‘I go paragliding with my dog nearly every day – we’ve flown more than 200 times together’

Meet the daredevil grandmother who has done nearly 500 paraglides - with her dog.

Corinne Dhenin, 68, loves jumping off mountains with Phoebe as a passenger.

She climbs up with the pooch at her heel - sometimes reaching peaks as high as 8,000ft.

Corinne reckons she’s done nearly 500 leaps with a pooch - more than 230 with Phoebe, and the rest with Megabyte.

She also enjoys hang gliding, speed riding - a ski sport - and piloting microlight planes.

And Corinne, from Geneva, says people criticise her involving the dog but she doesn’t care - as Phoebe, a boxer, loves it.

She said: “I started on very small slopes with Megabyte, our first flight was only one metre in the air. Then I took her higher and higher.

“Eventually we were doing flights of about 3,000ft, from top to bottom of different mountains.

“When I first took Phoebe flying, she was six months old and attached in front of me – she panicked and tried to climb up me in the air.

“But she soon realised she was okay and wasn’t going to fall. And now, on flight 230, she’s used to it.

“We’re flying almost every day basically, being retired I just do that – we climb and fly together.

“When a lot of people find out I fly with my dog their reaction is that it’s not fair on the dog – I want to make it clear that my dog likes coming with me.

“She gets the most wonderful life, she’s out climbing mountains all day long and I do it for her – I’m not being selfish or anything, the dog loves it just as much as I do.”

Corinne, who used to work as a manager for a market research company, first started hang gliding in 1981, during the early years of the sport.

Due to the cumbersome nature, she converted to paragliding which she says pairs well with climbing mountains solo.

Now the mum-of-three and grandmother-of-four has been paragliding for over 15 years and has 1,300 flights under her belt.

She says she also enjoys speed riding which she describes as ‘half skiing, half flying’ and has even traversed from France to Morocco using a microlight – a petrol-powered hang glider.

Corinne with young Phoebe in 2019. (Corinne Dhenin / SWNS)
Corinne with young Phoebe in 2019. (Corinne Dhenin / SWNS)

She says despite her age she covers a huge amount of vertical distance, having climbed around 200 mountains and covered 205,000m vertically in total.

She says she has a close relationship with her dog and they spend nearly 24 hours a day together – so it just makes sense for the pair to fly together as well.

Corinne said: “I live in a little village in the mountains at 2,200ft, so I do a lot of sport – I started off hang gliding and went into paragliding.

“I decided it would be nice to have my dog climbing mountains with me and the first one I taught to fly was Megabyte.

“She was ok with it, she got used to it, but she got too old for climbing so I retired her.

Adventure dog Phoebe, March 2021 (Corinne Dhenin / SWNS)
Adventure dog Phoebe, March 2021 (Corinne Dhenin / SWNS)

“There are a few people who fly with their dogs here, but it is very rare – I know three people who do but they have smaller dogs than me so it’s a different affair.

“A boxer weighs about 30kg so it’s a very technical thing to do, you’ve got to support the weight until you’ve taken off but once you’re in the air it’s okay.

“Now every time she sees me getting the equipment ready in the mornings she comes and stands by the door and won’t let me go without her.

“We do a three to four-hour climb from the house directly, then the descent takes 10-15 minutes, and we land in front of the house again.

“The companionship is really important.

“Once we’ve done a climb, she’s exhausted for the rest of the day so she sleeps and I’m pretty exhausted as well.”