Meet Zorro - the guide dog in training at Baljaffray Parish Church

31.8.12 Photograph Paul McSherry. Rev Ian McEwan and his wife Edith with Zorro.'Photo by Paul Mc Sherry 31st Aug 2012.

31.8.12 Photograph Paul McSherry. Rev Ian McEwan and his wife Edith with Zorro.'Photo by Paul Mc Sherry 31st Aug 2012.

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BALJAFFRAY Parish Church in Bearsden has a special four-legged member of the congregation.

The friendly black labrador, Zorro, who belongs to the minister, Rev Ian McEwan, his wife, Edith, and their four sons, can often be seen sitting quietly in the church on a Sunday.

The 13-month-old guide dog in training even goes to the weekly young person’s meeting, which is run by Edith, and the members have all got to know and love him.

The McEwan family have already previously trained two dogs for the blind as ‘puppy walkers’.

They adopt them when they are about six weeks old and give them back to The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association when they are about one year old.

The dogs then undergo training at a centre in Forfar to prepare them for being placed with a blind person.

The McEwans initially got involved in this project because they fancied getting a dog but weren’t sure about the long-term commitment.

Rev McEwan said: “It’s sad when you have to say goodbye to them but you also feel very proud of them.

“We’d happliy have our own dog now but we’re hooked on this and will continue to be ‘puppy walkers’.

“I’d recommend it to anyone - we find it very rewarding.”

The Guide Dog for the Blind Association covers the cost of vet bills as well as food.

If you are interested in becoming a ‘puppy walker’ or you would like to sponsor a guide dog phone 0845 372 7406 or email glasgow@guidedogs.org.uk. For more information about the charity’s work in Scotland go to www.guidedogs.org.uk/aboutus/localtoyou/scotland/

For the full story buy your copy of Milnagvie and Bearsden Herald - out on Thursday, September 6.