Scottish Open’s a dog’s life for Skye

2014 07 114208278

Royal Aberdeen’s head greenkeeper Robert Paterson has an unusual assistant to help him carry out his job – a blind border collie. A familiar presence at Royal Aberdeen, five-year-old Skye is the only dog allowed on the course at the Scottish Open this week.

Paterson, head greenkeeper at the club for almost 20 years, says he could not do his work on the Scottish Open course without the company of faithful companion. However, Skye sadly lost his sight at six months old after an accident on the course.
“Although he’s lost his sight, he knows every bunker on the course and uses his sense of smell and hearing to get around.”

“Skye’s a constant companion and is always by my side,” said Paterson.  “When the accident happened, nothing could be done to repair Skye’s damaged optic nerves but there was never a question of what we were going to do. We just adapted life at home and work to suit him and now you’d never know he was blind.

“Although he’s lost his sight he knows every bunker on the course and uses his sense of smell and hearing to get around.”

While the Scottish Open coming to Royal Aberdeen is an exciting time and career-high for Robert, the event will be tinged with sadness for both Robert and his beloved dog.  “Sadly, our other border collie Brodie passed away a few weeks ago at the grand age of 15,” said the greenkeeper.

“Brodie was a real character and a support to Skye as he wore a bell on his collar to help him find his way around. The dogs have always played a huge part in my working life, which is why Brodie has been laid to rest out on the ninth tee at Royal Aberdeen along with our first family dog Shep.

“We all feel a tremendous sadness that Brodie isn’t here for the Scottish Open but Skye won’t be far away from the action.”

Scottish Open TV stars

Skye and Brodie will be starring in adverts for the tournament which will be broadcast in the USA during live coverage of the Scottish Open. The adverts were filmed just one week before Brodie died.

Paterson is proud of the work he and his beloved dogs carried out in preparation for the event. “Holding the Scottish Open here at Royal Aberdeen has to be one of my proudest moments.

“When the first players reach the ninth tee, I know that Brodie and Shep will be right there in spirit feeling pretty proud of themselves too.”

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