By Michael Clow, Newark Project Manager
One of the benefits of working with Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PA) staff is to participate in their volunteer opportunities. As one of the largest governmental agencies in the New York/New Jersey area, community engagement is an important part of their culture.
One of these opportunities took part in mid-April of this year. On April 14 and 21, the PA staff hosted over ten different Seeing Eye dog training groups in a “puppy tour.” There were over 170 trainers and 150 puppies. This is an annual event for the PA staff and, this year and last, the AvPORTS Newark airport management staff and family participated.
The puppy tour started at the Newark Liberty International Airport Administration Building with a talk by Port Authority Police K-9 units, a tour of the Airport Rescue and Firefighting station, the AirTrain, a ride on the parking lot buses, and a tour through one of Newark’s terminals. The terminal tour included a pass by ticket counters, through the TSA Security Checkpoint, onto an aircraft, and into baggage claim. This acclimates the future Seeing Eye dogs with the noises and crowds found in a typical urban airport, allowing them to guide their person through the same environment in the future.
The AvPORTS staff and family acted as guides, helping keep the group together and everyone happy. This was our second year helping out with this program. Although we were not able to get onto an aircraft this year, the puppies received needed training. They were well behaved and seemed to have a good time. We will be back next year.