Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Not Quite Yet

The matching process of human and canine is a huge, and almost magical part of The Seeing Eye experience for our students and staff. Instructors spend four months training their string of dogs, and along the way make careful notes about pace, pull, distraction, energy and other characteristics that will later help them in matching canine to student.

The instructor also evaluates each student through discussion and "Juno walks" (the instructor holds the harness handle, acting as the Seeing Eye dog, and guides the student in various environments, getting an idea of how fast a person prefers to walk and how much pull they prefer). The instructors then combine what they know about their students and what they know about their canines, mix in a some gut instinct, and determine the match.

This morning, students in the October class were matched with their new dogs. After careful determination, the instructors felt there is not a proper match for Vinson's pace, pull, energy level, etc. in this particular class, so he will remain on campus with daily walks and enrichment, and perhaps some additional training, until the next class arrives.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Things Change... Quickly!

We've never had a doubt about Vinson's intelligence, and he's apparently proved his quick-learning skills over the last few weeks!

We received a note from Lori telling us that Vinson has done extremely well working on his distraction issues in the last few weeks and that he is ready to be matched if the right student is in class. The new class starts next week, so keep checking back: Vinson remains full of surprises!

We'll keep you posted...

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The Town Walk: A Great Worker, Still Goofy!

Sarah and I attended Vinson's town walk yesterday and had the chance to watch him working through town in harness. Along the way he displayed intelligent disobedience during traffic checks, guided Lori around an obstacle and posed for some photos at the end.

True to his nature, Vinson still maintains his puppy energy, and unfortunately, his puppy tendency to be distracted by blowing leaves, balls, etc.

Vinson is working excellently in harness, but his instructor is concerned about his distraction level. Because he seems so smart, confident and willing to work, Vinson will be assigned to a second instructor to work specifically on the distraction issues and allowing Vinson more time to mature.

So, as has been the case since day one, Vinson continues to write his story his own way. At the end of the month, he'll begin bonding with his new instructor who will have all of Lori's reports on him available.

Could be a few more months now, and the possibility of Vinson "changing careers" is still out there too. It's all up to our crazy, happy puppy at this point.

Special thanks to Lori for sharing part of her afternoon with us to explain all of the great training she's done with Vinson.

As promised, here's a video of Vinson's town walk. Check back for updates, and enjoy!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

One Week Until the Town Walk

Just a week to go until Vinson's town walk where he'll proudly demonstrate all his new guiding skills. Be sure to check back for the video of how far he's come!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Town Walk Invitation!

Vinson is doing very well in training and time has flown by. Hard to believe, but we've already received our invitation for his town walk!

The town walk is a huge moment on the puppy raising timeline - essentially like Vinson's graduation from training. A Seeing Eye volunteer will walk with Sarah and I as we travel through Morristown observing Vinson guiding his instructor through complex intersections and around obstacles.

Because we need to respect the bond Vinson has formed with his instructor, we will observe from a distance - about half a block behind the team. We will be able to take photos and video of his performance (assuming our proud tears don't fog up the lense!). The volunteer will explain a bit about Vinson's training and the learned behaviors as he exhibits them, including the all-important intelligent disobedience - the ability to refuse to follow a command when the dog knows it is not safe to do so.

Vinson's town walk will be in the first week of September, so be sure to check back to get a chance to actually see him working! As I promised when I began this blog 16 months ago, we will share this proud yet personal moment with all of you - the culmination of our year of work with Vinson and Lori's four months training him.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Half Way Through: Postcard from Vinson

Today another postcard from Vinson arrived, marking his being half way through training. The card reads:

Hi Mom & Dad!

I'm taking a break from playing in the kennel to fill you in on my training so far. I'm half way through and I have already learned so much! I know how to stop at curbs, take Lori around things on the sidewalk and keep her safe from moving cars when we cross the streets, driveways and parking lots.

We did our first blindfold this week and I was awesome! Granted, there weren't any real distractions out there that day. If I had seen any kids or dogs or birds, I'm not sure how it would have turned out (here, Vinson drew a smiling doggy face).

After blindfolds we started freelance. So far I have been on a bus and a train. Next week we'll start working in stores and we'll go  to New York City! I've heard there are lots of pigeons there - should be fun!

Anyway, Lori loves my spunk and is working hard to teach me to channel my energy! Wish us both luck (Vinson signed with a paw print)!

Love, your puppy Vinson and Lori

Here are photos of the actual postcard:


Monday, July 23, 2012

Moonlighting as Puppy Raisers for a Week

A visit to Lowes this weekend
Sarah and I have the pleasure of puppy-sitting for a fellow puppy club member this week - so we have a 1-year-old male black-and-tan shepherd staying with us. Watson has been very accepting of the new house guest - especially considering the guest is an unaltered male shepherd!

Feels good to get back in the puppy-raising swing of things. We took our new friend to Home Depot and Lowes this weekend and he did very, very well. He is quiet, respectful and loving, but still full of puppy energy. The best part? I have a dog in the office once again! Gate closed, Nylabones out, water dish full. The funniest part? My canine clown car commute. I swear I am responsible for an awful lot of smiles, laughs and some head scratching from fellow commuters on Route 15!

Watson (left) and his new buddy
Vinson's trainer, Lori, says he continues to do well and improves every day. They've been doing lots of harness work in and around Morristown (you may see him out there if you're local). She says they are working some distraction issues which is no surprise to us, or to any of you who've been reading about Vinson! All signs still point to him completing training. He's now about half way through the four-month program, so if everything went according to schedule, he could potentially be matched with a person who is blind as early as October!

Sarah and I have had lots of questions about whether or not we'll raise another. The answer is YES! We've already spoken with Jill, our area coordinator, and are just waiting to be sure Vinson "graduates" before we get a new little fella. We'll keep you posted!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Independence is a Very Special Word at The Seeing Eye

It's in our mission statement. It's the tag line on The Seeing Eye logo. And Independence day happens to be a doubly special day here.

Today happens to be "dog day" for the July 2012 class of students - the day they meet the dog that their instructor has chosen for them; and for the first time, I'll have the incredible privilege to witness the moment when person and dog meet for that very first time and begin forming a bond that will come to define independence for many years.

It'll be one more insight for me into some piece of Vinson's upcoming future too. One day, he'll be the dog being introduced to the student, surely with a wildly wagging tail and big Lab kisses.

We did receive the official letter from The Seeing Eye telling us which instructor Vinson was assigned to - Lori - although in our unique case, we already knew this since I can see the two of them working together out my office window.

Reports are that Vinson is doing great in training, confidently and happily taking on new challenges. All signs point to him making it through to be matched, but he still has three months of training to go.

Give your canines a special hug today and take some time to reflect a bit on the many meanings of independence.

Friday, June 8, 2012

In Harness!

Just saw Vinson out the window of my office at The Seeing Eye and today was his first time working in an official Seeing Eye harness with his instructor! I'd caught glimpses of Vinson working just on leash the last two days - the first day he was wild on leash, pulling and lunging like he used to do on occasion. Yesterday he was energetic but somewhat more controlled. This morning in the harness, he looked very controlled and incredibly proud - chin up high, tail up and wagging. Incredible. A pretty special milestone.

Yes, it is somewhat difficult to watch Vinson working and not be able to interact with him, but I'm also finding it's very satisfying to see him progressing towards the goal. Would I like to run up to him and give him a hug? Of course, but the plan is in motion and he's doing great, and that's what matters most!

Keep checking back - I'll post updates as he progresses.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

More Great News

Vinson up to his usual antics
While I am not permitted to interact with Vinson during this time of transition for him, many staff here see the little fella quite frequently. One snapped this photo this afternoon, showing Vinson is 100% himself as training time nears. As he always liked to do with people and dogs alike, Vinson is trying to force some play using a Nylabone.

More big news: Vinson has been officially assigned to an instructor and Seeing Eye dog training will begin as early as tomorrow!!!

Friday, June 1, 2012

A Postcard from Vinson

Sarah and I received a postcard from Vinson yesterday, telling us he's having fun with his new friends in the kennel. The bigger news is that he successfully passed his medical examinations, including his X-rays (which is great, given his early puppy-hood leg break). Vinson will "be assigned to an instructor very soon".

Way to go, buddy!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Vinson Update

I was lucky enough to briefly hear how Vinson's doing in the kennel. Sounds like he's adjusting well to his surroundings and his new kennel mates. Today is a big day for him - and probably one he'd choose to skip: neutering.

We'll be thinking about our little yellow, groggy friend. He's in great hands!

Watson Gladly takes the Top Dog Spot

Watson with his new "blue baby"
Since Watson arrived in our home about half way through raising Vinson, despite being an imposing ninety-pound shepherd, he assumed the second dog spot in our pack. Sarah and I were curious to see what changes we'd see in him after Vinson's departure.

There are moments when Watson is obviously missing Vinson - certain times during the day when they always played. In Vinson's absence Watson has now become top dog and it seems that I've become the surrogate playmate, tennis balls repeatedly dropped at my feet in the living room.

Overall though, Watson is loving his new, quiet realm. He'll roll onto his side, stretch casually and just enjoy relaxing - a move that would've drawn immediate and relentless play from Vinson just a few days ago.

Perhaps Watson's favorite change is the return of soft dog toys! Vinson could not be trusted around destroyable toys, or frankly anything soft including clothing and paper. When we adopted Watson his favorite toy was his "blue baby" and we had to hide him away out of Vinson's reach. Last night Sarah brought home a new blue baby and Watson was overjoyed, as shown in the photo.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Adusting to a Quiet Home

Sarah and I had a nice long weekend to begin adjusting to a household without Vinson. Watson, our shepherd, took to the change very quickly, enjoying the chance to lay around with his toys without being tackled, chewed on our yelped at. For us humans the transition is a bit slower but going fine.

One of the most noticeable changes is the incredible silence in our home, cars and my office. Even by puppy standards, Vinson was on the high end of boisterous behavior, so his absence is palpable.

What are we missing most? Vinson's groggy morning kisses. The way one side of his lip would get stuck on his tooth, making him appear to be making a funny face. Playing ball in the big field at work.

It was difficult to travel to The Seeing Eye this morning without my little yellow friend. Thankfully Watson still makes the trip with me, but walking into the office without the wild yellow pup seemed very odd - like I'd forgotten something at home.

Yes, there are lots of reminders of Vinson everywhere we go: toys scattered at home, work and in our cars; water dishes at work; bags of puppy food; bitter apple spray; and of course, photos and videos. They're all great reminders of the incredible year we shared with him.

There are some positive changes for us too. Trash cans are back on the floor where they belong. Tissue boxes have been returned to reachable places. Our household dog poop and hair shedding output has been cut in half. Socks and shoes can once again sit out of the closet. There are no more trips outside during work - always the comedian, Vinson had a way of waiting to park until the weather let loose a downpour.

We do wonder how Vinson's doing in the kennel - if he's adjusting to his new bunk mates and routines. But overall the transition has been slightly easier than we thought it might be. It is manageable in that we always knew this time would come - he was a Seeing Eye puppy from the day we met and we knew he'd end up back here for phase two of his journey.

Sarah and I are super proud of what we've done together in raising Vinson. We worked very hard to get him through some unexpected moments, from breaking his leg to eating underwear. Now it's all up to him and the trainers. We're hoping for the best and will keep sharing our experience as the days move on and as we hear any progress updates from The Seeing Eye.

In the meantime, thanks so much for the wonderful comments you've been sharing through this blog and on The Seeing Eye's Facebook page. It's been over a year of shooting and posting photos and writing about our experiences on the blog and it's really fun to hear from all of you who've been on the other side of the screen!


Thursday, May 10, 2012

and then he was gone...

Vinson has officially gone back for processing. Sarah and I had lots of support from Jill and Seeing Eye staff and made it through fine, although we shared some happy tears with many staff who've come to love him as we do.

Vinson proudly wore his official Seeing Eye Dog collar as he headed across the campus with Jill. We were given a certificate marking our achievement of raising Vinson and a letter detailing the communications we'll receive from The Seeing Eye regarding his progress.

Ryan, Sarah and Vinson, posing for one last "family photo"
Vinson happily showing off his official Seeing Eye collar

A closeup of the collar - the plate is engraved with "The Seeing Eye" on one side and has Vinson's name on the other

Our final sight of Vinson heading to the kennels with Jill, taken through my office window screen

Vinson by the Numbers

Day 1 at home
  • 10,000 Vinson business cards handed out
  • 3,000 “sit” commands
  • 1,100 poops picked up
  • 388 days of puppy love
  • 350 blog posts
  • 270 trips to The Seeing Eye
  • 200 pounds of dog food
  • 30 close human friends at The Seeing Eye
  • 24 car interior cleanings
  • 18 puppy club meetings
  • 15 Nylabones well-used
  • 10 trips to the vet
  • 6 leg splints
  • 4 different crates
  • 3 pairs of footwear “altered”
  • 3 cats annoyed
  • 2 dog beds shredded
  • 2 leashes destroyed
  • 2 clothing items eaten
  • 1 Christmas tree knocked over 
  • 1 hurricane lived through
  • 1 Seeing Eye holiday card feature
  • 1 incredibly special goal
Would we do it all again? You bet!

The Big Day!

Today is the big day we've been working toward since that special day - April 18, 2011 - when tiny, 7-pound Vinson entered our lives.

At noon today, Vinson's area coordinator, Jill, will meet Sarah and I in my office at The Seeing Eye to officially bring Vinson to the kennel. There, his processing will begin - health screening, neutering and evaluation, after which he'll be ready to be matched with a trainer.

We'll be posting any information we receive about Vinson's progress along the way. We're keeping our fingers crossed that he'll be able to focus on his job and be a great success, but no matter how everything turns out we're super proud of him!

Here's a photo of Vinson playing with two Great Danes in the big field this morning!

Vinson and the Danes

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Ball with Garcia

Vinson had a chance to play ball with Garcia one more time today at lunch. As always, the two of them had a blast together!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Field of Dreams

Throughout Vinson's time as a puppy he's had the great opportunity to run and play in a very large, safe field at The Seeing Eye. As his call-back date comes very close (this Thursday, May 10!) I've been giving the little guy some extra play time (okay, I've been giving myself a little extra play time with Vinson!).

This morning we had a great time playing ball and Vinson plopped down to rest among a sea of flowering dandelions, making for a nice photo...

Vinson, smiling as usual!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Final Puppy Club Meeting

Vinson attended his final puppy club meeting last night and had a blast as usual. He did great at most of the routines, while some younger pups reminded Sarah and I just how far he's come. The club members wished him well in the next part of his adventure.

Super excited to greet the pups

Proudly demonstrating the puppy circle

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Chance Meeting

Vinson and I just ran into Vinson's dad while outside on lunch! The two met briefly and then went their separate ways.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

One Incredible Year: Vinson's Anniversary with Us

Remember this tiny pup?!
One year ago today tiny Vinson came to our home. We knew he would change lots about our daily lives but we never could've predicted how many experiences we'd have and how much we and he would learn in the year to come: Potty training, broken leg, ingesting underwear... it might sound like a tough bit of work but it's been nothing but a pleasure overall.

We're sure proud of how far Vinson has come. Now we'll see where he goes from here.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Vinson's Pal, Garcia, Featured in Seeing Eye Video

Garcia in a Race Car from the video
Vinson didn't make it into the latest Seeing Eye video, but his great friend Garcia did, and he has a "speaking" role!

Check out the short video on The Seeing Eye's YouTube channel.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

May 10. The Date.

Just spoke with our Area Coordinator, Jill. Vinson's recall date is officially Thursday, May 10. Exciting. Sad. Momentus. Here we go...

Easter "Cousin"

Vinson came along to Easter dinner and spent the afternoon playing with his "cousin", a Shih Tzu named Stewart. Like Vinson and Watson, the two made an odd but happy couple!

Vinson and Stewart

Dog Day Afternoon

Vinson, Watson and I made a visit to Pat and Garcia's house over the weekend. Pat was pet-sitting for two dogs - a chocolate Lab and a cockapoo - and had his own dogs - Garcia, Tye, Minnow, so between us we had a house of seven dogs for the afternoon. What a riot!

Vinson and Watson loved the company and took advantage of the fenced yard to run and play with their new and old pals.

A kitchen full of dogs while Pat cooks

Friday, April 6, 2012

Great New Friends

This morning Vinson had a special opportunity to say hello to the current SESY (Seeing Eye Seminar for Youth) class at The Seeing Eye. A few times a year, The Seeing Eye hosts high school students who are blind or visually impaired for a seminar that includes a chance to experience traveling with a Seeing Eye dog.

Vinson and I entered the meeting room while the students were on break. They immediately noticed the sound of a dog on leash entering the room, and Vinson quickly assumed his spot as the center of attention - petting and lots of kisses ensued.

Another touching Seeing Eye moment...

Thursday, April 5, 2012

New Vinson Spring Banner on

Vinson's latest banner features a spring theme and is now in rotation on the homepage. I used a photo of Vinson and combined it with a shot of two blooming daisies, one of which has a bright red lady bug on it.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

and then the Phone Rang

Just got off the phone with Jill, our Puppy Development Area Coordinator. It was the call we knew would be coming soon; Vinson is being summoned back to The Seeing Eye for processing into the training program!

This is a monumental moment in the puppy raising process - the goal we've been shooting for but the bittersweet moment when Vinson's time with us must come to an end.

The Seeing Eye provides raisers with an adequate return window of time to accomodate family planning and allow for flexibility. Vinson must be handed over to Jill between April 23 and May 10.

It should be said that being called back for training does not guarantee Vinson will complete the program. He will go through thorough medical and behavioral evaluations, and then move on to harness training. At any point during this time a problematic issue could eliminate him from guide consideration. But for now, aside from his wild puppy energy, we have no reason to think our little friend won't go on to do big things. And if he doesn't, he's got a permanent home with Sarah, Watson and myself on standby.

Once Vinson goes in, I will no longer be able to interact with him as that can cause distraction and interfere with the need for him to bond with his trainer. This will be difficult for me since I will inevitably see him around campus.

My hope is to have some kennel and training staff share information which I can post on this blog so we can all learn about our pup's experience once they leave us. 

It's just a few weeks now... Stay tuned. The part that people always ask us about is coming.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Airport Video

Here's some video from Vinson's adventures in the airport.

Vinson Goes to the Airport

SeatedSiblingsClubs AssemblingHappy as Can BeClub Members PoseAirport Bus
Airport Bus Dog ViewOn the Tarmac!Outside the Port Authority FirehouseSome Serious TrucksGoing UpCruising through Ticket Check-in
Security CheckpointThe SmilerCute QueueWaiting PatientlyWaiting to BoardLots to See
Club PhotoUnusual DistractionBoardingFlight CrewOn Board!At Rest

In this morning's sunshine many Seeing Eye puppy raising clubs assembled at Newark Liberty Airport for a special outing and new sights and sounds. We had a fantastic turnout with enough raisers and pups to fill four airport buses - I'd guess 90 people and 50+ pups!

This is a very special opportunity to bring these puppies through many experiences in a short time: We circled giant fire and rescue trucks on the tarmac, rode on buses, walked through line queues, experienced slick floor tiles, waited in lines, walked through a tunnel and actually boarded an airliner!

Vinson did very well overall, but in true "Vinny" form, he had a plan to steal the show. While not the only pup to do so, Vinson was the first in the crew to "take care of business" on airport grounds. Despite careful preparation and timing in our morning routine, Vinson pooped on the big sidewalk right out front of the terminal. Not to be outdone, others followed, but Vinson made sure he was the first. A quick cleanup and we were on our way inside.

The above photos show many of the moments from today - I have video clips that I'll post shortly. Special thanks to the club leaders, the raisers, the pups and the good folks at the Port Authority, United Airlines and Newark Airport for a great experience.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Morning Moment

Vinson starts every day like it's going to be the best day yet - smiling, tail wagging and ready to meet and greet the world. Early this morning as we made our way down the long corridor at The Seeing Eye we met up with a large group of students in the new class. The students could hear Vinson's jingling collar and his expressive breathing as he got closer; they asked if they could meet him.

Since the class began yesterday, the students don't have their dogs yet, so interference was not the concern it normally would be for me when working Vinson around class activities. Vinson proudly went directly into the center of the group and made himself comfortable for petting and kisses.

Big smiles were on all faces - including mine and Vinson's - as the students headed out for a morning of training and we headed up to get to work. Another wonderful Vinson moment.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Changing Seasons. Barking Reasons.

With the wildly warm March weather I opened up the windows at home the last few nights and this brought on a new barking behavior. Along with the fresh breeze, the sounds of neighborhood dogs barking also drift in the windows.

Vinson does not bark at other dogs when meeting them or seeing them from a distance, but apparently hearing them without seeing them is a trigger for his bark response. Just goes to show that there are still things to work on regardless of puppy age.

Beyond that, Vinson is visibly maturing and settling down somewhat. Experienced raisers always tell me to expect Vinson to begin to behave really well, just about the time he returns for training. Looks like that may just be the case...

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Sharing the Spotlight: Watson Turns Two

Watson loves to squeeze into cozy spots where he shouldn't fit!
Not to be outdone by Vinson's recent birthday, Watson is two years old today and he'll be celebrating with some extra play in the big field on lunch break. Happy birthday, big fella!

On the Ball...

Vinson continues to grow and mature and is starting to look a lot more like his big buddy, Garcia, than the little wild pup he was just a few months ago. Still, hillarity happens.

Vinson had extra energy today since I wasn't able to properly exercise him yesterday, so we headed to The Seeing Eye field this morning. Vinson loved retrieving the ball in the balmy spring air, but at one point he dropped the ball and didn't immediately return to me - a sure sign that he's looking for a place to "park". After he parked I moved in with the bag, but when I got close to the ball I could see why Vinson was staring at it, puzzled. He had somehow managed to poo right on top of the ball.

They sure keep you smiling - somehow even when it's a gross "prank"!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012


As of tonight Vinson weighs 56 pounds.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Happy First Birthday, Vinson!

Vinson is one year old today! To celebrate, Sarah made cupcakes for the Seeing Eye staff and took the day off and came to work with Vinson, Watson and myself.

Sarah, Vinson and Ryan

On the table with the cupcakes we posted a collage of photos from the adventurous ten months of Vinson's time with us:

Plenty of great memories

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Celebrity Seeing Eye: Two Meet

Vinson had a brush with fame (apart from his own!) today at The Seeing Eye, meeting NBC 4 New York's Janice Huff. Janice was visiting campus in preparation for an upcoming program (I'll post the air dates tomorrow) and took the time to say hello to Vinson and I. While Vinson is not a part of the piece filmed today it will be a great story when it airs.

Show Air Times:

If you are in the NY Metro region, tune in to NBC News Channel 4 on Wednesday, February 29 at 5:30 p.m. or you can catch the repeat airing on Sunday, March 4 during the 7 a.m. news hour.

Friday, February 17, 2012

12 Month Behavioral Assessment

Believe it or not, this was Vinson's official Breeding Station photo!
As a puppy raiser you are required to complete a 6-month and 12-month assessment of the puppy's behavior for The Seeing Eye. I just completed Vinson's 12-month version. The purpose is to let the puppy development team and your area coordinator have very specific information about how the puppy behaves in a variety of situations.

As you all know, Vinson is an incredible dog but he can be quite a challenge and an odd little fellow too. It's super important to be very honest on these assessments so staff from The Seeing Eye can identify patterns, help address particular issues and gauge how the puppy you're raising stacks up against the average.

Topics in the assessment include:
  • Training and obedience
  • Aggression
  • Fear and anxiety
  • Separation-related behavior
  • Excitability
  • Attention-seeking
  • Miscellaneous
If you've been following along for the last ten months you probably know which of those topics are and are not issues for Vinson.

Aggression, fear and separation-related are issues we have not had to worry about with Vinson. He loves everyone and every dog he meets and wants to play all the time; and despite being used to being around people nearly 24-hours a day, he also easily quiets down in his crate when we go out to dinner or the like.

Excitability, attention-seeking and miscellaneous on the other hand, well... these are where we've had our struggles. 

The final part of the assessment has a spot for general comments that says "Please describe other bizarre, strange, or repetitive behavior(s)". One only needs to look back through this blog to see examples of these bizarre activities! Here are some highlights from my submitted response:

Vinson is a wonderful but odd boy! He obsesses over things - paper products are at the top. If you blow your nose and then walk to the garbage with the tissue in your hand he will jump at your hand and try to actually eat the tissue. We recently caught him eating toilet paper directly from the roll, and tissues right out of the box like a self-serve buffet. He would eat a garbage can full of paper towels if uninterrupted. Leaves outside are of little interest until they are scattered by the wind. He begins happily pouncing on them as if they are tiny little toys. Vinson has a fetish for metallic objects and will lick gates, collars, buckles and the like if given the opportunity. Stickers are another paper-based fascination for him. Bar codes on the bottom tray of the crate, price tags on a box - he will lick and chew at them until he has them completely removed if possible.

Overall, Vinson is one special dog - driven, happy, boisterous, loving and full of personality. He is fearless, non-aggressive and just all around happy. With that said, some of his behaviors are just plain strange and despite our corrections, they continue to occur. He is very high energy and we walk and run him every day, but sometimes even a 3 mile walk is not enough to completely tire him out.

Just like people, every dog is different and unique. Vinson has many more positive than negative qualities and is a wonderful companion. We're hoping we can work through his little oddities so he can be partnered with a student. Time will tell...