Teaching old dog a new trick

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Castleford man Donald Tinker is proving that you can teach an old dog new tricks after getting his first guide dog at the age of 91.

The pensioner became Yorkshire’s oldest guide dog owner when he was partnered with Lucy - and the pair have since passed all their training requirements with flying colours.

Mr Tinker started to lose his sight three years ago and it deteriorated quickly. After he was almost knocked down by a bus, his sister - who also owns a guide dog - persuaded him to apply for one of his own.

He said: “Until three years ago I was still driving, but then my sight deteriorated rapidly until now I cannot see further than 25 yards. What vision I have left is blurred. I have two allotments that I tend to regularly and I still walk into the town centre, albeit much slower than I used to. Lucy has enabled me to carry on with my life as normal. She walks at my pace and is totally attuned to me.”

Lucy was provided by the The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association, which provides independence and freedom to thousands of blind and partially sighted people across the UK through the provision of guide dogs, mobility and other rehabilitation services.

Debbie Linford, engagement officer for the charity, said: “At Guide Dogs we want everyone who experiences sight loss to have the freedom to live life the way they choose, and age is no barrier to becoming a successful guide dog owner. People from all ages can apply, as long as they are able to cope with the physical requirements of looking after and working a young dog. Donald can clearly do that.”