We recently caught up with Heidi Surette, the volunteer puppy raiser for Puppy Bowl star and future guide dog, Benton.
Guiding Eyes: What inspired you to raise a Guiding Eyes puppy?
Heidi: My inspiration is my dad, Paul. My dad is blind and lived a very active life. He was employed as a piano tuner. He did not have a guide dog though and had to rely on someone to help him get around. I thought that by raising a puppy, I could help someone like my dad have an active independent lifestyle.
Guiding Eyes: What type of environment is Benton being raised in?
Heidi: Benton is being raised in a quiet rural neighborhood in New Hampshire. I live in a ranch type house that I share with my parents, Florence and Paul. He has a nice sized backyard that is fully fenced in, where he can play safely with my personal dog Tobie. He gets taken for walks around the neighborhood where he meets all kinds of other people and their pets. We also walk with other puppy raisers and their puppies many times a week for exercise and socialization.
Guiding Eyes: What’s your favorite part of raising Benton?
Heidi: That’s a hard one – there are so many things in that category! I love his personality; he is happy and easy going. He is always happy to see me and he loves to cuddle. He is smart and picks up new lessons really quickly. He is goofy and always makes me smile. The friends I have made with the other puppy raisers is a great perk. The veteran puppy raisers are always willing to lend an ear and answer questions.
Guiding Eyes: Where will you watch the big game?
Heidi: I am planning on watching the Puppy Bowl with my friends and family here at home.