Sunday, September 21, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Sparkle meets the Nittany Lion

Dropping daughter Betsy off at a camp at Penn State, we take Sparkle the Seeing Eye pup on a tour of the gracious campus.

Sparkle meets the Nittany Lion

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Penn State's campus turned out to be an ideal day trip for Sparkle. She rode quietly on the nearly four-hour drive there, with one potty break at a rest area on the turnpike.

After we got daughter Betsy settled in at her camp, we found wonderful hospitality at the Whiskers restaurant, inside the on-campus hotel, which gave Sparkle plenty of ice water while we all cooled off in the air conditioning and ate a very late lunch. (It was hard to find a place to eat on campus on a Sunday afternoon in the middle of the summer.) 

Then we headed off on a wide-ranging tour of campus, where we encountered the Nittany Lion statue and politely waited our turn behind some children for a picture. Sparkle got some great exposure, with pedestrians, crosswalks, and a few busy streets. We headed down to the sprawling arts festival, where Sparkle greeted several well-mannered dogs on leashes, and we cruised past the bandstand.  Sparkle was the picture of grace and self-assurance. 

Everyone was so polite and helpful, and the campus looked lovely.  We headed back to our car, and promptly got stuck in a miles-long line of traffic trying to get out of town. Sparkle took that delay in stride, slumbering peacefully on the floor of the backseat and never stirring till we got home. 

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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