Why I love . . . running with dogs
‘I wear these cool headphones that deliver sound through the cheekbones so I can still hear the dogs’
Chris Hanlon: ‘My me-time is to take two or three of my own dogs for a run three times a week.’
I grew up with pets but got my own first dog as an engagement present, a Labrador called Juno. I’ve cared for dogs and trained detection dogs professionally now for more than 20 years. I still get a buzz knowing that a pup I bred and trained may end up finding explosives in Singapore, or Burmese pythons in Florida. My wife and I recently launched a subscription-model dog food start-up, Were Wolf Food, so, my personal time has never been so important to me.
My me-time is to take two or three of my own dogs for a run three times a week. As a self-employed business owner, first thing in the morning works best, and I find my responsibility to my dogs motivating to get out, rain or shine. The self-care thing could easily drop off the to-do list if I didn’t have them.
Ruby, another Labrador, is a bit of a Scooby-Doo character. Full of energy, she always makes me laugh at how much she enjoys running with me. Tilly, a working cocker spaniel, loves to dive in every puddle and roll in low-tide mud. Meggy, my oldest Labrador, has just started to show her age so I can’t take her out quite as often now. I’m starting to leave her at home with my terrier, Peppa, who is too small for long runs. I recently adopted a German shepherd who has nervous aggression issues, so I sometimes take her on a long lead to help her socialisation and channel her energy.
I like to plug in and listen to a podcast, and I wear these cool headphones that deliver sound through the cheekbones so I can still hear the dogs. Running with my pack gives me headspace and prepares me for another day’s work in the professional dog world.