Saturday, December 27, 2014

Velma spreads her wings

Sparkle's mom takes a road trip to Delaware just a few weeks before returning for training at the Seeing Eye.

Velma spreads her wings

We try to be creative in taking our pups to places that may be new and unfamiliar to them. Before Velma went back to the Seeing Eye in fall 2009, we took her to the Air Mobility Command Museum at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware.

We walked her around inside the museum and then weaved our way among the planes parked outside. Some of them, such as the giant C-141 Starlifter, were open for boarding, so we walked Velma right on through.  I considered, too, that the person who ultimately gets the puppy as a trained Seeing Eye dog might be doing some air travel, so it would be a good idea to accustom her to walking in and around big airplanes. 

She didn't show any hesitation or nervousness and definitely enjoyed her afternoon at this wonderful aircraft museum. The green vest she's wearing signifies that she has passed certain tests in her training with us. It was awarded to her by the Seeing Eye area coordinator at one of our monthly puppy-raiser training meetings.

After leaving Dover, we drove on to Rehoboth Beach, where Velma strolled up and down the lively main drag, and we all later relaxed on the outdoor patio of the Dogfish Head brew pub. We carry a backpack with the pup's food and water on these trips, so Velma ate her dinner and took a well-deserved snooze in the shade before the long drive back home.   

George Carter
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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