Monday, November 30, 2015

Happy birthday, Sparkle!

Sparkle the Seeing Eye pup turned 1 year old today, and we are so proud!

Happy birthday, Sparkle!

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Here's the Birthday Girl herself, modeling Josh's birthday hat. She was a real trouper to stand still for it. That in itself is testament to how she's calmed down. A few months ago, she would have probably mauled the hat before I got the picture.

It was a grand milestone for Sparkle today: She turned 1 year old. We didn't have cake or dog biscuits or any big celebration, but I did get her to pause for a snapshot. Actually, it was about 20 shots, until I finally got one where she was sitting still and the crown was perched on her head. (No Photoshopping required.) Actually, she was very well-behaved, mostly just acting a little bored. Ernie the cat got into the act, too, perching on the arm of the couch and trying his best to distract the pup. His curiosity was piqued by the whole spectacle. After the shoot, we went out in the soggy backyard with Porter and played a rowdy, windy fetch-the-tire game for 10 minutes.

The crown owes to a bit of recycling. Josh's fifth birthday was Sunday, so I took his crown and taped on a large pink Post-It note with Sparkle's name. (You can still see the "5" on it.)  I actually went to the pet-supply store around the corner and asked if they had any "dog-party hats."  They didn't, but it reminded me of the wonderful children's book "Go Dog Go!," which has been making me smile now for over 50 years. The book ("do you like my hat?") ends with a festive dog party in a tall tree.

Another birthday of note: Vinson, the blogging pup being raised at the Seeing Eye offices, turned 11 months today.   Happy birthday, Vinson! 

It's been quite a year for Sparkle. She came to us early last spring as a tiny pup, and now after many adventures, is just a few short months from returning to Morristown for formal training as a Seeing Eye dog. She's confident, increasingly obedient, and doing great on our walks. She doesn't know it, but her puppy days are rapidly drawing to a climax. I'll keep you posted as we turn into the final stretch with Sparkle! 

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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

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