Paula Abdul Gifts Guide Dog to American Idol Contestant

Last Friday American Idol host Paula Abdul surprised the first visually impaired contestant with the gift of a guide dog.

Paula Abdul has joined Natural Balance Pet Foods, Petco and independent pet stores nationwide to raise funds and awareness for guide dogs, with more than $2 million expected to be raised during May. Abdul coaxed Scott MacIntyre to an event for the National Guide Dog Month by asking him to sing at the event, when in fact he had been asked to attend to be presented with a guide dog.

MacIntyre had previously told "Access Hollywood" that Abdul had pulled him aside and said, "I have a wonderful surprise for you in a couple of weeks". He began playing piano by ear at age 3, though he has been visually impaired since birth. Classically trained, he has been profiled on CNN, Sky News Europe, USA Today, and other media as pianist, vocalist, and songwriter. He has independently released 6 full-length CDs.

"Being part of this important cause is truly special and very close to my heart," said Paula Abdul. "Most people have no idea how much time and money it takes to train these beautiful animals to give such a precious gift to those who need it most. It can take more than two years and $40,000 to properly train a guide dog. Together, we can help guide dog schools provide more of these life-changing partners to people who are blind."

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