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170 Seeing Eye Puppies Visit Newark Airport

A collage of 4 photos: A smiling raiser holding her yellow Lab puppy's leash in the terminal; raisers handling yellow and black Labs through the metal detector at TSA's checkpoint; a yellow Lab head pokes out from under an airplane seat, looking at the camera as if smiling; raisers and their puppies walk down the aisle of the airplane to find seats.

Can you imagine walking into the airport and spotting 70 puppies there? Over two Saturdays in May, 170 Seeing Eye puppies and 200 puppy raising volunteers visited Newark Liberty International airport and gained exposure that will be important to their future as working Seeing Eye dogs. The puppies had the opportunity to become familiar with emergency equipment and vehicles, TSA security, baggage claim, the air train, and practiced boarding an airplane. This trip was made possible thanks to the cooperation of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the U.S. Transportation Security Administration and United Airlines.

The visits were an annual occurrence for 25 years prior to the pandemic. The visit this May was the first since 2019. 

“These outings provide important exposure and prepare each puppy for their future as a Seeing Eye dog,” said Peggi Howard, president and CEO of The Seeing Eye. “The puppy raisers look forward to our visits to Newark Liberty International Airport, and we are so grateful to the Port Authority, the U.S. Transportation Security Administration and United Airlines for continuing to welcome our volunteers and puppies.”

“These types of opportunities are a win-win,” said Tom Carter, the federal security director for New Jersey for the U.S. Transportation Security Administration. “It's a win for the dogs, who have the opportunity to get familiar with the checkpoint experience so that when they come back with the people they are trained to assist, they’ll be comfortable in the checkpoint environment. And it’s a win for the TSA officers participating in this event because they have the additional opportunity to review and practice our procedures for screening service dogs.”

Four local news stations followed the puppies through the airport and ran stories about the importance of the puppies' outing and our mission. Be sure to check out the full story on CBS New York at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=08y_IMsxnh8