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Sunday October 1 was a most unusual, if not unique, occasion for the church. More than 80 guide dogs and their owners transformed the nave into what looked like a temporary dogs' home!
These lovely, well-trained creatures - mostly Labradors - who go about their work leading their blind owners day by day, and seemingly without any fuss, were in church to celebrate the 75th anniversary of Guide Dogs for the Blind.
The dogs, adorned in their familiar day-glow yellow safety harnesses seemed to sleep throughout some of the service, hardly raising their ears. Canon David Meara, the Rector, was most impressed with their behaviour. "They were beautifully behaved, even barking in time to the music and in the right places at the end of the prayers," he declared. Even when the renowned choir sang 'Love me, Love my dog' the odd woof, woof was heard as if in harmony!
Canon Meara was completely taken by surprise when he was presented with a photograph of a guide dog puppy named after him. Puppy Meara, who is 12 weeks old and being trained at Luton is all set to return to the church in future. "We hope to see him at St Bride's as he grows up and to be able to support his on-going training," said Canon Meara.
This delightful event was rounded off by drinks in the Press House Wine Bar. One of the dog owners expressed great gratitude to St Bride's for the service, one behalf of all present. But for the dogs, well, it was all part of their daily routine of leadership.