The man behind a motorcycle run which raised thousands of pounds to fund a guide dog for the blind says he is “gutted” after being told the black Lab hadn't made the grade.

However, David Saunby organiser of the annual Martin Jennings Memorial Run which in 2021 raised more than £11,500 to train the pup called Kernow - says they are going to try again with Kernow mark two.

Mr Saunby said he was heartbroken by the news but said he hoped that Kernow Mk2, who is still to be born, will make the grade.

“I’m very disappointed,” said Mr Saunby. “Not disappointed with Kernow but disappointed he didn’t make the grade.

“He’s been training for two years but now we’ve got Kernow Mk 2! I have requested a black Lab.”

Falmouth Packet: Kernow will now be housed with a familyKernow will now be housed with a family (Image: GDFTB)

Mr Saunby said he was “gutted” when he first heard the news in an email from Pam Gratton at Guide Dogs for the Blind.

Following the email he spoke to Pam and told her he had decided to go for the option of a replacement dog, which is his right under the current scheme, however if Kernow Mk2 fails then that would be it.

“However, Pam told me they haven’t had a second puppy fail to meet the grade yet,” said Mr Saunby. “It’s heartbreaking that Kernow Mk1 did not make it over the finishing line and I wish him a happy life.”

The reason given in the email for Kernow failing to be suitable as a guide dog was his reaction to other dogs.

It said he had “very sadly” been withdrawn from training due to reactivity towards other dogs when on the lead and in harness.

“This is never a decision taken lightly and much effort will have been undertaken to help Kernow work through this but, despite the trainers best efforts, they have had to come to the conclusion that Kernow could not work safely with someone with a visual impairment” it said.

“They had hoped that perhaps he could have an alternative career as a ‘Buddy Dog’ offering help and support to a child with a visual impairment but the issues he presented would be too challenging and this has also been ruled out.”


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It ended: “I know this will be a great disappointment to you and all your members who raised the funds to put Kernow through training.”

Kernow will now be rehomed by one of the fundraising volunteers and he will hopefully go on to be someone’s very much loved pet.

It is hoped he will join in with fundraising activities but this is never a condition of rehoming and will depend on Kernow’s reaction when out and about.