Art and Katie Petitt didn’t decide to train puppies for the Seeing Eye in order to bring customers to their Cartridge World ink and toner store in Morris Plains. But that has been the happy result of having the playful pups in their shop.
Those who volunteer for Seeing Eye’s Raise-a-Puppy program are entrusted with acclimating their little four-legged trainees to people, other dogs and different environments. “The store is ideal for that,” says Art, “because they get to experience the constant flow of people.”
Since 2006, the Petitts have raised four Seeing Eye puppies; all have spent time in the store. When the second puppy, Palmer, was dropped from the Morristown-based program because of a medical issue, Seeing Eye asked the Petitts if they wanted to keep him as a pet. They did. These days, Palmer, a 4½-year-old golden retriever, is always in the store and plays a big brother’s role in socializing the new arrivals.
The dogs have helped draw new business to the store, particularly walk-in customers who have heard about the pups. The Petitts have even won new accounts because companies appreciate their work for Seeing Eye. “We like to give local businesses—especially those that are involved in the community—our business,” says Noelle Paclawskyj, office manager of the Morristown law office of Martin Eagan.
Art hesitated to sign up for the program because he wondered whether and Katie could bear to part with each puppy after the one-year training period.
“The trainers told us to keep telling ourselves, ‘He’s not your dog, he’s not your dog,’” Art says. Despite this mantra, saying goodbye never gets easy. “When we watch the dog walking away,” he admits, “we stand there blubbering, ‘I want my dog back!’”Click here to leave a comment