A business which helps owners and their dogs enjoy fitness together is celebrating three years since inception, despite having operated in the tough environment of the pandemic.

Your Fitness Buddy provides owners, with their dogs, training and participation in the growing sport of canicross.

Canicross, rooted in sled dog sport, is off-road running with your dog. Your dog wears a special sports-specific harness and is attached to your canicross belt via a bungee line. The dog pulls you along.

Together, you navigate the trails at walking, jogging, or running speed. Commands are used to let your dog know when you want to turn, speed up or slow down.

Business owner Marianne Mulder said: "Most dogs love to run. If the owner loves to run too, canicross can be a very enjoyable experience for both.

"A lot of people who do not enjoy running on their own find running with their dog is a game changer.

"The equipment used makes going for a hands-free off-road adventure with your dog so easy and you will appreciate the assistance your dog can give you on the hills."

Whilst she's very much aware of the trend of 'lockdown' dogs, and the numbers subsequently being handed in to dog shelters when people have returned to work, Marianne is pleased to see many, many dogs leading rich fulfilling lives and being kept happy and healthy.

She's had the pleasure of meeting many of them through her job as canicross trainer.

Despite the growing interest in canicross, Marianne acknowledges running a small business can be tough, and has been at times.

She said: "During the three years I've been in business, it's fair to say my spirit has been tested more than a few times over the last three years.

"I've dealt with our home being flooded twice, and the impact of the pandemic and its lockdowns, but I'm determined that 2022 will build on the successes I've had, and the resilience I've demonstrated.

"I've invested in my business, becoming a DogFit certified canicross trainer, and I've also taken courses to develop my specialist knowledge."

She adds: "Dogs live in the moment, and I have learnt so much from my dogs over the last few years.

"I love introducing people to canicross through my taster sessions. You must experience it with your best four-legged friend. It will enhance both your lives."