This year’s Puppy Bowl features adorable special-needs rescue dogs

Millions of people are expected to watch the Super Bowl, one of the world’s biggest sporting events, to see who wins the National Football League championship between the San Francisco 49ers and the Kansas City Chiefs. But what can match up to a heart-pounding game with a rousing and much-awaited halftime show?  Why, a Puppy Bowl of course!

Before sports enthusiasts huddle and cheer on their favorite team for Super Bowl LIV, pet lovers get to fawn over adorable animals as they compete on their own gridiron. Animal Planet’s Puppy Bowl XVI is touted as “television’s fuzziest sports competition and original adoption extravaganza.”

The special annual animal sporting event features dogs living in rescue homes and shelters and each year, puppies that have participated in the Puppy Bowl have been readily adopted by loving families. Animal Planet continues its tradition of highlighting adoption with a new set of adorable animals, which this year have been divided into Team Ruff and Team Fluff.

Puppy Bowl 16 showcases 96 dogs from 61 animal shelters and rescue organizations from 25 states across the country. Some international puppies have also joined Puppy Bowl 2020, with young canines coming from Cartagena, Colombia; St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands; and Toronto.

Photo from Animal Planet

The doggie extravaganza also features five special needs dogs. According to the Animal Planet, “These fuzzballs won’t let anything deter them from playing hard and finding a loving family. As always, viewers are ready for a cuteness overload.”

The five special furry competitors are Rooster, an American Staffordshire terrier/bulldog mix with a cleft palate from the Sanctuary Rescue in Virginia; Ferris, a three-legged Labrador retriever/American Eskimo mix from an Iowa pet rescue; Kismet, a hearing-impaired Great Dane from Green Dogs Unleashed in Virginia; Paprika, a hearing-impaired Chihuahua/toy fox terrier mix from the Young-Williams Shelter in Tennessee; and Filbert, a blind and hearing-impaired Shetland sheepdog/border collie mix from Double J Dog Ranch in Idaho.

Photo from Animal Planet

These five lovely babies are sure standouts, along with 60 other adoptable dogs that comprise Dog Bowl III. This competition features dogs from 3 to 14 years old, who are often overlooked for adoption in favor of puppies. These adult ad senior dogs compete as well, this time on Team Goldies and Team Oldies.

Photo from Animal Planet

And cat lovers don’t get left behind! Cats rule on the Kitty Half-Time Show, which makes the Puppy Bowl a sure treat for canine and feline fans alike. Profiles on the dogs and their rescue organizations, and charitable efforts by various celebrities are highlighted as well.

Photo from Animal Planet

Safety is a key concern, and a representative from the American Humane Association and a veterinarian are always on set to watch over the animals.

The best part about the Puppy Bowl is that all the animals get to find their forever home! The show mentions adoption information and shelters, although there is a possibility that the animals have already been adopted. The adoption rate for the Puppy Bowl stars is 100%, but interested parties who cannot adopt the dogs in TV are encouraged to adopt locally as well.

Photo from Animal Planet

So when the next Super Bowl comes along, watch out for the Puppy Bowl, too! Surely, there’s no better way to spend the weekend than watching sports and adorable pups, including animals with special needs, surrounded by family and friends.

After 16 years of this incredible tradition, support a good cause and make sure that all the puppies, kittens, and dogs that join the Puppy Bowl continue to end up as winners!