklade. Another supportive star of the event has been Adrian, who met us there with Monty the Golden Retriever. Pleasingly, the latter appeared pleased to see me and was raring to go on his second stage

The last day was a real contrast to the rather grim 14th stint – Tom’s company, clement weather and a feasible lunch break in a pub all made for an easier 14 mile final stretch.

Monty was again the perfect companion, enjoying himself with frequent forays into both undergrowth and river, but always on hand when required.

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The Thames rapidly went from stream to trickle to dry bed. A scenic compensation however was the turning colours of the trees. Very late this autumn because of the Indian summer, but now coming on following the first frost. As yesterday, we absolutely had to have our wits about us to ensure that we followed a trail that both wandered quite a way from the river, and had very few signs; even so, we ended up doing a mile or two extra having missed our way at some point.

Yet again – one of the absolute blessings of this trip – we enjoyed wonderful weather.  As we descended the final fields to our destination, Tom commented that the lighting was positively

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Finally here – the source of the Thames!

biblical. Indeed, the setting sun shining down onto the Thames Head stone was straight from an epic film’s lighting dept.

Notwithstanding going base over apex having missed my footing (oh the irony, were I to have twisted an ankle 200 yards from home) we arrived at the source on schedule at 5:15 on the 15th day. The requisite final shoot then took place – to be seen on our Facebook page in due course – and repaired to the Thames Head (pub this time!) to meet Adrian & Hettie and return Monty.

Reflections on the whole walk would make this blog overlong. I will see if I can prevail upon the long-suffering Karina to install one final summary blog on the charity website.

Meanwhile I will sign off in the traditional way (words Jennie used to use many years ago), but this time referring to the charity and all suffering from MCAS, rather than simply the walk…

Onwards and Upwards – and thanks both for reading this and all the support I have received.

Chris

 

A note about what we do at Tailster.

Tailster.com is the online website that helps dog owners find trusted, local and insured dog boarders, sitters and walkers at times like going away on holiday, ad-hoc emergencies or for regular walks. If you need a sitter, click here and let us know what you need and we will find the right dog boarder or sitter for you quickly.

You can also apply to become a dog walker or dog boarder in order to help our dog owners looking for dog boarding and walking services.

If you need a pet carer, make a request below. It’s free and it only takes 30 seconds – let’s see who we can find for you.

Day 14 – Lechlade to Cricklade

Day 14 of the #185milewaffle – Lechlade to Cricklade accompanied by Evan.

If you’d like to get involved or make a donation to Mast Cell Action, you can find out how here.

Today started well – but turned into one of the most demanding sessions to date. Thanks to Camilla, proprietor of Wilson, her cousin in law Ed generously offered Evan for the day.

We set off to Kelmscott, rendezvoused with the lady from BBC Wiltshire and duly did the requisite interview before setting off.

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I have previously observed and commented on the indefatigable nature of spaniels. Evan set a new standard.

I genuinely think he must have covered at least three times my distance, which makes it north of 50 miles before you come to all the time he spent in the river. A lot of the time he was invisible from the path, but trackable by his noisy progress up and down banks, along the river and investigating any neighbouring wildfowl or other creatures.

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The only downside of all this was his regarding walking on the lead – of which we had to do quite a bit – as a barely tolerable preface to the next exciting cross-country episode, which in turn made for a somewhat strained shoulder as I tried to hold onto the missile that was Evan.

The walk itself was made trickier by the fact that here in the upper reaches, it by no means follows the towpath, and its twists and turns are by no means well signed. I realised to my embarrassment that I should have brought a map rather than relying like a softy on the signs to show the way. In this context, I completely missed one crucial change of direction where the sign had been uprooted. The unfortunate consequence was that I had gone 2 miles before I encountered someone who could put me right… and sent me 2 miles back again.

Extending a longish stage from 13.5 miles to 17.5 miles hurt; the more so given no companion for mutual entertainment or distraction.

Final irritations of no accessible lunch stop, some long sessions on the roads and the planned pickup from destination not being possible due to other pressures, all added up to a somewhat wearying day. Improved at the end by some more of the passing kindness that one so often encounters – a lady with a dog going out of her way to connect me to the only taxi in Cricklade, and Paul Buckland, who happened to sit next to me in the White Hart I was waiting for the taxi, quietly passing over a donation having known me for five minutes.

I can say that I have pretty well been able to deal with each day as it has come, without dwelling on previous scars, or anticipating what next. However, after today’s tribulations the realisation that tomorrow is suddenly the last day does bring a certain sense of relief!

Upwards and onwards

Chris

 

A note about what we do at Tailster.

Tailster.com is the online website that helps dog owners find trusted, local and insured dog boarders, sitters and walkers at times like going away on holiday, ad-hoc emergencies or for regular walks. If you need a sitter, click here and let us know what you need and we will find the right dog boarder or sitter for you quickly.

You can also apply to become a dog walker or dog boarder in order to help our dog owners looking for dog boarding and walking services.

If you need a pet carer, make a request below. It’s free and it only takes 30 seconds – let’s see who we can find for you.

Day 13 – Newbridge to Lechlade

Day 13 of the #185milewaffle – Newbridge to Lechlade accompanied by Monty.

If you’d like to get involved or make a donation to Mast Cell Action, you can find out how here.

Adrian and the charming Hetty have not only invited me to stay the night with them, but also volunteered to drop me off and pick up Monty at the end of the day. I am very much in their debt.

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Martin and Suzanne in autumn setting

We rendezvous with Martin and Suzanne, who have driven up from London to accompany me on the day’s walk from the Rose Revived at Newbridge – thank you both – and off we set.

There have been all sorts of challenges with this whole endeavour, but equally I have been fantastically blessed with glorious weather. Apart from one 30 minute spell today, and a couple of hours on one earlier day, it has been bright, sunny and blue: perfect walking weather that has helped me through the lack of preparation and physical demands.

We head westwards at a steady pace, arriving at The Trout at Tadpole Bridge for a coffee and loo stop. There, somewhat to our chagrin, we discover from a local that our projected lunch stop – The Swan at Radcot – is apparently on its way out of business and food is unlikely to be forthcoming. Tant pis (or as they say, my aunt is cross about that… one for French speakers) – all we can do is press on.

Martin is rather braver than I with notional shortcuts across some of the river’s bigger bends. Having found myself on the wrong side of multiple stock fences when leaving the path earlier, I’m less enthusiastic. We half-heartedly try a few, maybe save a minute or two, but certainly have to negotiate some distinctly tricky barbed wire.

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Swim 15 of 20…

Monty was a brilliant companion, full of energy but equally keen to be part of the group. We calculate he was in the river nearer 20 times than 10, but always came back and was very much shoulder to shoulder on the walk.

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You drink your beer, I’m knackered

One way or the other we do make it to Radcot (where the pub is indeed shut) in time to rendezvous  with the BBC South reporter who duly films us, getting several shots to his satisfaction, and one less so… when he crouches down at ground level to get an arty Scorcese type upward shot, which arouses Monty’s serious interest and he receives a wet nose in his face and the camera lens. I guess everyone has to suffer for their art.

Onwards to Kelmscot where Adrian and Hetty, bless them, have come right to our destination to meet us and recover their dog. A very sociable couple of pints ensue. Monty passes out under the pub bench and Martin opines that he would like to do the same, before we part and go our separate ways.

Another very rewarding day.

Upwards and onwards

 

A note about what we do at Tailster.

Tailster.com is the online website that helps dog owners find trusted, local and insured dog boarders, sitters and walkers at times like going away on holiday, ad-hoc emergencies or for regular walks. If you need a sitter, click here and let us know what you need and we will find the right dog boarder or sitter for you quickly.

You can also apply to become a dog walker or dog boarder in order to help our dog owners looking for dog boarding and walking services.

If you need a pet carer, make a request below. It’s free and it only takes 30 seconds – let’s see who we can find for you.

Urban Meadow review

We were very kindly invited to visit Urban Meadow recently, visiting one Sunday with little Ozzie, we sat outside on the terrace. They’ve managed to create an ambient little spot with a cute artificial lawn, plants and greenery. We tried to take a good picture of Ozzie outside, but as you can see from the photo, he was far more interested in the artificial grass! Here’s a much clearer picture of Urban Meadow’s rustic outdoor charm:

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As soon as we arrived, we felt the atmosphere was relaxing and welcoming. The staff were ever so accommodating, and patient with us as we took a while deciding what we wanted to order.

Urban Meadow is extremely dog-friendly, serving dog treats and providing water bowls for any visiting furries. Ozzie enjoyed his dog treat – and had a great time relaxing on the terrace, basking in the sun. We had coffee and a lovely antipasto platter (once we finally settled on what to get!).

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As well as dog treats, they have a great range of main courses for those who want a full meal, along with plenty of sandwiches if you want something a bit lighter – and even do afternoon tea, should that take your fancy. The reason it took us such a long time to decide was because it all looked really good.

Urban Meadow is in the perfect location, very close to both Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens so we went for a stroll in the park once we were done. Anyone with a dog can make a day of an energetic dog walk and stop by Urban Meadow for a bite to eat, or just a quick drink and relax before setting off home. It’s a lovely setting, offers great food at reasonable prices – and it’s dog friendly!

Day 12 – Oxford to Newbridge

Day 12 of the #185milewaffle – Oxford to Newbridge accompanied by Henry the Labradoodle.

If you’d like to get involved or make a donation to Mast Cell Action, you can find out how here.

Monsoon level rain in the morning made me feel my luck had run out. Thankfully it hadn’t – the storm blew through and by 10:30 the rain had stopped and the clouds were clearing.

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Henry a keen swimmer!

Tim Fenna and I have been acquainted over about 10 years without having a chance to spend much time together, but always enjoying each other’s company. I think we recognise each other as fellow enthusiasts!

Above and beyond the call of therefore, for him to convey us to the jumping off point and meet us at the end of the stage. Thanks also to his other half Sally, who had never met me, but was both lovely and equally supportive.

Henry is one of those dogs whose eyes speak volumes, peering out from under big eyebrows and apparently lugubrious… in practice anything but. Big hearted, boundless energy and enormous fun. We enjoyed a great day walking together – his enjoyment extending beyond mine into frequent swims and numerous rolls in doubtless unspeakable substances.

We went awry in one of the few places where the Thames Path signage is truly lacking, resulting in a frustratingly wasted 45 minutes, struggling backwards and forwards through fields bounded by fences that permitted no crossing.

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Henry the Labradoodle

Eventually we emerged at the Ferryman at Bablockhythe – which always has and always does feel like something out of a strange film set – to discover that food was not an option. The sense of surreality compounded by an air ambulance circling then landing at the nearby caravan park.

The weather was kind, but unfortunately a large number of the fields were filled with sheep and cows… which necessitated Henry being on the lead, and both our enjoyment being slightly compromised.

The total lack of phone signal meant I wondered if I would ever link up with Tim & Sally. Happily a brief window allowed us to fix a rendezvous at the Maybush Inn, Newbridge.

We all enjoyed a sundowner, and I wished Henry (and Tim & Sally natch..) a heartfelt farewell. Then I headed off into the sunset to stay with my next supportive friend in Cirencester.

12 down – 3 to go.

Upwards and onwards

Chris

 

A note about what we do at Tailster.

Tailster.com is the online website that helps dog owners find trusted, local and insured dog boarders, sitters and walkers at times like going away on holiday, ad-hoc emergencies or for regular walks. If you need a sitter, click here and let us know what you need and we will find the right dog boarder or sitter for you quickly.

You can also apply to become a dog walker or dog boarder in order to help our dog owners looking for dog boarding and walking services.

If you need a pet carer, make a request below. It’s free and it only takes 30 seconds – let’s see who we can find for you.

Day 11 – Abingdon to Oxford

Day 11 of the #185milewaffle – Abingdon to Oxford accompanied by Wilson.
If you’d like to get involved or make a donation to Mast Cell Action, you can find out how here.

On the road again… Those words always remind me of the Canned Heat song, but I don’t know how many people are old enough to remember that with similar pleasure. Let me recommend it to anyone who doesn’t know it.

Today was the last day I will leave from London: henceforth the stages are just too far away to do from home. Andrew, my friend of 40 years (we’ve just worked it out) has very sportingly come along for the day’s walk, after which he will turn around and catch the London Train back from Oxford – that’s friendship for you.

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Wilson looking stately at Iffley Lock

The absence of suitably located dogs means that I am giving the wonderful Wilson his second stage: Abingdon to Oxford, following Benson to Abingdon week ago.

This is no hardship whatsoever as he is a wonderfully characterful border terrier, always interested in whatever’s going on and taking frequent paddles, but equally always keeping close by – an ideal walking partner. Gratifyingly, he was all over me when we came through the door, though I fear some of his affection could be down to cupboard love following the treats of the last stage.

Another lovely day and another lovely stretch of the Thames – countrified to Oxford then pleasantly urban once we get to the city itself. We stop at the Isis Farmhourse pub by Iffley Lock for a pleasant lunch before plunging on, through and out the other side of Oxford into the meadows to the North West… a walk that brings back many memories of happy days at university here.

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Fantastic autumn colour

On past The Perch in Binsey and on to The Trout at Wolvercote, where we are met by Camilla, Wilson’s owner. She and her husband Dom have been fantastically helpful and quite saved me from disaster over the latter part of the walk: lending Wilson not once but twice; picking us up from The Trout to return us whence we came. I cannot thank them enough for being so supportive.

I write this before wearily turning in at the house of good friends near Abingdon. I fear tomorrow may be my first experience of serious rain but we’ll see.

One more dog to find– from Cricklade to the source on Wednesday.
Any suggestions/volunteers very gratefully received!

Onwards and upwards

Chris

 

A note about what we do at Tailster.

Tailster.com is the online website that helps dog owners find trusted, local and insured dog boarders, sitters and walkers at times like going away on holiday, ad-hoc emergencies or for regular walks. If you need a sitter, click here and let us know what you need and we will find the right dog boarder or sitter for you quickly.

You can also apply to become a dog walker or dog boarder in order to help our dog owners looking for dog boarding and walking services.

If you need a pet carer, make a request below. It’s free and it only takes 30 seconds – let’s see who we can find for you.

The Animology giveaway winners are…

We’ve been running a wonderful competition over the last couple of weeks, with our friends at Animology. Read on to find out if you’re one of our lucky winners…

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On offer were 3 lots of some best selling Animology products – Fox Poo 250ml Shampoo, Dogs Body 250ml Shampoo, Stink Bomb 250ml Spray and Clean sheets Travel Pack. The winners have now been drawn, and we can announce that they are…

Dani Astbury

Jenni Kenyon

Diane Britt

Congratulations to our lucky winners! We have more great giveaways lined up so keep your eyes peeled for these.

 

And if you need any help finding a pet carer, make a request below. It’s free and it only takes 30 seconds – let’s see who we can find for you.

Day 10 – Wallingford to Abingdon

Day 10 of the #185milewaffle – Wallingford to Abingdon accompanied by Wilson.

If you’d like to get involved or make a donation to Mast Cell Action, you can find out how here.

Two things to look forward to today. Firstly, dear Tom once more providing his company on the trail. Secondly, the lovely Camilla offering her dog, her house and hospitality for day 10.

I rendezvous with Tom in Abingdon, we call on Camilla & Don and pick up the splendid Wilson. Wilson is a Border Terrier mix and possessed of all the things one would wish for in terms of being energetic, obedient and responsive to treats!

Wilson, Tom and I travelled down to Benson in my car, which we duly abandoned and set off on the walk back to Abingdon.

Tom and I were both baffled as to why there is a cafe on the lock at Benson that seems to be the social centre of the known universe. In stark contrast to the many and various underpopulated locks before and after, this one cafe was positively heaving even at 11 o’clock on Sunday morning. We equipped ourselves with takeaway coffees & croissants and set forth.

Once again, lovely country; surprisingly few people even given the weekend; blessedly clement weather; and a nice walk. Wilson was generally an eager companion. His only vice – as we had been warned – is that he took advantage of rolling in every patch of fox or badger poo. Clearly his equivalent of particularly fetching aftershave!

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Wilson emerging from a dip…

After our four hour walk through lunchtime and out the other side of same yesterday, we had identified the Barley Mow at Clifton Hampden as a good lunch stop. We duly arrived at about 2:15… only to be told that they weren’t serving outside in the garden, and we might wait up to 20 minutes even to be seated inside. In consequence we decided that lunch would consist of a pint, cashews and crisps and made the best of it.

The last haul to Abingdon was the first where I’ve actually felt the need for a top layer – I’ve braved everything to date in just a T-shirt. No particular heroics there, I tend to overheat rather than get cold. However it is indicative that after the fabulous late summer/early autumn, normal service is being resumed.

I don’t usually go on about the physical demands – but as I arrived at the end of the second phase, I will say knocking out the 13/14 mile stages is wearing. To my comments earlier relating to the enormous benefits of having a companion… having Tom along as a walking partner has been both a huge pleasure and distraction from the physical nags.

We walked into Abingdon about 4.30 and returned Wilson to home and hearth… taking care to sponge away the fox poo that might not have endeared him to his owners. Then back down to Benson to pick up my car and back to our families.

10 of the 15 days done – and five days to line up dogs and prepare for the final phase. Roll up anyone who can/will put forward a dog for a stage!

And naturally, don’t be shy about making a donation.

Thank you so much.

Upwards and onwards

 

A note about what we do at Tailster.

Tailster.com is the online website that helps dog owners find trusted, local and insured dog boarders, sitters and walkers at times like going away on holiday, ad-hoc emergencies or for regular walks. If you need a sitter, click here and let us know what you need and we will find the right dog boarder or sitter for you quickly.

You can also apply to become a dog walker or dog boarder in order to help our dog owners looking for dog boarding and walking services.

If you need a pet carer, make a request below. It’s free and it only takes 30 seconds – let’s see who we can find for you.