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The best friend in the world

A FAITHFUL labrador has been shortlisted for the Guide Dog of the Year Awards.

A FAITHFUL labrador has been shortlisted for the Guide Dog of the Year Awards.

Peds has lived with Ian Marks for the past three-and-a-half-years. In that time, man and dog have formed a special friendship and now Peds has been shortlisted in the "beyond the call of duty" category.

It's been four years since Ian lost his sight as a result of type-one diabetes. Because of his illness, Ian has had to have most of his fingers and both his legs amputated.

Without Peds this disability would probably have kept him housebound. Thanks to the labrador he is able to get out and about on an almost daily basis.

Despite being a life-long animal lover he was originally apprehensive about having a guide dog. But today Peds isn't just a pet - he's regarded as a member of the family.

Ian, who lives in Monkspath, had nothing but praise for his canine companion.

"He really is a wonderful animal - so gentle and docile.

"Sometimes he's sitting there and you almost have to poke him to make sure he's alive.

"I don't know how we'd get by without him, he really has changed my life. I can go out on my own, he helps me cross the road and does lots of other things.

"Most guide dogs retire when they're 10-years-old and you have the option if you want to keep them or not. I'll definitely be keeping Peds."

Anita, Ian's husband, was the one who put Peds forward for the award.

"Peds is a placid dog and is not easily distracted by other people or animals," she said.

"He has certainly turned my husband's life around, and it is for this that I would like to nominate Peds."

The couple won't have to wait long to find out if judges have picked Peds as this year's top dog. This year's winners will be announced in London next month.

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Cathrina Hulse
Multimedia Journalist
Annette Belcher
Multimedia Journalist
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