A Scottish kennel assistant took on the renowned Kilt Walk to raise money for a charity that supports retired police dogs in Scotland.
Eilidh Paterson, 34, from Kilcreggan, completed the 22.6-mile route at the Glasgow Kilt Walk on Sunday (24 April).
Eilidh, kennel manager for the Ministry of Defence Police Dog section, DM Glen Douglas, has so far raised £580 for the Thin Blue Paw Foundation, a national charity that supports, protects and celebrates working and retired police dogs.
Eilidh joined the Ministry of Defence Police Dog Section team in 2015 and soon fell in love with the ‘friendly dogs who absolutely loved their job and their handlers’.
She added: “I have loved every day since I started, even the soggy ones! The dogs I work with are fantastic; they all have their own unique personalities and are very good at their job.
“The team of handlers are a lovely, kind bunch, the head of our establishment is very supportive of the work the dog section does, and both civilian and army veterinary teams are excellent at ensuring all of our dogs are in peak condition and great health.
“Two of our dogs are retiring in the near future and while I hope that they never need help, it’s so reassuring to know that there’s a charity out there to help them if needed. I decided I wanted to do something to help them raise funds.”
Eilidh first heard of the Thin Blue Paw on social media.
She added: “My Nanny had been telling me about seeing Finn the police dog on Britain’s Got Talent. I found them on Twitter and followed their story. It was incredible to hear their story and find out about the charity they’d helped to found.”
The Thin Blue Paw Foundation provides financial support to police and Ministry of Defence police dogs when they retire from service. They don’t receive any ongoing financial support when they retire and can often be difficult to insure due to injuries and health conditions sustained during their working lives.
Charity trustee Dave Wardell said: “Owning a dog can be expensive but, thankfully, we can insure our pets so that if the worst happens we have financial assistance to ensure they can access the very best treatment possible.
“Sadly, it’s not always possible to insure ex-working dogs and these canine heroes often step down from their jobs with old injuries, ongoing conditions, or medical problems as a result of their age but also due to the strenuous working lives they’ve had.
“These dogs deserve to live long and happy retirements so we launched the charity to ensure that the financial burden doesn’t rest solely on the shoulders of their new owners. But, with 300 dogs to support and tens of thousands of pounds going out on claims every year, we need our wonderful supporters to help us raise vital funds by taking on charity challenges just like Eilidh!”
Eilidh decided to raise funds for the Thin Blue Paw when her friend asked her to take part in the Kilt Walk, running from Glasgow Green to Balloch.
She decided to take on the challenge and raise funds for the Thin Blue Paw, and completed the route in just over seven hours.