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Journalist quit fags to save dying dog – and ended up a marathon runner

A regional daily journalist has told of how she became a marathon runner – after giving up smoking to save a dying dog in Corfu.

Cheryl Hague, assistant news editor at the Derby Telegraph, had a 20-a-day cigarette habit, but quit in order to fund the six-month quarantine of a canine which began following her around while on holiday on the Greek island.

Cheryl and her husband decided to bring the dog, which they named Vinnie, home after hearing how strays faced being poisoned by locals or shot by police at the end of the tourist season.

While Vinnie died a couple of years ago, Cheryl’s decision to quit smoking gave her an appetite for running and she has since competed in the last two London Marathons.

Cheryl Hague

Cheryl has recalled her battle against tobacco in a piece for the Telegraph to mark the annual Stoptober drive to get smokers to quit.

She wrote: “I am not going to lie, giving up was hard, but every time I thought about giving in I thought about our four-legged friend who was in bad health and frightened in a little kennel.

“Having such an important reason to give break my addiction gave me the strength I needed to carry on. The cravings got less and less but they were still there. Sometimes I would get a whiff of a cigarette and would be dying for a drag.

“It took about two years for this to disappear and I ended up hating the smell of cigs. It was all so worth it.”

She added: “It is funny even now years later people remember our dog rescue story and say to me: ‘I think it’s great how you saved that dog’s life’. To which I always reply: ‘To be honest he saved ours’.

“So to those thinking of giving up for Stoptober I would say – go for it, you can do it if you really want to. Maybe you just need a reason like me? Think of your own circumstances. Maybe you can do it for a child or grandchild so you can spend more time playing with them without getting out of breath, or maybe you just need to do it for you and your own health.

“Whatever reason you do it for if you do succeed I promise you this – you will never regret it.”