[Vision2020] A Very Touching . . . and True Story

Tom Hansen thansen at moscow.com
Thu Mar 10 17:47:34 PST 2011

Courtesy of the Daily News (U.K.) via a friend and loyal Viz subscriber.




Blind man keeps his old guide dog after it loses its sight... and then gets
a new one who now leads them both around

By Daily Mail Reporter


After six years of loyal service, Graham Waspe was devastated when his guide
dog Edward was left blind after developing cataracts.


But his devastation turned to joy when his replacement Opal turned out to be
a real gem.


Mr Waspe's new dog is not just aiding his owner to carry out everyday tasks,
but also helping Edward to get around.


Mr Waspe, of Stowmarket, Suffolk, received his new dog last November after
Edward developed the inoperable problem which resulted in him needing both
eyes removed.


And the two-year-old bitch has stepped in where Edward left off as they tour
their old haunts together.


While Edward is well known across the schools and community groups of
Suffolk, Opal is now building his own reputation as their owners give talks
about the Guide Dogs charity, training for such special dogs and the
incredible ways they help their owners.

Graham said: 'Opal's been great for both of us. I don't know what we'd do
without her.'


And his wife Sandra, 58, said that despite the loss of his eyes, Edward
still loved nothing more than to be around children, have his tummy tickled
and receive lots of attention.


The eight-year-old has been retired for four months but the loss of his
eyesight has shown no sign of slowing him down.


Sandra said: 'We were both devastated and cried buckets on the night they
told us they were going to remove his first eye.


'Graham said then "do you think he will ever be happy again?" and then they
said they would have to remove the second eye.'


She added: 'He is still very popular - just as much, if not more than


'People ask lots of questions about how he copes and he is probably more
famous now because even more people stop to talk to him.'


Sandra said Opal had arrived shortly after Edward retired and the two dogs
got along fine.


'Opal arrived far quicker than expected because, sadly, a couple of people
in the Stowmarket area with fairly young guide dogs had died,' she said. 


'We got Opal on November 12 and she started training with Graham on the 16th
and they were qualified in early December.'


Mr Waspe has limited vision in only one of his eyes following two separate
incidents earlier in his life and coped without a guide dog until 2004.


As well as carrying out their school visits to raise awareness, the Waspes
also do vital fundraising and run a local group.




Man (and dog's) best friend: Graham Waspe cuddles up with guide dog Opal
(left) and Edward at his home







Best buddies: The Waspes say the two dogs have got on fine since they came
together, with Opal taking Edward to all his old haunts






Popular: The two dogs have attracted a large number of admirers during their
tours of schools and community groups in Suffolk






Seeya round town, Moscow.


Tom Hansen

Moscow, Idaho


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