Take a 'paws.' Meet the Puppy Bowl players with ties to western CT
People in Western Connecticut have four players to root for on Super Bowl Sunday— not in the NFL, but the Puppy Bowl.
The annual event promotes pet adoption and showcases shelters and rescues from across the country.
This year 118 canine competitors will take the field for Team Ruff or Team Fluff, including Sky, a cattle dog/golden retriever mix from ROAR in Ridgefield.
"It's great to be a part of this again," said Sarah Roberts, director of operations for ROAR. "It's awesome promotion for the shelter having our little ambassadors out there." This is the animal rescue's second year in the big game, which was taped in October in Glen Falls, NY.
"It really shows that you don't have to go to a breeder to get a good dog," Elizabeth Bergren told News 12. Bergren is a volunteer at ROAR and made the trip to the event with Sky. "The main objective in the Puppy Bowl is to take a toy and take it to one end zone or another, and she did it twice," said Bergren, who has since adopted her.
"I think she was even one of the MVP's," added Roberts.
Another pint-sized player is Luna, a beagle/basset hound mix from DAWS in Danbury.
"You'll have to tune in, but I do hear she has a fascination with the flag that the referee had, and so when he was down on the ground checking out touchdowns, this one was over there trying to steal the flag from him," laughed Alice Meenan, director of marketing and development for DAWS.
This was the fifth trip to the Puppy Bowl for DAWS.
"We know there's only about 70 shelters that were selected, and we are just happy to be part of an opportunity that's a global movement really to show the importance of animal welfare and rescue," said Meenan.
PAWS in Norwalk also had a puppy going paw to paw. Scout is a pit bull/Norwegian Elkhound mix.
"He was very outgoing and rambunctious and a lot of fun," said PAWS Adoption and Intake Coordinator Lisa Barnett. "We have a lot of supermutts that go to the, Puppy Bowl, and we're very proud of them. We think they're great dogs."
Hoku, an American Staffordshire Terrier/Catahoula leopard dog mix, was recruited from the Maui Humane Society, but she's since found her forever home in Norwalk with Pat and Maureen Shannon. Their daughter works for the Maui Humane Society. When Katie Shannon and Hoku came to the mainland for the game, Katie Shannon had her own play drawn up.
"She presented us with a pitch book that had pictures of her [Hoku] ," Pat Shannon told News 12. "And at the end of the pitch book, the closing was she could be part of your family now too."
It's been the perfect match since then.
"The dog always wants to be with either Pat or I," said Maureen Shannon. "She's cuddly. She's sweet."
"She's a 65-pound dog that thinks she's a lapdog," interrupted Pat Shannon.
But the Shannons wouldn't want it any other way. "We're so happy she's part of our family," said Maureen Shannon.
"Hoku" is the Hawaiian word for star. As for whether Hoku was one on the field, the Shannons will be watching to find out.
The Puppy Bowl airs on Animal Planet and Discovery+ Feb. 13 starting at 2pm.