Published: 00:00, 05 April 2002
| Updated: 13:04, 05 April 2002
MOST children will know the story of Merlin the Magical puppy, a cartoon star, which has featured on television in the past few weeks.
And now Merlin has a real life namesake living in Chatham.
Merlin, the black Labrador pup is training to become a guide dog so that he too can learn to make wishes come true just like the famous cartoon character. For many blind and partially-sighted people a trained guide dog is top of the wish list.
The makers of Merlin the Magical puppy, Entertainment Rights Plc, are now sponsoring the guide dog puppy and will pay for his training and life as a guide dog throughout his lifetime. Richard Huggins, Guide Dogs' puppy walking supervisor for Kent, said: "The is a perfect partnership between Guide Dogs and Merlin the Magical puppy.
"Merlin has the ability to make wishes come true and in many ways that is exactly what guide dogs do, by bringing greater freedom and independence to the lives of blind and partially sighted people."
At the moment the tiny black puppy is staying with puppy walker Lyn Kemsley, in Chatham. A puppy walker looks after and trains guide dogs in their first year until they are ready to move on in their education.
Six-weeks-old Merlin has been a bit of a handful for Lyn, 38, and her daughter Harriet, six, to look after in the few weeks since they got him.
Lyn said: "It's lovely to do it but it's very hard work. The first two weeks it's like having a new baby in the house. You've got to have a lot of time on your hands, because you have to be with the dog especially at this age."
Young Merlin is still blissfully unaware of the responsible life that awaits him once he has been through his training.
The hardest part about being a puppy walker is having to give up the dogs once they reach the age of one, but Merlin is Lyn's second puppy so she has been through it before.
And little Merlin knows he has a job to do.