Partially-blind Mansfield man praises guide dog Abby for 'saving my life'

A partially-blind Mansfield man who campaigns and fundraises for the Guide Dogs charity has heaped praise on his precious dog Abby for “saving my life”.

Wednesday, 18th December 2019, 6:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 18th December 2019, 6:00 am

Nathan Edge, 25, a revered supporter of the charity, was walking alongside his dog on December 13 when Abby stopped and would not cross a busy road.

Despite Nathan calling for the ‘forward’ command to move Abby onto the road, the Labrador-Golden Retriever cross refused to move because she could see something Nathan could not – an oncoming electric car.

Protecting Nathan from what he describes as a “silent killer”, Abby saved him from something that could have been much worse – as he had no idea the car was approaching.

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Nathan Edge with his guide dog Abby.

“I did what I do every single day as a blind person”, he said. “I stood patiently at a drop curb, listening out for traffic, waiting for the opportunity to cross.

“When that point came, I gave Abby the command ‘forward’ to cross the road. It was at this point all that work put in by the charity, her puppy walker and her fantastic trainer, well and truly paid off.

“Rather than following my command, she instead remained rooted to the spot and didn’t move.

“This was because a completely silent electric vehicle was driving down the road just yards away. An electric vehicle with no engine sound that was impossible to hear approaching.”

It was just seconds after saying “forward” that Nathan realised why Abby chose to stay still, as he heard tyres splash through a puddle and “sensed a large vehicle pass by”.

He believes if it was not for his precious Abby, the outcome could have been “so different”.

“Abby and I cross roads every single day without incident, and it’s very rare she ever has to make the decision to ignore a command”, he added.

“However, as well as guiding me around obstacles and being the best companion ever, she also can assess situations like these and keep me safe.

“I have no doubt that if I was out with my cane rather than a guide dog at this point, the outcome of this situation would have been so different.

“For me this proves two things. One, as good as they might be for the environment, electric vehicles are potential killers without an engine noise device. And two, these animals are simply incredible.

“It’s days like today that really make you realise how fortunate we are to have a charity like Guide Dogs who provide such highly trained dogs, one of which may have just saved my life or at least prevented me from serious injury.”