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Guide dog Carlo ‘was my rock’ after partner and mum died weeks apart

A guide dog owner has spoken of how his companion helped him through the toughest year of his life.

Charles Bloch, from Coventry, has been paired with his guide dog Carlo for the last five years.

The 27-year-old, who works at the Belgrave Theatre, only has 10 percent vision and describes his sight as constantly going in and out of focus like a camera.

Charles was matched with seven-year-old Carlo, who is a Labrador crossed with a Golden Retriever when he was at university.

READ MORE: Police dogs share heartfelt tributes after former colleague who ‘loved her job’ dies

Speaking to TeamDogs, he said: “I got Carlo in 2016, I had had some surgery because my eyesight was deteriorating. He gave me the confidence to do more things and experience university. We did two years together and we graduated together.

“It was a massive learning curve when I got Carlo. I didn’t think of the challenges I would face when it comes to access refusals, these were the biggest hurdles I would overcome.

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“Taxis are usually one as the drivers don’t want the guide dogs in their cars and shops are another one. I think it’s sort of a personal attack when it happens but you just have to take yourself out of the situation, but the people who are doing it don’t know any better.”

Despite facing issues with getting around at first, there have been some times where the only thing Charles could do was laugh.

He added: “We were walking down a supermarket aisle and we came to the dog treats area so I could pick some for him and a few moments later a shop assistant came over to me and asked if I knew that Carlo had got a big dog bone in his mouth.

Carlo is a Labrador crossed with a Golden Retriever

“He was very happy with himself and then I got asked if I would buy the bone which I did. I couldn’t stop laughing, it’s very difficult to discipline him.

“I spend a lot of time telling people not to distract him. But Carlo is very good about knowing when he has and hasn’t got his harness on. You have to be very diplomatic. If someone asks then I will take his harness off and let him say hello.”

Charles landed a job at the Belgrave Theatre last year. However, on the day he was due to start the theatre was forced to close due to the national lockdown then things took a tragic turn during the pandemic.

“Last year, I didn’t have a great year. sadly my partner and my mom passed away within four weeks of each other.

“It was a mad time if I’m honest, so Carlo was my rock. I had to get out of bed and look after him. I had to carry on, but he gave me love and support. He’s one of those supportive dogs who can handle it.

Work also gave me a purpose. He comes to the office with me and wanders around. He’s everyone’s highlight of the day. He’s only in a harness for an hour a day and most of the time he’s asleep, so he has the life of Riley.

“The best partnership a person can have is with their dog.”

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