Blunkett's dog meets a long-lost brother

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The Independent Online
IT WAS an emotional family reunion, made all the more exciting by the attendance of the Prime Minister and his senior aides. But this was not the encounter between Clare Short and her adopted son, nor the Booths attending the wedding of Cherie's father.

David Blunkett's guide dog Lucy finally met her long-lost brother Marcus at last week's Labour Party conference.

The resemblance between the two dogs, both black lab-retriever crosses, was so marked that security officials were warned in case they moved in to remove Marcus from his owner, thinking that he belonged to the Secretary of State for Education and had been dognapped.

"I thought I had better tell security because they look so similar," said Lisa Bhogal, 24, assistant secretary of the Labour Party Disabled Members' Group who owns Marcus. "I was delighted when they met. Tony [Blair] came up and said 'Those two look similar'. It was a brilliant surprise."

The relationship emerged after Ms Bhogal raised a point of order from the floor of the conference about the lack of Braille documents. After conference backed her calls, Government officials liaised between her and the Education Secretary to try to sort the problem out.

When they remarked on the resemblance between the two dogs - and Ms Bhogal had pointed out their relationship - a meeting between them was set up.

Tony Blair also attended. Both dogs were trained by the Guide Dogs for the Blind. "They are very similar," said an aide to Mr Blunkett. "David was pleased to have a chance of the meeting."

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