Thursday, July 10, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Sparkle's airport adventure

Sparkle and other pups take a journey to the airport, in which we go through all the steps to boarding and arriving from an actual flight.

Sparkle's airport adventure

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We went on a trip last Saturday morning to the Atlantic City International Airport with the Cumberland County (N.J.) puppy club. Despite the fierce winds and driving rain, we made it into the terminal without a hitch (luckily the parking lots are very close-in there) and met up with our group and our guide.

After a brief introduction in a lounge, we were ushered through all the standard TSA security measures. Betsy and I took off our shoes, we dumped everything in plastic tubs and walked through the scanner. Sparkle was right alongside Betsy the whole way, behaving calmly and enjoying all the company.

Then, after a short wait in a boarding lounge, we headed down a jetway and into a Boeing 737-200. We took seats near the front, and Sparkle glided easily into the cramped space in front of Betsy and settled onto the floor.  We were all ready to go! I joked that maybe the plane would just take off and we'd wind up with Sparkle and the other pups in Orlando. Now, that would have been quite the adventure!

During the discussion on the plane, the puppy-club leader told us that the Seeing Eye actually has several rows of airline seats at its campus, which it uses to train the dogs for proper boarding and comportment on a plane. Since many of the new Seeing Eye dog owners will be taking planes home after they leave Morristown, the training is often put to immediate use.

We then left the airliner, took the stairs down to baggage claim (the attendants even started the conveyor belt for the pups to get used to) and headed out into the Nor'easter for the car ride home.    

Many thanks to the courteous and helpful airport staff for our simulated airline trip! 

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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