Guide dog Dez has won the prestigious title of Guide Dog of the Year 2012 after helping his owner, John Tovey, to turn his life around.
Dez was named top dog by Adrian Chiles at the ceremony in London last night. The TV personality also handed awards to six other winners who have made a significant contribution to Guide Dogs.
The annual awards are organised by Guide Dogs and sponsored by family-run opticians, Specsavers. They celebrate the success of guide dogs and their owners, and the people who make these amazing partnerships possible.
Dez, a two-year-old black Labrador, is owned by John Tovey. John’s life went into a downward spiral after he lost his sight suddenly as a result of diabetes two years ago. He lost his job and couldn’t pay his bills, forcing him to move, which left him feeling isolated and depressed.
Guide Dogs partnered John with Dez in September last year and he quickly began to get his life back. Dez’s energy and support has given John both the confidence and motivation to get out and about again, rebuilding his ties with his family and the community.
Commenting on his experiences, John said: “Before I got my guide dog I wouldn’t get out of bed for days. Since having Dez, life is worth living again – he’s given me my life back.
“I’m absolutely delighted that Dez is Guide Dog of the Year. I’d like to dedicate the award to my Guide Dog Mobility Instructor, Emma Yard, to thank her for all the work she put in with me and Dez.”
Congratulating John and Dez on winning the Guide Dog of the Year Award, Adrian Chiles said: “John and Dez’s story is a real inspiration. All guide dogs give their owners a new lease of life but the help Dez has given to John goes beyond all possible expectations. It has been a privilege to be involved in the Specsavers Guide Dog of the Year Awards and I want to congratulate everyone on the first-rate work they do to help people living with sight loss.”