Man's best friend on 'walkies' for MS
A SPECIAL dog will show he is truly man's best friend when he accompanies his owner, who has MS, as he walks the width of Ireland.
Paul McGovern (35) said Nanook will be by his side every step of the way for the walk later this month.
Paul, from Dromin, Co Louth, got the Alaskan Malamute after he was diagnosed in 2009- and is glad he did.
"Twice I was in the back garden trying to sort out the lawn and collapsed and it was him who got me up," he said.
Paul said four-year-old Nanook ran from his pen on both occasions and barked at him, then ran around and began to grab at his legs until he got up.
For Paul and his wife Karen, Nanook has been part of their journey with MS to date, and he will be with them during the fundraising walk.
It will see Paul and Nanook walk from the west coast to the east coast, a total of around 240km.
"Alaskan Malamutes are by nature an endurance dog and strong in personality. They are also working dogs," said Paul, who hopes to complete the walk over 10 days starting on March 28.
The pair will leave from Salthill, Co Galway and head for Dunleer in Co Louth.
"I want to raise awareness for MS and for MS Ireland who do so much good work," said Paul.
He also revealed he was diagnosed with a pituitary gland tumour last year, but said it won't stop him undertaking the walk.
"What I really need is someone to donate the use of a camper van for the two weeks," said Paul
He wants it to use during the walk and to transport all of the equipment and supplies needed as well as holding the special food for Nanook.
Paul said he wants to make sure there is a van that Nanook can use to rest in if he gets tired or wants a day off and Paul will walk that day on his own.
"Karen has been my rock," he added. "Not many people would enter into marriage when their partner is diagnosed with MS."
More details can be found on Paul's Facebook page, Charity Walk 4 MS Ireland, or by searching for "MS Ireland Nanook".