Living with Coco

Posted by in February's Magazine

Perhaps we should give her the keys to the home. Pointless I guess, no opposable thumbs, and she’s already got the keys to our heart. sigh

Coco the fitness pug has been working in my studio since she was a wee puppy and has motivated and amused personal training clients in equal measures. I joke that Coco is short for ‘Constant Companion’ and it’s true, she is my little shadow. In the studio, she sits in her ‘pug nest’, a wee high-sided bed, in the corner out of harm’s way. It took quite a lot of training to get her to stay put, but plentiful treats when she is sitting in her nest seems to work. The fact that dogs are primarily motivated by food means that they are relatively easy to train (if you always carry treats with you). The same does not work for Personal Training clients.



As I mentioned earlier, Coco is a ‘fitness pug’ which is a position bestowed with great responsibility. The wee poppet will never be over-fed or under-exercised, in fact pugs enjoy being as active as other dogs, they just have a lazy reputation. I personally think it’s because lazy people get pugs under the misapprehension that they don’t like exercise. In truth Coco could stay in bed all day, but really perks up when she is running around the park.

A Rather Long Walk
Coco has accompanied my husband Andy and I on many adventures, from the glass-bottomed boat at Kyle of Lochalsh, a road trip around France last summer and a jaunt around Loch Affric – located in a stunning glen up north, near Tomich. Which always makes me sing the Blondie song Atomic! The walk around the loch is just over 18km, a long way for wee pug legs. Despite being seasoned hill walkers, the other half and I totally forgot to think of the fact that melting snow = torrential mountain streams. We had to play ‘pass the pug’ above our heads whilst thigh deep in fast-moving icy cold water. It was so funny coming across other walkers, as I’m sure they didn’t expect to come across a tiny pug in the middle of nowhere. After she’d finished all her food, we kept her going with nibbles of rough oatcakes (one of her favourite snacks), cheddar cheese and bits of apple. Despite the long walk and soggy conditions, Coco loved it.

Crazy Pug Lady
The last two years has taught me that you get as much out of pet ownership as you put into it. Coco would spend every single minute with me if she could. And the more time I spend with her, the better behaved she is. In fact, I have even started to talk to her as we walk up and down Leith Walk. I’ve officially turned into a crazy pug lady… The thing about having a dog is they really do understand what you mean.

I never thought I’d be a dog lady, but when you’ve got a four-legged friend, the most fun thing to do is go for a wander around Edinburgh to look at the sights. Newly opened places that welcome dogs include The Leith Depot (where the old notorious Meridian Bar lurked), newly opened Walnut Bistro (ex-Cafe 9) and Leith Chop House (dogs in front bar only). Leith is leading the way in dog-friendly establishments on the Dugs ‘n’ Pubs website ( with a whopping 57 listings. I’d also love to try the new dog-sitting service, Dogmore, down at Ocean Terminal, they have a doggie adventure playground in their canine crèche, which I’m sure Coco would enjoy.

Edinburgh public transport is fab. I don’t know anywhere else that allows dogs to use it so widely. Thank you Lothian Buses, and Scotrail too. I had a lively conversation with some visiting Aussie tourists atop a Lothian bus, who were not only “stoked” to be on the top floor of a double-decker but also “bowled over” that furry companions were allowed passage. I agree, it’s beaut mate!

Dog ownership opens up many conversations, and it’s wonderful all the new Leithy peeps I’ve got to know simply from lurking about parks at various times of the day. Do it without a dog and it would be weird, but with a wee canine, walks become a social excursion indeed. Sometimes I’m rushing between PT sessions, but it’s not me they want to talk to anyway, it’s the dug.

Your Local Festival Needs You
Leith Festival Gala day is one of my favourite summer outings with Coco. She loves to eat dropped food off the grass as I catch up on local gossip. I already have the date in my diary, Saturday 11 June, it seems a long way off, but the festival is currently taking registration for events, so get your application form from They’re also looking for local businesses to support the festival – do your bit, your local festival needs you. Griffen Fitness will do so, as well as running a dog-friendly pop-up shop on 18 June. We’ll be there… with Coco!

2 responses to “Living with Coco”

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