herald

Sunday 19 August 2018

Wonderdog Clive is the perfect match for Dubs fan Murray

A Dublin teen will get to watch the boys in blue at Croke Park thanks to his trusted pal Clive -- a goldendoodle dog.

Before Foxrock teen Murray Whooley (13) met Clive, he was too intimidated by crowds and unfamiliar surroundings to even go to watch a GAA match with his family outside.

However, since Clive has come into Murray's life, the boy, who suffers from autism, has been able to indulge his passion for Gaelic football.



Difficult

"Clive has been with us for the past five years really, he was trained by the Irish Guide Dogs who train dogs for blind or visually impaired people, as well as for autistic kids," Murray's mum, Fiona explained.

"Prior to getting Clive, it was even difficult for Murray to go outside, he never felt at ease.

"We're huge GAA fans in the family. My husband Colm used to play football, our daughter Sorcha (14) plays for Dublin's under 14s and when we got Clive, Murray was really happy to go and watch any game.

"It has opened an entire new life for him -- before he couldn't even go to a local GAA pitch, now he can go to Croke Park."

Fiona told the Herald that one of the reasons the family loved GAA was because of the community spirit.

"Everyone just welcomed Murray, they were wonderful," she said,

"It's like with any disability, it can be difficult as people sometimes used to think that [Murray] was an unhappy child or bold, they were quite judgmental.

"Now they see that there is a dog with him and they think twice -- but we never had this problem with the GAA community."

Murray and six-year-old Clive are now so inseparable during matches that they were given the opportunity to be mascots for the Dublin's ladies team during the Leinster final this year.

Murray and his pooch won tickets to the All Ireland final against Kerry on Sunday after Fiona dressed Clive in his team's colours for the Irish Guide Dogs calendar.

"Clive loves wearing a Dublin jersey. I would never put anything on him if it annoyed him but he seems to enjoy it. He's always posing and he looks up for photos when you ask him to.

"He gets really excited and jumps up and down when a game is on and Dublin is winning. I think he can feel what's going on."

The mum-of-two said that the family were putting all their hopes on Dublin now as Murray would be devastated if they didn't win.

"They've been superb this year and it has to continue," she said.

hnews@herald.ie

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