BBC journalist Mohammed Salim Patel, known to people in the north west as a face on its regional news output, has a quite amazing new friend. It's Digby, the guide horse.
Patel is blind and scared of dogs, hence the unusual solution to getting around. It's an American miniature horse, so it's not massively removed from your usual form of guide animal, albeit one that'll produce larger quantities of poo and might be harder to get up the stairs onto an aeroplane.
Digby's currently undergoing the early phases of a three-year training programme, with Patel explaining: "At this moment in time I’m reliant on a lot of people to do a lot of things -- friends, family, asking them if they’re free, if we can go somewhere if they want to do something. If Digby’s successful then it’s a case of, if he’s happy, I just put his harness on and off I go and do what I want to do."
Given that horses can't be house trained, there's one bizarre formality to go through -- Digby may have to wear a horse nappy to be deemed clean enough to enter cafes and restaurants under health and safety rules. [YouTube via Press Gazette]
Image credit: YouTube