We searched high and low for our new Forestry Commission Paws Outdoors champion – dogs (and their owners!), who love spending their time together out in the forest. We’ve had an incredible number of entries, but one in particular stood out. This is her story.
Kizzie, a 2 year-old Border Collie cross, didn’t exactly have the easiest start in life – she was found along with her seven brothers and sisters in a ditch, in the freezing cold. Her mum had been abandoned there to have her litter as best she could on her own.
The local rescue centre couldn’t cope with housing a litter of eight, so Kizzie, still just a tiny little pup, was sent to another centre near Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire. And that’s where her new life began. Trevor Clark and his partner took one look at her, and decided she needed to be part of their family.
“We’d actually lost our previous dog not too long before, and hadn’t planned on getting another dog,” Trevor said. “But as soon as we saw her, that was it!”
She now has a very happy home and gets taken out regularly in the nearby Forest of Dean – not just for walks, but for many of Trevor’s runs too! She even competes in Canicross races, right by his side. Her very first race, which was a challenging 6 miles in the Forest of Dean, she won!
This is an achievement for any pooch, but in Kizzie’s case, it’s nothing short of remarkable. As if her uncertain beginnings weren’t enough, she was also born with a condition known as ‘collie eye’ – a congenital eye disease in dogs that can slowly develop into blindness. Kizzie still has some sight in her eyes, but not much. Not that she lets this slow her down.
“We’re not sure how much she can see exactly, but when she was younger she did bump into things a lot.”
“We have spent a lot of time training. Its great fun and bonds you closely with your dog. We’re very passionate to encourage as many people as possible to enjoy the outdoors, but to make sure they leave it the same way they found it, and to make sure we share our forests with other users.
“We live and breathe this; there’s so much out there to enjoy in the forests! The most important thing is not to let anything stand in your way, and just to head out, and find out, for yourself.”