Welcome Ghillie

I can’t believe I have not posted about Ghillie. For the longest time I have wanted to get a dog. I had cocker spaniels as a kid and my grandparents always had dogs and rescue dogs. While working I always thought I would never be able to have a dog as it would just not be fair and I was not one for wanting to either leave the dog at home and someone else walk them or leave them in the car or crate etc. I have read a lot and met a few people who have service dogs and spoken about the various different things they can do. My consultant had also mentioned them as well and he supported me which is great.

Now that I am not working in the hospital and mainly doing research and public speaking plus some writing it seemed like the perfect time to investigate further and see how the best way to get a dog which would then be trained to be a service dog. I feel very strongly that everyone likes to train their dog in their own way. Some charities you get matched with a dog who is pre-trained which is great but I want to have that bond so opted to get a puppy myself, train it and go through the kennel club obedience tests before going on to start working towards assistance training.

A lot of research went into choosing the right breed and breeder. Having had cocker spaniels when I was younger I knew I would be fine with them as they never caused me any issue. I have been lucky with dogs as one the whole I am good with them except the ones that malt all the time. So I thought about a cocker and found some breeders but doing my research I learnt that the nose on a poodle is far more sensitive than of a cocker so it was recommended for my need that a cockapoo would be the best cross breed as it would have the nose  and scent attributes of a poodle but then also the work and gun dog ethic of a cocker.

I sourced a breeder, did some background, went out to see the breeder armed with questions and was surprised when he too was armed with questions for me. I guess because he wants to make sure the puppy goes to the right place. As soon as I met the breeder I knew it was a good fit and he was the right one. I just hoped he thought the same about me! Thankfully he did.

When it came to choosing the pup I stood in the area and let the puppy come to me. This wee guy was the one that came to me so I decided to go with him. Next came the name. He ended up being called Ghillie after a text message was miss read. I had a few others but Ghillie just sort of stuck. I like it and also there is a link to the breeder as he is a ghillie!

This is him at 2 weeks old.

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At weeks old he got to come home with me to start his new life with me. I feel a little bit like a crazy dog lady as keep posting photos but at a time in my life where things have not been that great he has been the much needed distraction and companion. It has been less than 2 weeks but he has had such a big impact already and not just for me but also my mum and youngest brother too as well as nephew and sister in law.

The day I picked him up to bring him home.

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The first week has been busy and hard work but it will pay off in the long run. I have discovered how clever he is. We are doing a lot of house training. Not many hiccups although we have had a few times when it is like he has forgotten everything he has been taught but I think it is more because he gets distracted and hyper excited about anything and everything.

Having Ghillie at home is like a breath of fresh air. He is so dependent on me for everything that it gives me a real purpose and not waste away my days. I cant wait for him to be able to go outside so he can explore the world, see the beach and go up north. He is a little monkey as well and knows when he has been caught doing something he shouldn’t he gives me those puppy dog eyes that butter wouldn’t melt.

Below are a few more photos of him. So many people were asking for photos and asking about how he will become a service dog, I have created an instagram account called @ghillieservicepup where you can see photos but I will also post about his training and becoming my service dog as well as my companion.

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Acknowledging one man and his team.

For years I have found I have had to battle and prove myself to my sports coaches if I am wanting to play in a team, also prove myself to teammates that I won’t let them down if they pick me over another player who would 100% be able to last an entire match.

I guess this fight started when I remember as far back as 2003 when the team was being selected for the school tour over to the east coast of America. I was taken aside and spoken to that if I was selected I had to prove I was well enough to go and play the matches. Until then I never thought my position in a team was judged by my health rather it was my ability and skill playing the game. I guess the only exception to this was ski racing where without sounding arrogant and big headed there was no one in school who could come close to my times. Now looking back on it I can see that my position was always given to someone else if I had recently had an asthma attack even if I was given the green light to play again. I would often be missed off team lists altogether. Despite turning up to all training sessions even putting in extra hours of skill work and extra hours of fitness it felt like it was never good enough.

Even playing club sport I would be questioned about if I was fit enough to play and if I was sure. Even if I had the green light from respiratory I would still be questioned and people didnt feel safe me playing. It really made me feel pretty down as I would do all I could to get the green light from Dr’s, attend training but still it was questioned.

But I must say that all changed and it all changed for the good!!!

I wrote a while back that I found myself in goal again after 18 years playing out field in lacrosse I was once again between the pipes. After that first tournament  when I wore all the goalie kit we had and looked like an american footballer (i do not do this now as found it actually made less mobile).

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I found myself enjoying being in goal and found I could play and play a full hour with no bother on my chest and not be a risk to the team. As I knew this was a position I could play and the enjoyment I got from being part of the team again was great, I knew this was for me but I needed practice! Thankfully there was a Development day led by the Scotland national coach which I went along to as the more time I could get to practice was only going to make me better (and a bit more bruised). I was shocked when I was asked to stay for the second day which was for people trailing so I stayed. The weekends to come I stayed for the second day with the aim of trialling for the B team. I had to be upfront about my chest as this was not the place to hide it and there was no way I could do the fitness or keep up with the fitness that the rest of them were doing. For once the coaches were alright about it and understood. It was the first time a group of coaches understood where I was coming from and didnt force me to do something I knew I would fail at. I was really excited at the prospect of trialling and felt it gave me a purpose again to get better and try and keep on top of my asthma and not let it dictate my life.

The final trialling weekend I was devastated when I ended up in hospital. I think I was more upset at the prospect of being on hospital for the trial weekend than I was about my birthday, this was how much it meant to me. I didnt tell anyone this but I guess i can now because it all turned out alright in the end. I accepted that once again my asthma had stopped me doing something and it was good while it lasted so had to be happy with that. In all honesty I don’t think i really dealt with the emotion of it all but because the previous admission was so scary and also the start of this admission has led to a formal complaint going in so my thoughts were all with this rather than the fact that I missed the trial day.

I was over the moon to see that I had been picked to represent Scotland in the B team for Home Internationals down in Surrey in April. I thought it was all over when I was in hospital so to say I was over the moon would be an under statement.

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I owe a huge thanks to the coaching team at Scotland for giving me a chance. This is the first time in as long as I can remember that despite my asthma I am being given a chance to play and the what if’s are not being asked. I guess this has given me a new lease of positivity and renewed fight where before there really was not much to fight for. Next weekend there is a coaching weekend which i am looking forward to as really starting to feel better after the start of the year which was interesting but having positive news and a goal makes it so much easier to get back to it.

Tomorrow I go back to work for the first time in 2016 which I am looking forward to as have been very bored. It is a quicker return to work than normal after only being discharged just under 2 weeks whereas normally I am home 3 weeks as recovery takes a wee while but its time to go back before I go barmy with cabin fever!!!

If I am honest I have not got my head around what has happened at the start of this year but knowing that someone has faith in me keeps it going. I owe a huge thanks for  this but also the inspiration that the Scotland coach his. His passion for the sport makes you want to do your best and play well. It is like its contagious and totally infectious you cannot help but love lacrosse when you are around him and his team of coaches.

The rest of 2016 is going to be a good year!!!