Loyal guide dog dies at 13

Cassie has pased away
Cassie has pased away
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A blind woman from Dunbar has paid tribute to her loyal and well-known guide dog, Cassie, who has died at the age of 13.

Over the years Jackie Brown, 46, and her black labrador have raised thousands of pounds for Guide Dogs for the Blind.

Cassie was on the ground to welcome Jackie after she went up in a plane to loop the loop, and played a big part in the Dunbar Doggy Days, and at fundraising collections.

Their efforts enabled the charity to train two guide dogs, Grace, called after Jackie’s late mum, and Murphy.

Jackie wanted to give others the independence she enjoyed thanks to Cassie after she lost her sight to retinitis pigmentosa – a progressive, degenerative eye condition.

Even when she got a new guide dog Olly, a golden retriever, when Cassie retired, she held on to her beloved pal who liked going with her to Boyzone and Westlife concerts. The past two months have been a dual blow for Jackie as she also lost her other dog Penny, a Cavalier King Charles spaniel, to a heart attack.

“It is all still sinking in. I had to do what was best for Cassie – her back end was going,” she said.

Jackie added: “When I got Cassie in 2001, we became firm friends. She completely changed my life around and helped others.”

Cassie was a great comfort to Jackie’s mum when she was ill with emphysema and sister Kate after she suffered an aneurysm. She also “touched the heart” of a woman from Musselburgh who had suffered a stroke and attended the local ‘Headway’ group with Kate.

“Cassie was the first word and name she remembered after the stroke,” said Jackie.