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...

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Disc Drive

Vinson had a big time a few minutes ago as I introduced him to a new chew-proof Frisbee. He seemed very surprised that if flew so differently from a ball and he was SO proud to bring it back to me, hopping and leaping like a rabbit!

Vinson leaping on his first retrieval of the Frisbee - it looks like he's standing up with his front paws crossed!

Look at me!

Pure joy!

Great success!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Vinson Featured on Gift Shop

Vinson seems to pop up everywhere. His latest feature is a new banner on The Seeing Eye's online store homepage. Hard to believe that tiny pup is now 55 pounds of dog!

Vinson at about 5 weeks of age, taken at the Breeding Station

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Kicking Up Snow

There is no doubt that Vinson is a particularly high-energy dog, and with the Seeing Eye paths snow-covered this morning it was off to the field instead for some obedience and high energy play. The low angle of the morning sun combined with the fresh dusting of snow made for some great photo moments... and now, all is quiet in the office.

Vinson loves the Planet Dog whistling ball

Full tilt


Here I come!


The return of Dumbo

Here I am!

The investigator

Vinson always sits before the toss

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Reflections of a Puppy Raiser

As the days pass, we, like a lot of puppy raisers, have certain thoughts on our mind:
  • How will Vinson do in training?
  • Will the office be uncomfortably empty when he stops sharing his days with our team?
  • Who will his trainer be?
  • Who will he be matched with?
  • Where will he end up living?
  • Will he indeed make it all the way through to the match?
Time will tell...

    Tuesday, February 7, 2012

    Come On, Let's Play Ball!

    Vinson looking at me as if to say, "Come get the ball from me".
    Knowing I had a very busy meeting schedule at work today I wanted to be sure Vinson got some extra exercise this morning, so to the field we went, ball in hand. Vinson had a blast as always and is presently snoring on the office floor in the sunshine.