For almost 20 years, Eric Gamsby has relied on a guide dog to be his eyes and give him independence.
But now the frail widower, who was born blind, has been told he is not eligible for a new guide dog because he walks too slowly.
Officials said the 78-year-old may not receive a replacement when his present dog, Alice, retires as he is in poor health which affects his mobility.
The news has deeply upset the retired factory worker, who has had a guide dog since he was 60.
Eric Gamsby with his guide dog Alice. The widower was turned down for a new dog because he walks too slowly
'I'm not Linford Christie - I am an old man not in the greatest of health,' he said. 'I suffer from sciatica so it's hard for me to walk quickly.
'A trip to the shops just two streets away usually takes me ten minutes with a dog. Without one, it will take me twice as long.
'A man came round and checked my pace against Alice and saw how I reacted if she moved left or right. Then he said I wasn't quick enough.'
Mr Gamsby has had the nine-yearold golden retriever for six years but she is due to retire soon.
Without help from the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association, he will have to resort to a white stick, which he said will curb his independence.
'I'm very down about it, very disappointed,' said the pensioner, of Daubhill, Greater Manchester.
'Alice has been a good dog - she's not only a guide dog, she's company. It will be like having a member of the family taken away.
'Compared to walking with a stick, walking with a dog is like a jet plane.
With a stick, you have to swing side to side and it's just not the same.
'You can miss some things. A dog doesn't miss anything and will always find a way for you. It's going to be a struggle with a stick.'
The pensioner has lived alone since his wife Elsie died in 1988. The couple had no children.
It was then that he decided he needed a guide dog and got his first, Zilla, in 1990. He has successfully looked after three dogs.
'Alice has been one of the best dogs I've had,' added Mr Gamsby. 'She is still as alert as ever and she could go on for years.
'They all have their own character and their quirks. Alice loves going out and meeting people. She always puts her paw up to say "Hello".'
A spokesman for the charity said assessments had to be carried out to ensure users can properly look after dogs and benefit from them.
'Factors such as walking pace, balance and ability to care for the dog are all taken into account to ensure a guide dog is still a suitable and safe means of mobility aid.
'The charity was unable to accept Mr Gamsby for a replacement guide dog straight away due to concerns regarding his capability and potential safety to be a guide dog owner.'
However, he added, a final decision has been deferred.
'There were several temporary factors, which meant that the charity took the decision to reassess Eric again at a later date,' he said.
The association considered retraining a five-year-old dog who previously worked as a guide dog but he was still too fast for the pensioner.
The spokesman added: 'A guide dog is just one form of mobility aid which isn't suitable for everyone.'
Pensioner to lose his guide dog for walking too slowly | Mail Online