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MAKING WAVES: Leader of the Pack


Thismonthwe caught up with fellowadventurer LeighParsons the owner of PackDogWalkswhohas been undertaking a rather significant journey inMay as he and his pack of dogs took on theCotswoldWay, fromstart to finish, covering 104 miles starting in Bath and finishing in ChippingCamden.


Nosmall feat, Leigh and his pack have crossed the terrainmoving through theCotswolds, taking in the sites and treating his pack of dogs to a spectacular adventure and a ton of fun along theway.


Leigh, where did the idea for this undertakingcomefrom? Having a national trail on our doorstep was just too inviting. I’ve been exploring Gloucestershire for a couple of years nowand become pretty familiar with our surrounding area.Nowit’s great doing big loops, but nothing quite like being dropped off at one end and walking in a straight (albeit roundabout) line to the other. So, with a little bit of logistical planning and the assistance ofmy new pack handler, a former veterinary nurse and a greyhound trainer, I built a route card and plannedwater stops and check points every couple of miles, sowe were never faraway fromhelp shouldwehave needed it.


Howdid the dogs find it? They did very well indeed,weall loved it. There are twodifferent packs. Monday,Wednesday and Friday Pack, and the Tuesday and Thursday Pack, so they all got a day on and day off as part of the adventure. I had hoped to complete it in five days doing around twenty miles a day, but that wasn’t so. I stopped each day once the first dog showed signs of


62 JUNE 2017 THECHELTONIAN


fatigue, sowetook seven days to complete a total of 104 miles. I knew it would take however long it would take, you go as fast as your slowest man, or in this case dog.


Iwas lucky enough tocatch upwith Leighonday sixof hisCostwoldWay adventure taking himandhispackof canine companions from Winchcombe tothepicturesque


villageof Stanton.What is clear tosee fromspending timewith Leigh is two things, firstly his loveof his jobandthe animals that heworkswith, secondly the absolute respect given and receivedin this symbiotic relationship betweenpack leader andpack members. Leigh’s role isoneof control andrespectwhereby hispack ofdogs arebeautifullybehavedand obedient in exchange for themental andphysical stimulation that Leigh provides themwith.This is no30 minutes roundtheblock, thesedogs arepartof something very interesting andwhat is clear tosee from spending timewith Leigh andtalking toowners that use his services is that thedogs absolutely love their time with him.


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