Loyal guide dog gets owner home before it dies
Apr 5 2010 by Sam Casey, Huddersfield Daily Examiner
David Quarmby and Comet
A LOYAL guide dog defied death to ensure his owner made it home safely from a 120-mile trip.
Comet the Labrador retriever battled through agonising pain so that David Quarmby, 61, got back from Birmingham to Newsome, via Manchester.
Minutes after they arrived at Mr Quarmby’s home on Edale Avenue, Comet collapsed and died from a tumour.
Mr Quarmby said: “He got me off the bus, across the road and up the drive.
“As soon as we got home, I took his harness off, he took a couple of sniffs and collapsed.
“Comet was a brave and marvellous dog who will be missed enormously.”
Mr Quarmby, who works for West Yorkshire Probation Service and is chairman of the National Disability Network, travels all over the country to attend various events.
He was at a conference in Birmingham on Tuesday when eight-year-old Comet started experiencing problems.
Despite showing signs something was wrong, he helped Mr Quarmby get the trains from Birmingham to Manchester and Manchester to Huddersfield and the bus to Newsome.
A vet was called after Comet, who had been with Mr Quarmby for seven years, collapsed.
He had a tumour on his spleen and died while being given anaesthetic.
Mr Quarmby is now waiting for a replacement dog capable of travelling the long distances.
He said: “I’m gutted. It’s like losing a part of you when they are so close to you.
“He was my shadow – everywhere I went, he went.”
A spokesman for Guide Dogs for the Blind Association said: “Our priority at this time is supporting David and his mobility needs over the coming weeks and months.
“This is an incredibly sad and unusual case.
“Guide dogs are bred and trained to transform the lives of their blind and partially sighted owners and this case clearly highlights the strong bond between a partnership.”