Thursday, September 29, 2011

Gran Fondo NJ 2011 Video Recap

See a few glimpses of Vinson on The Seeing Eye's Gran Fondo recap video. Full 1080p high definition available on our YouTube channel.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Tooth Brushing

Just brushed Vinson's teeth and he actually really enjoyed it. Way to go, bud!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Happy 30 Weeks, Vinson!

Weigh-in: 40.2 pounds

Hiking at Mahlon Dickerson Reservation

Sarah and I enjoyed our first day off in quite a while and took advantage of the blue skies to take Vinson out on a hike. We explored a bit of the Mahlon Dickerson Reservation in Jefferson.

Vinson had a blast taking in the scents of the forest and meeting other hikers.

Sarah and Vinson on the trail

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Having a Blast at the Open House

Vinson is really enjoying the Seeing Eye open house. He's meeting lots of people and tons of puppies. Just got done participating in a puppy club circle demonstration - video to follow shortly.

Vinson with friends in the puppy raising tent

Friday, September 23, 2011

Fast Asleep, Looking Forward to the Open House

Vinson is fast asleep after enjoying his evening at The Seeing Eye brick dedication ceremony. Rainy weather didn't dampen the spirits of the 200 people who turned out to see their etched bricks and socialize with Seeing Eye supporters, staff, and of course, canines!

The little guy is definitely in for another big day tomorrow as The Seeing Eye welcomes 900 people for it's first public open house in 30 years. The day will be filled with training demonstrations, property tours, videos, presentations and a tent full of puppy raisers and their current pups!

Photos and video to come soon.

Another Weekend of Meet-and Greet Events

Vinson is geared up to meet lots of new friends tonight and tomorrow, despite the rainy weather (which he loves anyway!).

This evening, he'll be attending the brick dedication ceremony, celebrating the opening of our new "Path to Independence" made up of etched bricks lining the front of The Seeing Eye's main building.

On Saturday, Vinson will be attending The Seeing Eye's first open house event in over 30 years!

Looking forward to meeting everyone!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Crate Friends

Vinson loves to mimic Garcia's actions. This morning, while Pat and I were meeting in my office, Garcia picked up a Nylabone, walked into Vinson's open crate and laid down, followed by his favorite shadow, Vinson. The two of them calmly played with their wishbone toy for a few minutes and I managed to capture some on this quick video.

Full 1080p high definition available on our YouTube channel -

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Gran Fondo Finish Line

Here's a photo from Sunday's Gran Fondo NJ bike event. Vinson represented The Seeing Eye all weekend, and still sat patiently, ready to cheer on the Seeing Eye riders!

Vinson, ready to cheer

Vinson & Garcia Take the Field

Vinson and his buddy, Garcia, finally got a chance to run in the field together at The Seeing Eye. We setup one camera on a tripod and carried another handheld to get the shots.

Full 1080p HD available on our YouTube channel.

Bed to the Bone

Vinson absolutely loves his new dog bed, but he doesn't like to be in it without some of his toys, in this case, a chicken-scented Nylabone.
Vinson and his bones in bed

Making sure the bone stays put

Monday, September 19, 2011

Morris Frank Park

In between locations during Sunday's Gran Fondo NJ bike event, Sarah and Vinson stopped at Morris Frank park to visit the statue of The Seeing Eye's founder and his guide dog, Buddy. At first, Vinson sniffed and licked the strangely-still German shepherd. Then he sat nicely and posed for this photo.

Sarah & Vinson at Morris Frank Park

Sunday, September 18, 2011

On Our Way to the Gran Fondo NJ Bike Ride

A bright-and-early morning as we head off to video and cheer-on the riders in today's Gran Fondo NJ bike ride! Come on out to cheer on our team of riders!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Passed Out

After a day of GREAT behavior and lots of petting from young and old alike, Vinson is now passed out in his new Orvis bed, resting up for tomorrow's Gran Fondo! We'll see all the riders and spectators at the ride start, the rest stop in Gladstone and at the finish line!

Vinson opens his eyes for a quick photo in his new bed

A Fantastic Day at Greenberry's Coffee Company

The Seeing Eye had great representation and an awesome turnout of supporters at Greenberry's today! With our table setup outside in the nice weather, lots of puppy raisers, graduates, current students, volunteers and musicians, we were a big attraction and spoke to many passers-by about our mission.

Highlights included great music performances (including one by a Seeing Eye instructor), fantastic food and cafe drinks from Greenberry's, coffe-shop staff inquiring about volunteering at The Seeing Eye, riders in tomorrow's Grand Fondo NJ stopping by to learn more and enjoy some refreshments, many people getting to meet Vinson, Garcia and the crew of Seeing Eye canines, and incredibly generous donations from so many - both through Greenberry's and individual donations.

A huge thanks goes out to all involved, and especially Greenberry's and the musicians. Vinson is currently sound asleep after a long day and in preparation for an early morning at the Gran Fondo NJ starting line!

Here are some photos from today's event.

Sarah & Vinson, Holly, Pat & Garcia as we prep for the day
Seeing Eye president, Jim, and his wife Ginger wore their Seeing Eye Gran Fondo NJ jerseys to today's event. They're riding in tandem bike teams in tomorrow's ride.
A dedicate group of puppy raisers and their pups showed up for the day.
Seeing Eye puppy raisers and their pups added fun for all

A Seeing Eye instructor shared his musical tallents

A dog-in-training's view of the musical show

Lots of dogs showed up, including these toy manchesters

Another great musician performs to a crowded cafe

A full house enjoyed the treat and fun, and supported The Seeing Eye at the same time!

On Our Way to Greenberry's in Morristown

Vinson, Sarah and I are heading down to Morristown for Seeing Eye Day at Greenberry's Coffee Company (46 S. Park Place, Morristown, NJ). 15% of today's proceeds will be donated to The Seeing Eye, and Vinson, Garcia and other Seeing Eye canines will be on site to represent the organization.

Come say hello, enjoy the coffees and food, live music and swing by the Morristown Film Festival on The Green. It's going to be a great day!

Friday, September 16, 2011

"Love on a Leash" Puppy Club is Back in Session!

Vinson had a wonderful time at the puppy club meeting tonight. Approximately 30 people and 15 dogs attended, including a couple of very young, new puppy arrivals. Vinson did very well with the group exercises - circle walks, sitting and resting at the end of a loose leash and various patterns.

"Best Friends"

Vinson with the "Best Friends" Statue
Vinson has always been interested in the "Best Friends" statue on The Seeing Eye campus, a bronze statue representing the dedication of puppy raisers and the bond between human and canine. The statues features a young girl sitting down while the pup she's raising sits beside her, looking like he's ready to give her a kiss. A nearby plaque describes the statue in text and Braille.

My Morning View: Shadow Walkers

Vinson & My Shadow
As you know, Vinson and I walk around the training path every morning here at The Seeing Eye. This morning's cool, crisp autumn-like weather made for a wonderful walk.

When we round the corner and walk along Washington Valley Road, the morning sun is always at our backs and I often get a kick out of the shadows formed by Vinson and I walking together. I attempted to get a photo of the shadows this morning and it worked.

The low angle of the sun makes Vinson look even taller and lankier than he currently is - so here's our morning walk from our point of view.
The Stunning Seeing Eye Campus this Morning

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Most Popular Seeing Eye Business Card

Today I ordered another 5,000 of Vinson's business cards as our supplies are running low. Since I first created the cards in mid-May, we have given out 5,500! Clearly, lots of people are interested in doing business with Vinson (in that same time, I've probably given out ten of my own Seeing Eye business cards)!

If you haven't seen his cards, check them out here.

Manicure Success

One of the issues we've had with Vinson is his high-energy resistance to clipping his nails. So, I spoke with one of the long-time Pro's at The Seeing Eye, and today, she successfully clipped Vinson's nails while sharing lots of great tips for success.

If your pup is extremely resistant to the idea of you holding his paws and accessing his nails, you might want to start simply working on holding and handling his paws and praising him, and then move on from there.

In the beginning, nail clipping requires lots of calm patience; and in Vinson's case, this approach worked very well.

If you start the process of clipping, letting the dog finish the process on his terms (squirming away before the job is done) will only strengthen his idea that resistance ends the nail clipping session. Also, it's important to be doubly careful about how close you get to the quick, as any discomfort early on in the process will only make it more difficult to progress. If a nail tip looks too close to the quick, leave it for next time and keep the overall process positive.

Ideally, the goal is to get the dog comfortable with laying on their side, making it much easier to see the quick in the nails and also taking away the dog's "mechanical advantage" that he would have with his legs touching the floor.

Then the patience comes into play. Puppies will inevitably be resistant the first few times, but holding and calmly reassuring them helps. We made no attempt to clip any nails when Vinson was tense, but waited to try (and try again) until he was obviously loose and comfortable. If he pulled back and squirmed, we stepped back to calming and petting him and then would try again after he was calm.

The process took about 15 minutes this time, and with repeated work and consistency, it should get easier and easier every time as the dog gets more comfortable.

Finally, we ended the manicure session with a relaxing belly rub and a few bits of kibble placed near the nail clippers.

Vinson is still great friends with my fantastic coworker and gave her kisses on her way out of the office. Now he's all ready for meeting lots of people at this weekend's events!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Great Pumpkin

Wet nose = wet spot on pumpkin
Sitting with the pumpkin on the steps of The Seeing Eye
Vinson got his first sight/lick/smell of a pumpkin this morning as the Seeing Eye campus begins take on an early Autumn look. First, he licked the side of the pumpkin. Then he checked out the stem. Finally, he sat for a few photos in the golden morning sun. The dark spots on Vinson's nose are wet spots from him sniffing around in the dew-laden grass.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Prim and Proper

In preparation for all of his upcoming public appearances, Vinson enjoyed another full brushing, ear cleaning and bath tonight. His favorite part? The towel-drying. It instantly sends him into hind-runs-faster-than-front mode!

Vinson Appearing at Lots of Upcoming Seeing Eye Events

Vinson will be appearing at many Seeing Eye events in the coming weeks, representing the organization and making some new friends. He'll be on site at:
Hope to meet many of you at some of these events!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Happy 7 Months, Vinson!

Vinson turned 7 months old yesterday and weighed in at 38 pounds. He's clearly in between growth spurts right now, as he isn't gaining much weight from week to week. He's definitely not going to be a giant by any means, but we do anticipate more growth spurts in the near future.

Back to the Big Field Now that the Sun has Returned

Vinson finally got to run and retrieve the ball in the Seeing Eye's fenced field this morning. With the past few week's deluge it was simply too wet and muddy to be safe or fun. He was thrilled to get some running in.

In Vinson's case, retrieving a ball was something he seemed to instinctively do - we never taught him to do it. What we have done is take advantage of that behavior to reinforce what we're asking for when we give him the "come" command. As soon as he gets the ball, I always call out "come" to Vinson, which is improving his recall reliability with or without the ball.

Check out the video below or watch it in full 1080p HD on our YouTube Channel. I managed to get some audio of his galloping paws this time around.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Meet Vinson in Person at Greenberry's in Morristown!

Vinson is featured on the event flyer
Vinson will be on site to represent The Seeing Eye at the upcoming Seeing Eye Day at Greenberry's of Morristown on Saturday, September 17th.

Greenberry's Coffee Company (46 S. Park Place, Morristown, NJ) has generously agreed to hold a Seeing Eye Day from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., with 15% of all proceeds being donated to The Seeing Eye!

We'll be on site with other representatives, including some of Vinson's best human and canine pals! Enjoy some great treats, support The Seeing Eye and meet Vinson! What could be better?

For more information, checkout Greenberry's Facebook page at, or give them a call at (973) 984-5000.

If you'd like to help spread the word, you can download and share the event flyer pictured at left, or share the event information from The Seeing Eye's Facebook page.

If your business is interested in hosting a fundraising day for The Seeing Eye, please send an email to and we'll be in touch.

Rising Rivers

Like so many on the Eastern Seaboard, Vinson and my daily commute to and from work has become quite challenging with the continuing rains and ensuing flooding. Many of our shortcut and back roads are simply closed as water flows over them. Vinson has been somewhat interested by the waves of water coming off the wheels of our car, but for the most part, as is his way, he just calmly takes it all in.

Thankfully, The Seeing Eye campus is perched on a hilltop, so any creek flooding is found further in the valley. Now if we could just get that field to dry so Vinson can have another go with his favorite ball!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Building Trust, Seeing Progress

Vinsons' overall behavior continues to improve as he "matures". We recently began testing leaving him out of the crate while we're out of the house. Like any new situation, we started with a very short amount of time and then gradually increased it.

We still use gates to keep certain rooms and spaces off limits, but so far, Vinson is doing great and hasn't made any messes or chewed anything inappropriate while we're out.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Back in the Company of Friends

Garcia and Vinson posing
Vinson and Garcia are very happy to be back together after Vinson's recent vacation. This morning, Pat and I took them out to one of the many beautiful spots on The Seeing Eye campus for some photos in the sun. Garcia is great at showing Vinson the ropes, and the sat together calmly on a big boulder for some pictures.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Vinson's Adirondack Vacation Video

Exposure: Cloveberry in Sparta, NJ

Vinson was all smiles on the patio
Vinson enjoyed lunch on the patio at Cloveberry as much as we did yesterday! The new coffee bar and cafe has great outdoor seating and freshly made, creative food.

The owners are super friendly and have Vinson's business cards on hand. They asked us to bring him along on our next trip, so that's what we did.

Look for an upcoming fundraising day for The Seeing Eye at Cloveberry later this Fall.