It’s the best, the biggest, the cutest game of the year, it’s Puppy Bowl XVI!
What began as Super Bowl counter-programming in 2005 has turned into a ratings bonanza for Animal Planet. It started as a joke when someone suggested they “point a camera at puppies on a football field”. And now draws 10 million viewers over a 12 hour broadcasting period.
While Puppy Bowl I was simply puppies playing in front of a camera, it’s now a full fledged extravaganza that includes announcers, a variety of adorable cheerleaders, referees- both human and animal, sponsors, and a kitten half time show. Since working with animals can be unpredictable it’s prerecorded over two days. There is onsite veterinary care, representatives from the ASPCA, the Humane Society and the shelters providing the canine contestants. The athletes are rotated in and out every thirty minutes to rest and avoid overheating from the lights.
Archrivals Team Ruff and Team Fluff will go head to head at Geico Stadium this Sunday at 3pm on Animal Planet. Touchdowns are scored when a toy is dragged into the end zone. Time outs are called by the referee for unnecessary rrruff-ness, paws interference, or to refill water bowls. Penalties can be issued for, uhm, excessive fertilization or premature watering of the field. As well as napping and terrorizing the ref. The MVP is chosen at the end of the game. I’m rooting for Rhubarb because I can’t resist a wire haired dog.
This years show will feature 96 puppies from 25 states and Colombia, the US Virgin Islands and Toronto. They’ll be cheered on by kid goats, the scoreboard powered by Surge the Hamster, and the half time show stars Jenni-Purr Lopez. The Pre Game Show is available now .
At it’s heart though, The Puppy Bowl is really a PSA for animal rescue. Each of the puppies and kittens on the program are adoptable. All of them will have found their forever families before the show airs. There is also a one hour Dog Bowl addressing the need for senior adoptions, Pup Close and Personal segments profiling shelters and educating people about animal rescue. Please, never adopt a pet on a whim, it’s a serious commitment. Consider what type of animal is right for you based on the time and type of care you’re willing and able to provide. Choose a pet that fits your lifestyle, and your home. Expect an adjustment period. Opening your heart to an animal friend is fulfilling but comes with challenges.