We've received several Sparkle updates recently, but the big one came in the mail yesterday! In a letter to my daughter Betsy, the Seeing Eye says that Sparkle is ready for her Town Walk next month. The Town Walk is a graduation of sorts, in which the puppy-raiser discreetly follows the budding Seeing Eye dog and her trainer around Morristown. Sparkle will act as the guide dog for the trainer as they navigate streets and traffic and any obstacles they encounter in the very busy town.
The Seeing Eye's letter reads in part: "I am very pleased to report that Sparkle exhibits above average capability and willingness in her training and at this time Sparkle shows great potential as a guide dog."
I did speak briefly with Sparkle's trainer, Brooke, last month, and she said they were working on one problem: Sparkle was stopping to "mark" or relieve herself along the route when they were working. Let's hope she's gotten safely past that. Brooke also sent a postcard about two weeks ago in which she said Sparkle was doing well, but they were working to overcome the "park time" problem. "Park time" is the command that the handler uses to get the dog to relieve herself before heading out onto the walk.
I called the Seeing Eye yesterday and set up the date for Sparkle's Town Walk. It's Sept. 10!