Blind student despairs without ‘poisoned’ guide dog

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A YOUNG, blind psychology student believes somebody has poisoned her critically ill guide dog.

Lourdes Fernandez, who has been blind almost since birth, relied almost completely on her black Labrador Lily to get about Malaga City, and says she has felt lost since the guide dog was taken into a veterinary hospital at the end of February with severe kidney failure.

Police have asked for reports from the vet and intend to start an investigation as, apart from Lily, who the family suspect was poisoned, two more dogs in the neighbourhood have been taken ill and another has died.

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The family began to suspect the guide dog had been poisoned upon finding remains of dry dog food and chocolate scattered in the area the dog used to go to the toilet.

Lourdes commented that neighbours had complained about the smell of urine and also of bleach as they cleaned the area on a daily basis.

The 28-year-old explained that she spent years on a waiting list for her helper as guide dogs are scarce in Spain, and that she finally got Lily, worth approximately €42,500, from the US thanks to the Lions Club charity.

Since Lily became seriously ill, Lourdes has almost become a recluse as she explained she didn’t feel safe going out without her ‘eyes’ and had to rely on a stick and her family to get to classes at the University of Malaga.

“Lily was everything to me: my friend, my companion and a magnificent guide. She went everywhere with me, to lessons, out with my friends, everywhere guide dogs were allowed to go,” Lourdes explained.

Now Lily, who has lost 10 kilos in weight as she can hardly eat, is fighting for her life and will never be able to work again, while police begin to hunt for possible culprits.

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