For the Love of Maddison
It’s a special anniversary for me today, 20 years ago today that having waited 18 months for her arrival I walked into my first Scallywags puppy class, clutching my beautiful 8 week GSD puppy under my arms. What a journey that started. We loved our classes, hung on Sally’s every word, practised every day and wouldn’t go away. We did puppy, advanced puppy, and companion, the more we did the more I loved what we could achieve. It wasn’t all plain sailing Maddi was reactive to dogs, another learning curve. Through all our ups and downs we always turned to Scallywags for help. After a while I was talking to Sally and she told me that they were always looking for new instructors for puppy classes and that is how I became one of the team, I was so proud, excited and terrified. I shadowed Kerry and Steve B for a while and then in at the deep end. I was off, training dogs or rather training people to train their dogs. I loved it. Then a once in a lifetime opportunity came about and we bought our own boarding kennels, the only problem was it was in Yorkshire. Just before we left a young GSD needed a new home. His previous owners couldn’t cope with him anymore, strangely Sally mentioned him to us (amongst quite a few clients and friends who had previous GSD experience) We took him, it took 2 hours sitting on Sally’s patio for me to get near him he was very frightened, then he had to be introduced to Maddi and her friend Sam. Sam wasn’t too sure about this whipper snapper, Maddi laid out the rules straight away. We called him Sihon. Their relationship for the rest of her life was of mother and son. He gave her renewed vitality, she gave him a calming influence. In Yorkshire we had a large boarding kennels with an open licence, there were often over 100 dogs staying with us during the summer, all needing to be walked, fed and tended to. My time at Scallywags served me well. A huge learning curve for me, an amazing experience and we changed the attitude of our clients towards a more positive approach to their dogs. We banned choke chains from our kennels, and used positive reinforcement. After 2 years we returned home, I had kept in touch with Sally whilst away and during one conversation she offered me a full time job as she wanted to retire. So I came back to Scallywags, that was 10 years ago.
We lost Maddi on January 15th 2007, I thought my heart would break. My beautiful baby girl had fought CDRM but cancer had reared its ugly head, as brave as she was she was in pain and could fight no longer. One of the hardest decisions of my life. She was one in a million and I didn’t think any dog could take her place. I’m sure you have all know one of those special dogs? But then they are all one in a million, all individual. Sihon is 13 now, how did that happen? He too has a very special place in my heart. They don’t take the place of another dog, they have their own place in your heart. I’m pretty sure Maddi sent River to me, she always did have a naughty sense of humour!!
The journeys I have taken with dogs is amazing. Scallywags has enabled me to learn so much. Last year when Sally fulfilled her wishes and retired, she gave the business to me. Scallywags is not just a business, it is a new way of thinking. It’s about listening, communication and helping. I have always been very proud to be associated with Scallywags, it is something I feel passionate about. I have always loved animals , but Sally has encouraged me, shown me how amazing dogs are. We have laughed together and yes cried together, I have learnt more than I know, so thank you Sally. 20 years when you look forward feels a long time, when you look back in time seems to have shot by in the blink of an eye. Occasionally when talking to clients they ask why I do my job, well the answer is easy it’s for the love of Maddison. To the next 20 years.