A BLIND woman said she felt ‘humiliated’ after being asked to leave her guide dog outside when she entered a charity shop.

Sara Irvine said she was told no dogs were allowed when she went into the Evesham charity shop recently and has spoken out to try educate others.

Ms Irvine said: “My support worker tried to explain that Rosie is a working guide dog, but I felt so humiliated and had to leave.”

Ms Irvine from Pershore said she is often told that she “doesn’t look blind.”

“I find it so frustrating having to justify myself constantly to people, despite having Rosie for over four years.”

“A lot of people ask me if I am training a guide dog and when I say it is mine they say I do not look blind and it does not look like I need one. I get this almost every day.

“Other people say that if I pick up dog mess then I can’t be blind.”

Ms Irvine had problems with her sight when she was young and a number of operations to repair a brain tumour has made it worse.

“People need to “open their eyes” to guide dog ownership. People perceive that if you own a guide dog then you must be totally blind, but this is not the case, I’m severely sight impaired, but registered as blind.”

“Life has been very tough for us all this year but people need to understand how wonderful guide dogs are and a vital part of people lives who have sight loss.”

Ms Irvine said blind people are often misjudged.

“I only have a ‘vertical letterbox’ bit of vision in my right eye remaining, but I’m still getting judged for having a guide dog.”

“When out, guide dogs are trained to find the door, so if you are queueing we are not being rude by pushing in. Thankfully Rosie is very good at waiting.”

Talking about how Rosie helps her, she added: “Rosie is my best friend, she is not just my eyes but she gives me independence and security.

“She stops me falling over and passing out, I was told that if I do that again I could lose my sight permanently.

“She gives me confidence to leave the house and to do my shopping without causing problems for anybody else.”