Puppy Bowl: Cute cruelty-free football

If “pigskin” isn’t your thing, perhaps a fun, fur-filled competition of puppies is better suited to your Super Bowl weekend. As the Green Bay Packers take on the Pittsburgh Steelers this Sunday, 20 puppies will be vying for the attention of pet lovers nationwide in Animal Planet’s 7th annual Puppy Bowl.
If “pigskin” isn’t your thing, perhaps a fun, fur-filled competition of puppies is better suited to your Super Bowl weekend. As the Green Bay Packers take on the Pittsburgh Steelers this Sunday, 20 puppies will be vying for the attention of pet lovers nationwide in Animal Planet’s 7th annual Puppy Bowl.

Puppy Bowl in 3-D

This year, for the first time in Puppy Bowl history, all the action will air in a native 3-D version that will premiere on “3net” — the new 3-D network joint venture of Discovery Communications, Sony and IMAX. Also new this year, viewers can watch the action directly from the puppy’s point-of-view with the new Puppy Cam, along with the fan fave water bowl cam, tail-gating, and Ice Breakers blimp commandeered by a crew of hamsters. Too fun!

Ah, to be a Puppy Bowl ref

Having watched Puppy Bowl with my son, I can attest that the tail-wagging event wouldn’t be Puppy Bowl without its Puppy Bowl ref Andrew Schechter, an Animal Planet coordinating producer by day and Animal Planet Puppy Bowl Referee by late afternoon. He takes his job as a referee of adorable puppies ruffing around the miniature Animal Planet stadium very, very seriously. He even trains hard leading up to the canine game day.

“Similar to a professional athlete – I eat a strict high protein diet, work out three-times daily, including practice sessions at various dog parks,” says Schechter. “My training is non-stop, to ensure I am in optimum condition for the big day. Some people might call me the Michael Phelps of puppy refereeing. I’m really not unlike any other Olympic athlete.”

The puppy player lineup

As well-played as Puppy Bowl is, you may think the puppies also train all season for the game, but the pups actually come from shelters across the country. According to Schechter, Puppy Bowl is shot in October and by the time Puppy Bowl airs, thanks to the folks at Petfinder.com, most all have found loving homes.

Adopt your own most valuable puppy

Petfinder.com, the largest online, searchable database of adoptable pets is the temporary “home team” of all the puppy players. To learn more about the puppies and kittens seen on Puppy Bowl VII and learn how you can adopt your own pet, visit Animal Planet’s Puppy Bowl VII website or Petfinder.com.

Be sure to tune in on Animal Planet and watch the action unfold on Puppy Bowl VII, at 3pm E/P, Sunday, February 6, 2011.

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