A GUIDE dog born and trained in the Dengie will be flying off to Japan to father new generations of caring pups.

Yellow Labrador Watson arrived in South Woodham Ferrers in March last year, seven weeks old, with his Guide Dog (GD) volunteer puppy walker Peter Blackman.

Over the next year Mr Blackman helped Watson pass all the usual tests and assessments, including lots of extra and unusual ones with flying colours, with Watson now “ready for action” at 17 months old.

However, Watson has been given a special role for his life as a guide dog, as this week he flies off to Tokyo, Japan as part of an initiative by the International Guide Dogs Federation (IGDF).

The Guide Dogs National Breeding Centre (NBC) manages the breeding of guide dogs scientifically with a stock of brood bitches and stud dogs carefully selected for their excellent health, behaviour and intelligence. Watson was in a litter that was identified as “potential breeding stock”.

Exchange of stock between international guide dog organisations helps maintain and enhance genetic diversity and health of the breeding programmes. Japan’s Guide Dogs want to increase their numbers and have asked UK GD to help.

On Monday, Mr Blackman took Watson to NBC at Leamington. On Wednesday he will been taken to Heathrow and on Thursday he flies off to Tokyo.

Watson will then go and live with a stud dog holder family and whenever needed go to meet Japanese GD brood bitches at their breeding centre and if all goes well he’ll be responsible for a few hundred new Japanese guide dogs.

Mr Blackman, who has previously trained dogs which went on to become brood bitches, said: “In October I got a phone call saying ‘Peter, you know Watson and he’s a potential stud dog? Yes. Well he still is, but in Japan!’”

“Watson is a fabulous dog. He’s met lots of people of all ages and has been friendly, gentle and well behaved. We can all be very proud of him and I will miss him.

“We foster the pups and it isn’t the best day of the week when they leave us but it has to be done if they are to go on and do their amazing jobs.”