Pedal power pushes dog lover the extra mile for four-legged friends this Christmas

A member of the team at Dogs Trust Kenilworth has literally gone the extra mile - or 621 - to help the dogs in his care at the rehoming centre this Christmas.

Despite needing nine operations on his knees and feet in recent years, James Sowerby has undertaken the "99k for Canines Cycle Challenge" to raise funds to help the dogs he knows and loves. But despite the physical challenges it posed for the 32-year-old, James decided to take it several pushes of the pedals further - and set himself a 999km virtual route.

James, who lives in Longbridge, says:

“It was a bit bonkers really, given the issues I've had, but I just wanted to do something extra for the dogs this Christmas.

“Cycling has really helped me recover after my operations, which have included cruciate ligament replacements and a broken foot, so it was great to use that experience in a positive way to help our dogs.” 

James, whose job at the Honiley rehoming centre includes finding foster carers for dogs, mapped out the route syncing his computer to his exercise bike and taking in five Dogs Trust rehoming centres. Starting at Dogs Trust Kenilworth he virtually cycled to Evesham, Newbury, Shoreham, Salisbury and Ilfracombe rehoming centres and back to Kenilworth.

His journey took 36 hours and included 9,137 metres of climbs - more than the height of Mount Everest, and although he sometimes found it tough going, he says the thought of the dogs he was helping spurred him on.

He added:

“It was difficult and painful times but having set up the route to the centres, every time I was flagging, I just thought of how what I was doing will help make sure they have an extra special Christmas with us until they find a home of their own.” 

James burnt off 18,706 calories during the challenge and decided to complete the final 99 kilometres with no breaks, pedalling for just under four hours - that part of the route alone saw him climb the equivalent of Ben Nevis

“Having burnt off so many calories I'll definitely be treating myself to a few more roast potatoes! So far I have raised £1,141, which will buy a lot of toys and treats for the dogs,”

“I am proud to think that I have done my bit to make sure our dogs can have everything they need on Christmas Day and beyond until they find the forever homes they all deserve.” 

To find out about the dogs at Dogs Trust Kenilworth currently waiting to find new families, please visit www.dogstrust.org.uk/kenilworth

To find out how to give your dog a happy, relaxed Christmas, and for a special doggie Christmas dinner recipe, visit www.dogstrust.org.uk/christmasadvice