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A day to remember

SUNDAY 4th November was the day of Canine Concern Scotland Trust's Presentation Lunch. This was held once again at the Royal Ettrick Hotel in Edinburgh and was so well attended it was difficult to get everyone in! We had area representatives from Aberdeen, Inverness, Tayside, Borders, Edinburgh and Glasgow - all over Scotland in fact.

On a personal note it was a special day for me and marked my re-emergence into the real world after having undergone major cardiac surgery in August. Perhaps I could just say a quick "thank you" to all who so kindly sent letters, cards, flowers, etc. which really helped so much. And also those who carried on the work so willingly during my "sick leave".

Now - to the awards themselves, the results always eagerly awaited and so hard for the Trustees to decide upon. Our Therapets and their owners all deserve to win. Perhaps I could start with a new award this year, kindly and generously donated by the family of our late and wonderful trustee and area representative, Dr Morris Andrew, in his memory and that of his wife and their beloved "Daniel and Spaniel". It was suggested and agreed by the family, that the award should be made annually to the Therapet Organiser of the Year as it was felt this would have been especially dear to Morris's heart. The award takes the form of a most beautiful engraved silver Quaiche and is called "The Dr Morris Andrew & Daniel the Spaniel Memorial Quaiche".

James Macdonald with the Iain Whyte Memorial Award for special services to the Trust.

This first very special year the award was made to our hard-working and highly popular Aberdeen Area Representative - Fiona Henderson. Fiona took over very much at a moment's notice when we lost Nina Hood to the added responsibilities of marriage and a new job. In one short year she has recruited many many Therapets in her area and the whole operation is working like a dream. She has given talks to interested groups in her area and spread the Therapet message widely. On a recent long-awaited holiday to Australia she even gave a Therapet talk there! We were lucky to have with us to make the presentation Dr Andrew's two sons, Mike and Neil and daughter Susan. Therapet of the Year

This year the award went to a very special visitor - English Springer Spaniel "Elilidh" - proudly owned by Anne Macdonald, her husband and 11 year old twins Mhairi and Calum. We had some wonderful nominations and I know the Trustees found the decisions more than usually difficult this year, but Eilidh, bless her, was nominated by no less than three different places - the Southern General Hospital Physically Disabled Rehabilitation Unit, the Queen Elizabeth National Spinal Injuries Unit and after a lot of hard work by Anne herself, the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Glasgow. This was not easy as there were many criteria to be met before access could be gained. However, eventually Anne's hard work paid off and this was a first for a Therapet in Scotland. Here is an extract from the nomination by Mrs Helen Ferguson of Ward 2A:

"The children are delighted with Eilidh who is gentle and patient. She cheers them up and children who have been in for some time can't wait till the next Wednesday to see her again. The children range from toddlers to teenagers. Parents and staff have grown fond of her too. It is great to have Eilidh with us as a reminder of the world outside for the children and as a friend who cares for them and treats them all as her friends. She is really one who gives but never takes - perhaps a lesson for us all! The hospital becomes a much happier place for her visits".

Eilidh is a most delightful dog and a real "poser"!! We all really fell for her and it was with the greatest pleasure that we asked Patron Rosemary Long to make the presentation of the "Spencer Award for Therapet of the Year".

Fiona Henderson receiving the Dr Morris Andrew & Daniel the Spaniel Memorial Quaiche,
donated and presented by the family to Therapet Organiser of the Year.

Runner-up to Eilidh was a long term visitor, Sadie Burns, who has been visiting for 11 years, firstly with her beloved Lurcher "Cross Shade" until she sadly died two years ago. And now with "Lassie", a pet rescue dog who happily stepped into Shade's shoes. They visit no less than four places - The Orchards, Possilpark, Golfhill Nursing Home, Dennistoun, Riddrie House and the Four Hills Nursing Home, Possilpark, all in Glasgow. I must quote the letter nominating Lassie from Bridget Reid, Befriending Voluntary Services Manager at Stobhill Hospital:

"What makes Lassie special and my reason for wishing her to be considered for this award is the fact that she suffers from Glaucoma and has lost her sight in one eye. Her illness and the fact that she is a pet rescue dog makes her that little bit extra special: she has such a lovely nature and the patients enjoy her visits.

With all this in mind and the various changes within the Greater Glasgow Primary Care NHS Trust, especially the closure programme of wards and hospitals within the North and East Divisions and the transfer of patients, the Therapet Service has been of great value to the patients helping them to resettle into their new environments".

It was with the greatest pleasure that we asked Rosemary Long to present the runner-up Certificate and special rosette to Lassie and our very dear and special friend, Sadie, never of course forgetting "Shade" who started it all.

And finally - as they say on all the best news programmes - we came to The Iain Whyte Memorial Award which goes to a person or organisation contributing considerably during the past year or longer period to the success and well-being of the Trust's work.

This time it was a real "This is your life" or "Gotcherson which had been kept a very closely guarded secret ... and gave the recipient somewhat of a surprise, as he was under the distinct impression that it was intended for someone else!!!

Anne Macdonald's "Eilidh" - Therapet of the Year.

James MacDonald is a Trustee and also Chairman of the Committee of Management. He is a very active area rep and Therapet Visitor at the Prince & Princess of Wales Hospice. It is impossible to say how often he has represented the Trust accompanied by one or other of his beloved Old English Sheepdogs, whether in schools, Church Guilds, on TV and radio, or at Workshops and seminars held by the Society of Companion Animal Studies which take place up and down the UK and involve a lot of travelling. He is a committed grief counsellor and a prime mover in rescue for Old English Sheepdogs in Scotland. Every May and August he organises and mans the Trust's stand at SKC Championship shows, and just recently his heat of "Stepping Out for Scotland" - our annual sponsored walk - raised a record total of 1,400. His love of animals and devotion to the work of the Trust is absolute. Have I forgotten anything? Oh yes! He is a full-time Firefighter with Strathclyde Fire Brigade! The Trustees were proud and delighted to make the award to James.

I think he has got over it now! Yes, it was indeed a day to remember.

Marjorie Henley Price,Chair of Trustees