While everyone should try to remain socially distanced, puppies don’t need to. The first Sunday of February is not only dedicated to the Super Bowl but also the Puppy Bowl. 2021 marks the 17th annual Puppy Bowl which aired on Animal Planet on Sunday, Feb. 7 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.
The Puppy Bowl is never short of cuteness with its adoptable shelter pets brawling for dog toys. This year, the Puppy Bowl opened up with girl group, “Girl’s World” singing the “Star-Spangled Banner,” each holding a puppy in hand. Martha Stewart and Snoop Dogg hosted the tailgate party, with Stewart rooting for team Ruff and Snoop Dogg rooting for team Fluff.
The game was narrated by Steve Levy and Sage Steele. They introduced puppies with fun rhymes like, “she traveled all the way from the Constitution state and her cuteness will increase your heart rate.” Or, “this Dalmation is sure to be a game-day sensation.” In order to score a “touchdown,” a puppy must drag a dog toy to its respective side of the field. But, even puppies can get penalized. The referees called out puppies for “trash barking.” Puppies ranged from 12 to 20 weeks old and can be adopted through pupppybowl.com/adopt.
As the game started, some puppies from team Ruff and team Fluff started brawling it out, team Ruff scored the first points. Other puppies laid down on the sidelines. The game was intense as team Fluff and Ruff scored points throughout. Last year, team Fluff had won and it looked like that was going to be the case again. But then team Ruff made a comeback in the fourth quarter and was declared the winner of the 17th annual Puppy Bowl with a score of 73-69.
The Puppy Bowl also showcased how important dogs can be, not only as a companion, but as therapy for the homeless. The Puppy Bowl showcased a wide range of dogs from shelter puppies, to puppies with a disability, to senior and therapy dogs. Puppy Bowl’s commercial ads were also a highlight to the show. An ad by Subaru showed dogs driving cars and trucks. Another commercial showed a dog brightening up a young patient’s day in a hospital. Other commercials featured pet food/treats and non-pet related commercials.
The show highlighted a Black-owned pet grooming business, Harlem Doggie Day Spa. The founder, Brian Taylor, said he started the business 10 years ago. For people with pets that were hit hard during the pandemic, Taylor offered free pet grooming services around the country with his van.
“So the point is when a dog looks their best and they’re clean and smell good and they’re happy and their personality is out there, it increases their chances of being adopted,” Taylor said while giving one of the Puppy Bowl dogs a makeover.
15 week-old Marshall, a Boston Terrier mix from Virginia, won the most valuable player voted by audience members. The Puppy Bowl is not just about puppies and dogs. There are also kittens that are available for adoption. Kittens were audience members of the Puppy Bowl. Kittens also “performed” at the halftime show. Even though they were just playing with cat toys, it was still an adorable performance. First lady Dr. Jill Biden was invited to speak during the Puppy Bowl. She spoke about her shelter dog, Major, and staying healthy.
“For a lot of us during this pandemic, our pets have been such a source of joy and comfort and maybe bark or two on a video conference,” Biden said. “The unconditional love from a dog is one of the most beautiful things on earth and we owe it to them to keep ourselves healthy, so please keep wearing your masks, even when you’re out walking your dogs.”
Thumbnail photo courtesy of @AnimalPlanet on Twitter.