Double trouble leads former soldier to seek a special pet

Former soldier Laura is fundraising for a special canine companion.
Former soldier Laura is fundraising for a special canine companion.

Laura Ellis is a woman on a mission - a potential lifesaving one - as she fundraises for a specialist epilepsy awareness alert dog.

Laura, who lives with her partner and their five children is well-known around Linlithgow as she’s the women and girls co-ordinator for Linlithgow Rugby Club’s female teams.

Formerly a soldier in the Royal Artillery for nine years Laura left the armed forces following her last tour of 
Afghanistan in 2012.

Diagnosed as suffering from both epilepsy and PTSD the young mum struggled with conventional medicine and treatments before her own GP suggested she look at the website for Service Dogs Europe.

Laura said: “I’d never heard of the organisation, so was excited to learn that they train dogs which can assist people with epilepsy, autism, diabetes and many other conditions.

“They’re amazing dogs really. Apparently they are trained to scent on a particular chemical and can give up to a 20-minute warning of an oncoming seizure - for me that would be a huge benefit.”

The dogs cost £6600 and are supplied at 12 weeks old in order that they can be acclimatised to the individual person’s home environment.

The costs are broken down into various ‘stage’ payments. Laura was required to pay £500 to just have a dog assigned to her. Her next payment of £1500 is due on July 12, with two further payments of £2300 at eight and 12 months after Laura receives her puppy.

In order to reach these 
targets Laura has a fundraising page set up at: www.letsgofun, which is linked into Service Dogs 
Europe so Laura never actually receives the money raised as it is transferred directly to the charity.

Laura said: “It’s a fairly 
rigorous training regime that we both have to go through.

“I have to take the puppy to West Calder three times a week for the first year, as well as there being various assessments in between.

“This service dog will allow me to sleep without worrying I’m going to fit and let me and my family know.

“This is my last shot at a normal life with my family.

‘‘I know it’s a lot but every penny will count.”

A spokesman for Service Dogs Europe said: “Our mission is to aid both children and adults affected with disabilities and/or their caregivers to gain greater mobility, independence and peace of mind through a partnership with our trained Service Dogs.

‘‘We place service dogs with recipients and provide information and education through public exposure of dogs in training.’’