NELSON COUNTY, KY (WAVE) - WAVE Country had two contenders in Animal Planet’s Puppy Bowl XV.
Two puppies from Boston, Kentucky’s Barktown Rescue--siblings Pippi and Austin--stormed the GEICO gridiron as part of Team Ruff in the 15th annual Puppy Bowl on Sunday.
One of the puppies, Pippi, was born blind. Her brother Austin acts as her guide dog. Both are seven months old.
The pups came to Barktown Rescue from a local animal shelter when Marion County Animal Control responded to a call about an abandoned dog.
Upon arrival, the animal control officer noticed a female dog, Olive, was in distress. The officer released Olive, who led her to three little puppies that were almost left behind. The entire family was rescued by Barktown Rescue.
The Puppy Bowl has evolved over the years from just a simple video stream of puppies playing, to a full production with 17 cameras and various other segments.
Pippi and Austin auditioned for the competition and were chosen from a nationwide search. Animal Planet worked with 50 animal shelters and rescues from over 20 states and Costa Rica.
The puppies were in competition with 93 other adoptable puppies from 51 shelters. The contestants went paw-to-paw and nose-to-nose for two hours as part of two teams: Team Ruff and Team Fluff. Participants competed for the Most Valuable Puppy title.
Puppy Bowl programming on Animal Planet actually takes up the whole day with various “pre-game shows” and even a Dog Bowl that features older dogs up for adoption.
Every year 10 million people tune in and the show has actually become a Super Bowl Sunday tradition for many.
That’s why they now call it “the biggest game in adoption” with a 100-percent adoption rate for the puppies featured.
The Puppy Bowl aired on Animal Planet at 3:00 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 3, right before the Super Bowl. Pippi and Austin (now named Petey) didn’t have much screen time, but that doesn’t matter. Heather Nelson with Barktown Rescue says it’s the exposure the shelter gets from it that counts.
Nelson said this is the fifth year Barktown has driven dogs up 13 hours from Boston, Kentucky to New York City.
She described it as “organized chaos” but wouldn’t miss it for the world. Nelson is already planning who she is going to enter next year.
Pippi and Petey scored the ultimate touchdown even before the Puppy Bowl. The bonded brother and sister pair found their forever home, together.
While those two found their happy ending, there are still so many more at Barktown Rescue that need your help.
Barktown Rescue, located in Boston, KY, is a non-profit, no-kill animal rescue in Nelson County. The shelter takes in abused, unwanted, abandoned and neglected pets and puts them in forever homes. So far, the rescue has saved and re-homed more than 3,000 dogs and cats.
The shelter is at capacity right now with 30 dogs. Nelson said they need volunteers, fosters, donations and most of all, adopters.
For more information on how to donate, volunteer, and adopt click here.
For video of some of Barktown’s adoptable dogs, check out the Facebook posts below: