Top dog Dez charms bookshop customers

Gazette Series: John Tovey with his guide dog Dez at Thornbury Bookshop on Saturday (3136664) John Tovey with his guide dog Dez at Thornbury Bookshop on Saturday (3136664)

DEZ the award winning guide dog accompanied his master to Thornbury to meet readers at a signing session.

The black labrador helped John Tovey get himself back together again after diabetes suddenly robbed him of his sight.

John, 45, of Almondsbury, thought his life was over but thanks to his four-legged friend and the charity Guide Dogs, he regained his confidence and motivation.

His loyal companion has now given his name to a book written by John, copies of which were signed for customers at Thornbury Bookshop.

A Dog Called Dez tells how John, who had experienced an unhappy childhood and ended up drifting in and out of trouble, was getting back on track when he was dealt a major blow and became blind three years ago.

As a result he lost his job, was unable to pay his bills and had to leave his home, leaving him feeling isolated and depressed.

Eventually John asked for help and when Guide Dogs introduced him to Dez, it led to the start of a major change.

Dez, who is nearly four, helped John learn to live again and last year they won the Life-Changing Partnership Award in the Specsavers' Guide Dog of the Year Awards. Dez was also named guide dog of the year.

John's book, which was only recently published, shares the highs and lows of his life with readers and tells how man's best friend taught him to love life again.

He said: "The signing went very well, with Dez charming everyone who came through the door. He brought people in just with his eyes.

"He's a real character and before Christmas would come flying in through the door and sit by the tree because he knew there were presents for him."

Proceeds from John's book are being donated to Guide Dogs.

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