Sunday, August 31, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Sparkle goes apple pickin'

Sparkle the Seeing Eye pup joins the family on an apple-picking expedition to a local orchard.

Sparkle goes apple pickin'

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Nothing says autumn like a fresh, crisp apple so we headed to Hill Creek Farms, a beautiful orchard in Mullica Hill, for an afternoon of picking. It also turned out to be the orchard's Family Fun Day, so the crowd was bigger than we expected and Sparkle got plenty of unexpected new exposures. There was a busy Moon Bounce, as well as pony rides and other child-friendly attractions.

It was a little too hot for October, and Sparkle was distracted by the crowd at first, trying to go to people who called to her or otherwise caught her eye. This time, though, she was wearing the green vest, so I heard some people say "service dog" as they passed, meaning they knew not to approach her.  It's OK to greet a Seeing Eye puppy in public, but best to ask permission first. A guide dog in harness, of course, should be left completely alone.

We all got worn out after a while, and Sparkle was obviously in need of water, so I took her back to the minivan and filled her bowl from a bottle I'd brought along, while Cathy paid for the apples we'd picked.    

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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