Sunday, November 23, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Not every pup's calling

Our first Seeing Eye puppy, Porter, is now 7 years old and a wonderful family companion.

Not every pup's calling

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It will be seven years this summer since we got Porter, our first Seeing Eye puppy, to raise. Although he was a bright and enthusiastic pup, Porter did not complete formal training at the Seeing Eye. His situation is not unusual; about 60 percent of the pups actually complete their harness training at Morristown and go on to become Seeing Eye dogs. 

When the dog is turned down, the puppy raiser has the first option to adopt him or her. There is also a long waiting list at the Seeing Eye for other people to adopt the dogs for a fee.  Still others are destined for security duty, perhaps as detection dogs at an airport or train station.

A dog that is not chosen to lead the blind is by no means regarded as a failure by the Seeing Eye, he just has a different calling in life. Porter did very well, according to the reports we received, but he had a problem with "emotional urination" that could not be overcome. Luckily, we have not suffered this "meltdown" at home! 

I'd also like to share some links.  The Seeing Eye is raising a puppy at the Morristown campus and has a very attractive, delightful blog at http://www.seeingeyepuppy.com/ showcasing the daily life of Vinson, who is a bit younger than Sparkle.  Vinson has had many adventures in his short life, including suffering a broken leg, which has since healed. There's also great nuts-and-bolts advice about puppy-raising straight from the experts who have been doing this since 1929. For general information on Seeing Eye puppy-raising, visit http://www.seeingeye.org/raise/default.aspx

Finally, my Inquirer colleague Amy Worden has a wonderfully wide-ranging blog, Philly Dawg, that has a wealth of fresh information about dogs and everything else animal-related at http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/pets/

George Carter
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About this blog
George Carter, The Inquirer's weekend national/foreign editor, has always counted dogs among his closest companions. According to family lore, he learned to walk by clinging to the side of a saintly patient mutt named Spanker. In turn, one of his earliest hazy memories is of tossing treats to the family dogs gathered expectantly on the porch of their Maryland farmhouse. It was only natural then, that when George saw a newspaper ad looking for families to raise puppies for the Seeing Eye of Morristown, N.J., he bit at the chance. From the start, it has been a family project, with teenage daughter Betsy as the official puppy-raiser. First there was Porter, a big-hearted yellow Lab born on Memorial Day 2004. A few years later, the Carters raised Velma, a gorgeous Lab/golden cross. Just a couple weeks ago, Velma's 7-week-old daughter Sparkle arrived as the latest family charge. George, Betsy and mom Cathy are thrilled that Sparkle is from Velma's very first litter. You can reach George Carter at 215-854-2411 or by clicking here. Reach George at gcarter@phillynews.com.

George Carter
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