Animal Planet’s The Dog Bowl To Debut Before The Super Bowl

Lori Ennis
by Lori Ennis
Airing the day before the Super Bowl, Animal Planet’s Dog Bowl game will shine a light on the plight of older dogs looking for their forever homes.

First, there was the Super Bowl (okay if you’re into that sports and all) and then came the Puppy Bowl. Full of adorable little furballs playing with squeaky toys and little gnashing puppy teeth, and Animal Planet’s fun little take on the Super Bowl hoopla.

Related: Animal Planet’s Puppy Bowl Brings Ruff and Fluff To The Field

Now? Now there’s the Dog Bowl, debuting on February 3rd (the day before the Super Bowl) and it’s an hour that promises to show how wonderful older dogs looking for love can be.

Just like the Puppy Bowl, which will air before the Super Bowl at 3 p.m. EST on Animal Planet, the Dog Bowl will pair older shelter pups into teams (Paws and Tails) and watch them play with all sorts of toys as they battle it out for the score. This group of dogs, though, is a group of dogs that come from 15 various shelters in the country, and the dogs are anywhere from two- to fifteen-years-old.

Dan Schachner is the Puppy Bowl’s official ‘ruffaree’ and has been for the last seven years. He says that the Dog Bowl is a bit more mature, as the dogs are more calm and less crazy puppy-like as they are in the Puppy Bowl. He adds that they don’t yip and fight as much, but they do tend to want to claim their territories a bit more, so that means a lot more clean-up for their handlers.

The special was recorded in mid-October, when it was much warmer in Manhattan, New York, and Schachner says that The Dog Bowl definitely shows viewers that older dogs are often a lot more low-key and chill. He hopes that viewers see the benefits of older dogs for families looking for a dog, but maybe not a puppy with its puppy fervor.

There were 50 dogs who competed in the Dog Bowl, and most have been adopted. Four English Bulldogs are included in that group, and Long Island Bulldog Rescue founder Laurette Richin says that bulldogs don’t usually do tricks, but they grab your heart instantly and she was glad they were able to show that on the show. Richin says that many are abandoned because of their eye and breathing problems, and the Dog Bowl gives insight into why they are worth the effort.

Keith Barraclough

Related: My Dog is Getting Older; Should I Get a Second Dog Now?

Another Dog Bowl contestant was Rommy, who was rescued and trained by the Freedom Service Dogs of America. Rommy is a five-year-old Labradoodle who was matched with military veteran Shon Wilson, who suffers from PTSD from time spent serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. Wilson says that he wasn’t sure he needed or wanted a service dog, but Rommy helps him in so many different ways, he couldn’t imagine being without him. And while he’s not a big go-getter with his Dog Bowl teammates, Wilson says that he’s definitely a player off the field, and he loves him.

Lori Ennis
Lori Ennis

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