Assistance animals

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Guide horse takes to the Tyne and Wear Metro

The Tyne and Wear Metro is hosting a training day for Britain’s first ever guide horse today.

Digby is a tiny American miniature horse - standing at around 33 inches.

He can accompany blind people just like a guide dog and will be going on the Metro system with his owner to get him prepared for his new life.

Katy Smith said she and Digby had both been on a steep learning curve.

"He knows where to find post boxes, he can go across a crossing by pushing a button, waiting for the green man," she said.

"He can press buttons to get into the first class lounge at Darlington station."

Digby
BBC

The Metro was chosen to familiarise Digby with the sights and sounds of travelling on an underground system, before he is deployed on the London Tube.

It gives him the chance to experience trains, stations, ticket gates, escalators and lifts.

'Please don't pat' says guide dog user

A guide dog user from west Cumbria, who is registered blind, is urging people not to distract working dogs.

Guide dog at work
Getty Images

Amy Thompson, 29, and from Egremont, suffers from kidney failure and relies on her dog Magic for help with daily activities.

She says people often want to stroke guide dogs, which can cause them to miss potential dangers:

When he's out he's concentrating, and if you distract that dog, that dog may not see what it's supposed to and somebody may hurt themselves."

Amy Thompson