Forget about Super Bowl LII. The real event on Sunday is the Puppy Bowl, and this year some of the players have an even more amazing backstory than your typical rescue pet. These very good dogs and cats survived the hurricanes that ravaged parts of Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico.
Animal Planet made it a priority to feature dogs rescued in areas hit by Hurricane Irma, Hurricane Harvey, and Hurricane Maria. Thousands of pets were displaced, abandoned, or lost in those storms, and rescues are still trying to find these pets permanent homes. The Puppy Bowl can help make that happen.
There’s Tyler, a 20-week-old chihuahua-Shih Tzu mix who will represent Shaggy Dog Rescue as a member of Team Fluff on Sunday. He’ll be joined by a friend from Shaggy Dog Rescue, Teddy, who will participate in the Dog Bowl, which shines a light on older pups who are looking for a loving family.
Kathy Wetmore, the founder of Shaggy Dog Rescue, told KHOU that there’s still much work to be done to rescue dogs impacted by that devastating storm.
“We’re still seeing dogs coming in where people say, ‘Hey ... this dog has been out since Hurricane Harvey.’” Wetmore said.
There will be two dogs taking the field who were rescued from Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. Months after the storm, residents are still trying to recover, and pets are suffering. As families find themselves unable to care for their pets or they leave the island because of the damage, shelters are completely overwhelmed with homeless animals who need help.
The Sato Project, a rescue based out of New York City, is committed to helping these Puerto Rican pets.
Kaleb Jr., a 13-week-old chihuahua-chow chow mix, will be a starter for Team Fluff. Archer, also 13 weeks old, is a backup for Team Ruff.
Christina Beckles, the founder of the Sato Project, said that she’s never seen anything like this.
“The amount of dogs that need help now is beyond anything I’ve ever seen before in all those years of rescue,” Beckles told ABC News.
Hallmark Channel is getting in on the action, too, with the Kitten Bowl. Coach Derby, a kitten who was rescued after Hurricane Harvey.
Star, another one of North Shore Animal League’s pets, will also play in the Kitten Bowl. Star, and 20 other kittens, were in a shelter that sustained heavy damage in Hurricane Irma. North Shore Animal League rescued all of them.
While the Puppy Bowl and Kitten Bowl are meant to raise awareness of the joys of adopting rescue pets, most of the pets that participate aren’t actually adoptable. They’ve already found their forever homes.
Luckily, you won’t have to choose between watching adorable dogs or precious cats competing on Sunday, because they’re airing at different times. The Kitten Bowl will air on Hallmark Channel at 12 p.m. ET. You can watch the Puppy Bowl on Animal Planet at 3 p.m. ET.
We don’t know whether Team Ruff or Team Fluff will win the Lombarky Trophy, or if the Last Hope Lions or the North Shore Bengals will come out on top in the Kitten Bowl. But we do know one thing: These are all very good dogs and cats who deserve to end up in loving homes.