Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Local Rescue Dogs Romp in Bowl

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Local Rescue Dogs Romp in Bowl

Article excerpt

As football fans watch Super Bowl LII on Feb. 4, animal lovers will be rooting for four puppies from local shelters in Animal Planet's Puppy Bowl XIV.

Ninety puppies from 48 shelters were chosen to compete for the coveted CHEWY.COM "Lombarky" Trophy. "Tail-gating" starts with the pre-game show at 2 p.m. on the Animal Planet cable channel. Coverage of the game, played at bone-shaped GEICO stadium in New York City, begins at 3 p.m., more than three hours before Super Bowl kickoff in Minneapolis.

One of the Puppy Bowl contestants hails from Animal Friends in Ohio Township. Three are from All But Furgotten animal rescue in North Huntingdon, Westmoreland County.

Spoiler alert: The game is over. Team Ruff faced off against Team Fluff in October, when the local pups were about 3 months old. What we'll see on Animal Planet is two hours of edited film footage of the best plays. And while Puppy Bowl executive producer Simon Morris was marvelously helpful and entertaining in a telephone interview, he wouldn't say who won. He did say one of our local pups is a star player.

The game kicks off with Jokgu, the piano-playing chicken from Season 12 of "America's Got Talent," pecking out "The Star-Spangled Banner" on the keyboard. During the game, puppies score touchdowns by carrying toys from sponsor across the goal line.

Those who love sloths will be happy to hear that a sloth named Shirley is the assistant referee. Although the TV crew wasn't expecting the sloth in the black-and-white bandanna to move much, Shirley delighted everyone by crawling across the field and hanging from the goal post.

The Puppy Bowl also features baby barnyard cheerleaders - ducklings, piglets and bunnies - working the sidelines to fire up fans. All are rescues. Shelter cats star in the Arm & Hammer half-time show and Meep, an African grey parrot (@MeepTheBird) will provide live updates on Instagram and Twitter throughout the game.

Now let's meet the local canine contestants:

Aquaman is a treeing Walker coonhound born at the Animal Friends shelter. Each of the eight puppies in his litter received a super hero name, including Batman, Superman and Huntress.

Volunteers at All But Furgotten confiscated Sunny and Bailey from hoarders, and Frankie came from a shelter in the South where a high percentage of animals are euthanized. …

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