Being blind, deaf, and a widower is not easy. Especially if you live alone. Guide dogs can provide excellent assistance to such unfortunate people. However, getting – and apparently, keeping – a guide dog is not always easy. That’s further exemplified by a recent story about how a guide dog is taken away from a blind-deaf widower for being too fat.
Derek Beal has contacted the media and is trying to spread his story because he’s afraid of becoming a “prisoner in his own home”, now that Paddy the dog was taken away from him.
Guide Dogs for the Blind says that they are taking drastic measures by reclaiming the82-year-old’s dog because the dog is overfed. Since Mr. Beal is blind, he’s having a hard time feeding the dog properly and the 8-year-old Golden Retriever has become dangerously overweight.
However, Mr. Beal insists that the dog’s weight is such due to strangers on the streets giving him treats. Plus, according to Mr. Beal, the dog is only “slightly” overweight and is in no health danger.
The man also says that: “They’ve offered me no help to get around and no replacement if they take him away.
“I’m blind and nearly deaf – it’s brutal.”
Beal, unfortunately, suffers from a rare genetic disorder called Usher syndrome. Due to it, he began losing his sight 20 years ago.
The man has also been living alone for the past 15 years, ever since his wife died.
“My son is my only living relative and he works away a lot so is seldom here – and he needs to work like everyone else.”
“I’ll be a prisoner in my own home. The dog is paramount to my whole life, to getting around.”
The man says that if his guide dog is taken away from him, he won’t even be able to get to his own front door.
“They are taking my life away.”
Paddy and Derek have been together for 6 years, which is most of Paddy’s life. And while Paddy is still with him for now, Mr. Beal is waiting for Guide Dogs for the Blind to come and take him anytime soon.
“He’s a chum, a wonderful companion, and he’s a part of me. I’m in a state. I really feel desperate.”
On the other end of the issue is Guide Dogs for the Blind. They’ve said that they can’t disclose information on an individual’s circumstances, but have said that they’ve made the ‘very difficult decision to temporarily remove a guide dog from its owner in Maidstone’.
They also added: “Sometimes, for various reasons, Guide Dogs is forced to remove a guide dog from its owner’s care. It is not uncommon for the guide dog owner to approach the media if they feel the decision is unfair.”
“We understand that having a guide dog removed is very difficult for an owner and we go through a long process before we take this decision, which we only make after exhausting all other options.”