Young dog owner from Dumfries and Galloway strides ahead in dog walking competition

A young dog lover from Dumfries and Galloway and her four-legged friend have been crowned winners following an online nationwide competition which encouraged dog owners to keep fit and active during the Covid-19 lockdown.

Taking place between 18 January and 12 February, the Dog Walk Challenge called on members of the Young Kennel Club (YKC) to make the most of their daily exercise (within the Government guidelines relevant to their region) whilst getting outside with their dogs. The challenge involved walking short distances each day to ultimately total either 5 or 10 miles in their local area, depending on their age.

Katie O’Brien, an 18 year-old from Dumfries and Galloway, and Misty, an 18 month-old German Wirehaired Pointer, traversed a total of 90 miles together within the four weeks of the challenge, achieving 80 miles further than the competition requirement.

Speaking of their win, Katie said: “I am over the moon to win the challenge as I have never won anything like this before. It was a super fun challenge, especially in lockdown, as it helped give me motivation and set goals for myself.

“At the moment it’s easy to feel isolated but this challenge helped me feel connected to others who were also doing the challenge and I loved seeing everyone’s progress.”

The competition was open to two age groups, those between 6-13 years old who were asked to walk five miles and the older age group of 14-24 years old who were asked to walk ten. The winners of both categories were awarded a choice of either a free place at Young Kennel Club camp or a Fitbit and £100 Argos voucher.
Ben Ashcroft, Young Kennel Club Chairman, said: “Many congratulations to Katie and Misty. Ninety miles in four weeks is an incredible achievement and they should be so proud of themselves.

“We were thrilled to see so many Young Kennel Club members not only taking part in this challenge, but also supporting and encouraging each other. The pandemic has meant that our members have sadly been unable to socialise with each other at their usual members’ events, but we are so glad that this initiative has been able to keep them connected, even whilst being miles apart.”

The Young Kennel Club has continued to run plenty of exciting activities throughout lockdown to keep young members and their canine companions busy in the absence of events, including photo competitions, drawing tutorials as well as printable quizzes, colouring pages and more. Parents and/or young dog lovers can visit the Young Kennel Club website to sign up.