Warwick pup to be featured during 14th Puppy Bowl


What’s the can’t miss event happening on February 4 that features a football field? If you said the Super Bowl, you would be wrong.

Animal Planet announced today their list of shelters who had puppies chosen to participate in the 14th annual Puppy Bowl, where 90 puppies from 48 shelters representing 26 states gather together to play and raise awareness about the importance of adopting dogs from shelters.

Paddington, a mixed-breed pup who bears a striking resemblance to the furry, famous character referenced in her name, was selected to be one of the representatives. She was a resident of the East Greenwich Animal Protection League shelter in Cranston when she was selected, but has since been placed into a loving forever home.

“This is huge,” said Karen Kalunian, who performs multiple roles for the Protection League. “For us it's really big and shines a light on adoption and animals in shelters. That was our whole goal in this, and that's the goal of the puppy bowl – to show the great animals waiting to be adopted in shelters.”

Kalunian said she sent an email to somebody at Animal Planet about a year ago, not really expecting to hear anything back. However they did get back, and Paddington was selected in September. Kalunian, alongside her daughter Kim and shelter director Tammy Flannagan, went to New York in October with Paddington for the taping of the Puppy Bowl.

“She was such a good girl and a great travel companion,” Kalunian said of Paddington. “It was incredible to meet so many other people involved in animal rescue and, of course, to meet so many amazing puppies.”

Kalunian, shelter staff and the adoptive family have had to keep the exciting secret under wraps due to a press moratorium enforced by Animal Planet, but now they can look forward to the big day exactly one month from today’s print edition.

However the shelter isn’t simply letting the moment pass by. They are planning a viewing event for the Puppy Bowl on a large screen and their very own Puppy Bowl, featuring their own shelter animals on the same day. The event will be on Feb. 4 from 1-4 at their new shelter location at 44 Worthington Rd. in Cranston. The Puppy Bowl “kicks off” with its pregame show at 2 p.m., where Paddington is reportedly to be featured.

Puppies in the national Puppy Bowl are 12-24 weeks old representing a variety of breeds, from Chihuahuas to Great Danes and dachshunds to huskies. Six of the puppies have special needs, including two that are blind, two that are deaf and a three-legged golden doodle. Puppies come from as far west as California, as far north as Maine and as south as Florida and all over the place in between, including Puerto Rico and, for the first time, there will be an international puppy from Mexico.

The fun spectacle has grown in popularity over time and will incorporate new camera angles and a new field this year. A sloth “rufferee” will help administer slow motion replays, while a group of ducklings, piglets and baby bunnies will root on the puppies as cheerleaders.

What’s more, this year will include an adult dog feature “The Dog Bowl,” which will spread additional awareness of older shelter dogs who are often overlooked for the younger puppies. These dogs age between 2-15 years old. In total there will be 140 puppies and dogs featured during the show.

The show has had tremendous success raising awareness for adoption shelters, and some years 100 percent of the animals featured in the show have wound up finding homes, according to a press release.

“That's a good thing,” Kalunian said of the whole concept. “The idea of the Puppy Bowl is to promote adoptable animals, but keep in mind that there's a lot more out there. If you see a cute puppy in the Puppy Bowl, just know there are thousands of other cute puppies like it in shelters across America.”

There is a representative from the American Humane Society on set to ensure no unsafe practices are utilized, in addition to a veterinarian who examines each animal before they “take the field.”

To learn more about the East Greenwich Animal Protection League, look into adopting a pet or learn about the Puppy Bowl viewing party, visit www.EGAPL.com


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