A BEAUTIFUL guide dog named after Cumbrae was given a VIP tour of her namesake - thanks to her trainer’s special Millport connection.

Kim Neilson, whose father lives in the town, is training to be a guide dog mobility specialist through the Guide Dogs Charity.

Cumbrae is Kim’s first training dog and she says the unexpected link was a complete surprise to her but admitted it couldn’t have worked out any better.

She explained: “I was working as a countryside ranger, but I had taken some dog training classes so decided to give this a go.

“It was a total fluke that my first dog is called Cumbrae and that have a personal connection to the island.

“My dad lives there and my grandparents had a house there when I was growing up, so I’ve been over lots of times.

“The fact he is my first dog as well is really nice and when I found out his name I was so surprised - but really excited.”

Kim, who lives in Braemar, says 18-month-old Cumbrae has proved a huge hit on the island and is already a local celebrity.

She said: “Everyone loved him. My dad had told people about him and we were getting stopped in the street.

“He was a very important pooch for the day, with everyone keen to know all about him and the work her will do - and they thought it was so lovely that he was called Cumbrae."

Cumbrae visited the island as a tiny pup and loved the journey his breeders took the decision to name him after it.

Kim says the super-smart Labrador is getting to grips with his new role with ease and will be ready to help his new owner by Christmas.

She said: “Cumbrae is going to be a great guide dog, it’s almost like he has been pre-programmed for it, he picks up everything straight away.

“He seems to enjoy the guiding work and he’s going to be really easy to match because he’s just so adaptable.

“Some of the dogs can be working in Glasgow or Edinburgh city centre where there are lots of distractions, so they have got to be able to focus because they’re the eyes of the person.

“He will be paired with his owner for training together by October and by Christmas he should be living with his new family.”

Guide Dogs is currently investing in its services and is increasing the number of guide dog trainers and mobility specialists.

For more information on the charity go to www.guidedogs.org.uk