"A little slice of normality in a very crazy world" - how off-road dog walking is providing solace in lockdown
16th April 2020
On a morning, one thing is as cyclical as the sunrise – cocker spaniels Tyler and Maya will be roaming the outdoors on their daily walk, followed by Lisa Vesty on her trusty TGA Vita S.
Lisa isn’t alone of course. Indeed when the lockdown started, the other dog walkers she had developed a bond with – a ‘secret club where everyone says hello or wants to chat,’ something she finds ‘fantastic’ and cited as a reason for her improved wellbeing – suddenly became the core of the problem she would face daily in what was a harsh reversal of fortunes.
“As the weather was picking up, I was amazed how many people were out every morning and at times it made it quite tricky maintaining social distance,” she said. “So many people don’t seem to understand you need dropped kerbs to be able to cross the road and it’s very difficult to give way and maintain a two-metre minimum distance if pedestrians, joggers or cyclists remain on the same side of the pavement as you.”
“My pleasurable walks had turned out now to be quite stressful and were filling me with anxiety.”
For anyone in that position, it would be understandable to hang up the leads, switch off the key to the scooter and let the dogs roam the garden instead. In Lisa’s Vita S, however, she has found an escape route to relive the solace dog walking brings her.
“I feel so lucky that I own a Vita S as I am able to do something to change my experience,” she says. “It has rugged motorcycle suspension and a bucket seat that supports me, which means I can tackle more off-road trails and footpaths.”
“We now go out every morning and enjoy the more rural and isolated public footpaths across fields and bridleways. This now means we all get to enjoy our walk whilst maintaining the best social distancing as the only person I see is an occasional farmer. Absolute bliss. A little bit of stress and anxiety-free headspace which is so important right now. Enjoying the outdoors is a little slice of normality in what is a very crazy world at the moment.”
And just like Lisa washed away the anxiety she previously endured, when she returns home, she sprays a cloth and gives the controls, handlebars, arm rests and leads a wipe down to remove any potential germs.
“I’ve also found the cup holders on the Vita S make an excellent place to put your hand sanitiser,” she says. “This makes it really easy to reach quickly should you need to clean your hands whilst out, and then as soon as I’m in my home I wash my hands thoroughly to ensure that any potential germs are washed off immediately.”
“Getting out for our one daily exercise with Tyler and Maya is as much a necessity for them being very active cocker spaniels as it is for me, especially during these very strange times,” Lisa concludes. “For me, getting outside in nature is a huge part of my pain management, mental health and wellbeing strategy.”
You can follow Lisa and her two cocker spaniels, Maya and Tyler, on Instagram.