Q: Benton, how does it feel to be a star?
A: It feels pretty good! I’d like to give a shout out to Tracey, my best bud, “back up” puppy and companion for the trip to the Puppy Bowl.
Q: Where did your family watch the game?
A: My family of volunteer puppy raisers watched from our home in New Hampshire.
Q: Volunteer puppy raiser? What’s that?
A: These are the super special volunteers that take 8-week-old Guiding Eyes pups and teach them basic obedience and house manners while socializing them to all the world has to offer. At about 18 months old, pups like me go back to Guiding Eyes in Yorktown Heights, NY, for training with professional instructors. There I’ll learn how to safely guide a blind or visually impaired person, and when I’m about two years old, I’ll be a fully trained guide dog.
Q: What’s your warm up routine?
A: The volunteer staff at Guiding Eyes provide me with puppy massages which help keep my muscles loose. Yoga is also important – I practice many downward dogs and lots of tail wagging – repetition is key.
Q: You had amazing defensive maneuvers on the field. How does that prepare you for your future job as a guide dog?
A: Those moves are going to be critical as a guide dog. I will be making many decisive moves around obstacles to keep my handler safe.
Q: Did the Puppy Bowl provide lots of good socialization opportunities?
A: Of course! I met so many fun pups… both on and off the field. I particularly liked Laney, the Brittany Spaniel.
Q: Now that you’re a Puppy Bowl star, what happens next?
A: I’ll be back home in New Hampshire, eagerly awaiting the day I become a guide dog and change someone’s life forever.
Learn more about how our dogs enable freedom in people’s lives: www.guidingeyes.org.
Guiding Eyes for the Blind is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit providing guide dogs and autism service dogs at no charge.