I feel lucky to live in the country, and walking is a time not only for fresh air, keeping fit and taking in the scenery, but it is time for me and my dog. Although heading out in the winter weather, myself and the pooch need to be kitted out for our country walks, so I want to share two things we would not be without.
I live in the South West of England, in a small countryside Somerset town, close to the borders of Devon and Dorset, plus the fabulous Jurassic coast. Right on the doorstep of our home, are country lanes, woods and all the nature you can chuck a stick at. Of course being in the country, your best designer shoes just won’t work for meandering over rough and muddy ground.
Now they say it rains in Wales a lot, and I have to agree having lived in Swansea for a while, but much of my life (back and forwards), has been spent in my home town, which gets more than its fair share of the wet stuff. So wellies are usually needed for walks, and as our black Labrador lives indoors, he needs a weatherproof coat (and if you like keeping your home looking nice and have to dry your pooch off regularly, you will understand the need).
Joules ‘Ajusta’ ~ Adjustable Back Gusset Printed Wellies ~ £49.95
After years of another well known brand of wellingtons, I needed a more comfortable pair on my country walks, having problems (thanks to Fibro), with painful feet. I was lucky enough to receive this fabulous printed style from Joules as a Christmas gift, and I couldn’t be happier with them. This posy print version is from their Right as Rain collection, and come beautifully packaged.
Joules produce a fab range of clothing for country living, with quality materials and fun prints, which certainly brighten up these gloomy winter days. These natural rubber wellies are fab! Not only do they have large colourful flowers on a navy background, with bright red back strips and soles, but they are amazingly comfortable under foot. Even though I usually wear socks in my boots, the lining of these is incredibly soft. After my first wear, walking over a mile, there was no rubbing or discomfort with these.
The stylish wellies also have adjustable deep back gussets to accommodate calves/trousers, along with stud fastening to make life easier (no faffing with buckles when your dog is getting excited for ‘walkies’). Plus, they have fabulous tyre-style soles to take on whatever the country weather throws at you.
Tyre -inspired soles with channels for easy water dispersal + great grip for any slippery leaves and rugged terrain.
My country walks also allow me the opportunity to play around with my camera and shoot some photography. Although, it is definitely easier if hubby is with me, especially when our boy gets the whiff of a bitch, and tries to pull in the hedge mid shot focus! He really is a well behaved dog…but when it comes to the opposite sex, we sometimes wonder if we should of called him Randy!
Chasing the last bit of sunlight on the trees can be a real race mid winter, but when pain allows and I go walking, it really is the best way to rid the cobwebs and appreciate my home surroundings.
Well, when the temperature is around just 4 degrees, a girl has to wrap up! I don’t think I could actually feel my top lip here from the biting wind, but I always feel better for getting out in the fresh air.
Four Seasons Performance Dog Coat (2-in-1) ~ from £10-79 (depending on size of dog)
This coat is a comfortable and breathable design for dogs, being made with waterproof and windproof fabric to keep them warm and dry. The outer part works as a waterproof jacket, but also has an attachable polar fleece lining for when it is really cold.
Being a homeboy, our Flynn likes his creature comforts to say the least, sofa, short spells on the bed and central heating etc. Although as he is now almost 10 (and labradors are prone to arthritis), we take care of him in bad weather by keeping him dry and warm, plus it saves him getting overly wet and muddy from his walks. Have you ever tried to dry a soaking wet Labrador?
Having waterproof fur, wet tends to sit on their coats forming a wet film all over them, and drying means really rubbing down with 1, and maybe even 2, large towels. Now I like having a clean home, so as a wet muddy dog can mean the opposite (I am sure you have seen that advert), it helps to have an all-weather coat. I purchased this from Muddy Paws (appropriately named), this is his second one as they are so good. I got this one an inch or so bigger incase I need to tumble dry, being that he wears it twice a day, every day, during bad weather.
Please excuse the mud, but he had to go out in bad weather the day I was shooting my photography. You can see the hind leg strap that helps keep the coat in place, and the velcro strip on which the fleece part attaches.
Below shows the chest cover and the strap comes under the body of the dog, then holds together via 2 straps around the rib cage and back, via velcro. The strap is also light reflective, a really good safety feature for dogs on dark winter mornings and evenings.
As the 2 parts separate, the waterproof outer jacket can be worn during a downpour in the summer, keeping pooch dry, yet cool too. The collar part helps keep the back of the neck protected, and there is a hole to pass a lead through, making this dog jacket a well thought out product. It is no wonder it is a top selling jacket!
Obviously, there are still wet/muddy paws to dry off, and a little under the tummy, but this coat keeps him 75% dry, plus warm in really cold weather, and he seems to like it that way. For us, it’s definitely a no-brainer to help keep our him cleaner and protected from the elements.
With his versatile dog coat and my comfy, stylish wellies, we are set for walkies whatever the weather.
Although I have enjoyed city life at times in the past during my 20’s and 30’s, I love the country lifestyle. I am a country girl, it is how I spent my childhood, so slow living is in my heart and soul. Nature is simple, doing its own thing in its own time, and for me, living with chronic pain illness for the last 20 years, is kind of how I live my life. When I go out on my walks, it makes me feel content and lucky, especially when I am with my best (four legged) friend!