A BLIND man says he feels "insignificant" after a barbers told him to leave his new guide dog outside, but the shop claims it was a misunderstanding and nothing "bad" was said.

Terry Quinn, 56, from Bradford, entered the Traditional Kurdish Barber shop, in Shipley, with his partner, and black Labrador Spencer, on Tuesday, August 4.

Mr Quinn, who was registered blind in March 2019 after a slow deterioration of his vision caused by diabetic retinopathy, was just getting to grips again with using a guide dog, after the lockdown brought a pause to their early partnership training which began in March this year.

The duo were out in Shipley doing some practice runs when Mr Quinn's partner decided to pop into the barbers for a haircut.

Mr Quinn, who was not having a trim, wanted to wait in the reception area of the shop, but staff members told him Spencer must wait outside.

The 56-year-old said he explained he is unable to sit or walk without his guide dog and that Spencer is allowed in everywhere he is.

Mr Quinn added: “I asked the staff if they would refuse someone who was in a wheelchair or who had crutches, and they said, 'of course not'.

"I just couldn’t get them to understand that my dog is just like that; he is my eyes.

“My partner suggested we try another place down the road, but I was so panicked by the idea of it happening again, and so humiliated, I insisted we go home.”

Hevar Salah, who has worked at the barbers for two years and was there when Mr Quinn came in, said they didn't say anything wrong or bad and tried to apologise to the 56-year-old on social media after what they describe is a "misunderstanding".

Mr Salah added: "This guy came into the shop with his friend, we've not refused him, when he came in, we said welcome to him.

"He was bringing his dog inside, then we say, 'can you keep your dog outside' - we said please.

"We didn't have anything with any people.

"I tried to explain that basically my English is not that good.

"No one knew about guide dogs.

"When I asked my friend, he said they're allowed everything.

"I didn't know before, now I know."

"He was going out, he didn't want his hair cut, but his friend came in for a cut.

"Because of coronavirus, we didn't know where it was coming from, if the dog, we want to keep our customers safe.

"I tried to send him so many messages.

"We did make a mistake, I am sorry, very sorry.

"What's the reason for coming inside, but I still said sorry and apologised over and over."

Mr Quinn says Spencer has made him feel like he belongs again, but this recent ordeal has been a huge setback.

He added: “This incident made me feel like I was so insignificant, I just wanted to disappear.

"It took me right back to when I first went blind, and I couldn’t leave the house.

"Back to when people would shout at me in the street when I would accidentally touch their parked car with my white cane.

“The first weeks of training with Spencer made me feel like I was on top of the world. I cannot tell you what it’s been like to have that confidence snapped away again.

“I don’t want any special treatment, I just want to be the same as anyone else.”

Mr Quinn runs a Facebook page called "Guide Dog Team Spencer & Terry", which is dedicated to documented his experience of learning to get through life with a guide dog.

The 56-year-old shared his story on the page and it went viral.

At the time of writing, the post has 1,200 likes, 922 comments and 1,300 shares.

Mr Salah says there are those who have commented on the original post threatening to take action against the shop, such as smashing its windows.

He added: "It's still very bad, because of people now thinking bad of us.

"We've got CCTV.

"But people say to me, 'don't go there'.

"People don't know the full story."

"The police came and we explained to police that we didn't say anything bad.

"It's customer's safety for Coronavirus."

Clive Wood, Policy and Campaigns Manager at Guide Dogs, says: “Lockdown may be lifting, but it isn’t for guide dog owners.

"They are still facing illegal access refusals to shops and services, and as Terry describes, it can have a devastating impact on a person’s confidence and day-to-day life.

“With businesses opening up, they should be opening up to everyone.

"There is no excuse for refusing a guide dog.”