Friday, February 12, 2016

Sparkle's down by the bay

Sparkle the Seeing Eye pup takes a sunny afternoon stroll in the idyllic town of St. Michaels, Md.

Sparkle's down by the bay


The gorgeous spring weather was beckoning us on Sunday, so after lunch we set off for the grand old seafaring town of St. Michaels, Md., on the Chesapeake Bay.

With light out-of-season traffic, we made it there in just over two hours and breezed into a parking lot right down by the water. Betsy then took Sparkle on a brisk tour around town, starting at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum . We didn't go inside, but strolled around outside, then headed past the docks into the charming downtown.

Sparkle was moving superbly. She's calmed down a lot in the last few weeks and is reliably obedient on the leash. She made numerous street crossings and investigated some things (like a stuffed giraffe) that she hadn't seen before. 

After stopping in to visit a sailor friend who retired from The Inquirer a few years ago, we headed back downtown to find dinner. We were directed to Ava's Pizzeria & Wine Bar, which had an outdoor patio that was perfect for us. It was starting to get a little chilly after the sun went down, but our patio had a fireplace and an overhead heater. While I kicked back with two Dogfish Head drafts and a fried-oyster sandwich, Sparkle happily lapped water from a bowl the waitress had brought (without asking, thanks!) and then napped till we were done. I'd already fed her dinner after our town walkabout. 

We've gotten the news that Sparkle will be headed back to the Seeing Eye for training on April 3. So we have a little more time for spring touring!

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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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