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I love the Puppy Bowl, but it’s a house of lies

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You cannot adopt the puppies.

Photo by Amanda Edwards/Getty Images for Discovery Communications

Animal Planet’s Puppy Bowl is the apex of Super Bowl counter-programming. The content of the two-hour show is in no way objectionable and in every way lovable. Referee Dan Schachner provides a slice of humanity and order to the chaos. It frequently and repeatedly highlights the cause of animal adoption. But mostly: PUPPIES! The clumsy floofers hit me right in the feels, every time.

But there is one aspect of the Puppy Bowl that always burns my bacon: It’s filmed in October, more than three months before the puppies make it to air. It’s a massive production on a Manhattan soundstage, a three-day shoot featuring 80 puppies divided by size, and the lag time is essential in editing the footage into a two-hour package.

All of that would be understandable if Animal Planet didn’t whitewash the puppies’ ages. Here, for example, is a Corgi puppy named Clyde who will be in Puppy Bowl XIV this Sunday:

Animal Planet

Animal Planet’s website claims that Clyde is 17 weeks old. FALSE! Clyde was 17 weeks in October. He’s approximately twice that age now. That adorable floppy ear? It almost certainly sticks up straight now. Clyde has since been adopted and (most likely) housebroken. Clyde might not even be Clyde anymore; whoever adopted him may well have renamed him. We don’t know, because Animal Planet has no good reason to be transparent. The Puppy Bowl brand benefits from you yearning to adopt these puppies that have already been adopted and are already distinctly less puppy-ish.

I will not stand for this deceit. The immediacy of today’s news and the internet era demands more transparent media, and the Puppy Bowl, as it is currently presented, is an expired bill of goods. I demand that Animal Planet produce and publish a “Where are they now?” segment, so that I can see the puppies in their present state. Show me a photo of them peeing on today’s newspaper. Anything less is fake news.