UTTOXETER'S only guide dog puppy is making 'excellent progress'.
Viking is currently under the care of James and Gillian Grainger, a retired couple living in Curlew Close.
The labrador, who is now five months old, will be handed back to Guide Dogs UK when he reaches 11 months.
And Mrs Grainger admitted it will be 'heart-wrenching' to see him go.
She said: "He's doing really well and is becoming a popular figure in town.
"Everyone knows him at Tesco and B&Q and he always gets a lot of attention.
"He's very good at following the commands we've been taught to train him in and I think he's going to make the grade as a guide dog.
"He's our second guide dog and it's going to be really difficult to let him go as he's become a big part of our family.
"Yes, you cry when it happens, but you know you're doing the right thing and your actions will help someone who needs him more than you."
Viking has been enjoying the hot weather and regularly enjoys a dip in Uttoxeter Brook.
The Graingers have even set him up his own paddling pool in the garden, where he revels in 'splashing around'.
Yesterday, Viking completed his first trip to Derby on the train and has been taught to behave and stay disciplined when using public transport.
He also regularly travels by car to see the Graingers' grown-up children in London and Wiltshere.
He will appear at Tesco on Thursday from 10am to 11am, then from 2pm to 3pm, for a collection for the Guide Dogs charity.
Mrs Grainger said: "I know Guide Dogs need more people to look after puppies which they want to become guide dogs.
"They need dog walkers, which is what we're classed as, and it's a shame Viking's the only Guide Dogs animal in Uttoxeter.
"We can't emphasise just how rewarding and fulfilling the whole process can be.
"We think Viking has what it takes but only 30 per cent of the dogs that go in for the scheme actually make it as guide dogs.
"We'd also like to see as many people as possible supporting the cause at Tesco on Thursday.
Anyone who wants to help can do so by visiting the Guide Dogs website at www.guidedogs.org.uk