Charity challenge fit for a boy and his dog

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A BOY’S best friend is his dog — and in Blair Young’s case, his four-legged pal is helping him along on a charity challenge.

The seven-year-old Carolside pupil will be tackling the Cani-x 4-mile challenge next month in aid of Canine Partners — a charity which trains assistance dogs to help disabled people with everything from opening doors to getting dressed.

Merrylee boy Blair will have assistance himself, as three-year-old yellow labrador Isla — one of three family dogs — will be by his side throughout.

He told The Extra: “My dogs are very important to me and they are all special so I know how important a dog can be in helping people.

“I want to help Canine Partners to raise money to help people with disabilities. The dogs help by being their friend and helping them do chores around the house.”

Blair and rescue dog Isla have been running together for two years, and the youngster also takes part in an annual fun run with mum Pauline.

He added: “Isla helps me go faster because she’s a very fast runner, and I like running beside her. She makes sure I don’t fall and looks after me.”

The young runner was introduced to the charity by Giffnock resident Val Burns, of the Glasgow Dog Training Club — also a Canine Partners puppy parent who trains new dogs until they’re paired with a service user.

All that training must be paying off, as Blair has already surpassed his initial £200 target.

Mum Pauline commented: “In some ways it didn’t surprise me that he wanted to take part — Blair is very thoughtful and adores animals. And he already understands the benefits service dogs can have for many people.

“I’m incredibly proud of him for taking on this challenge.

“I’m cautious that Blair doesn’t run long distances often as his joints are still growing and he has asthma, but he loves to run with dogs and other people.

“He’ll find it difficult, but Isla will motivate him to keep going — there’s definitely a special bond between them when they’re running together — and I’m sure he’ll outrun me!”

Blair and Isla’s Cani-x challenge will take place on March 30, when they’ll tackle the forest trails at the local windfarm — to follow their progress or to sponsor Blair, visit