Photos by: Robert Deutch/USA Today
Airing the day before the Super Bowl, Animal Planet’s Dog Bowl will highlight the plight of older dogs looking for their forever homes.
First, there was the Super Bowl (well if you’re into that sport and all) and then came the puppy. Filled with furry, cuddly little balls that play with squeaky toys and tiny puppy teeth, enjoy the Animal Planet’s Super Hope Tournament vibe.
Related: Animal Planet at the Puppy Bowl brings ruff and dumping to the field
now? There’s now the Dog Bowl, which debuts Feb. 3 (the day before the Super Bowl) and is an hour that promises to show just how great old dogs can be looking for love.
Just like the Puppy Bowl, which teleports in front of the Super Bowl at 3 p.m. EST on Animal Planet, the Dog Bowl will pair the oldest shelter pups into teams (Paws and Tails) and watch them play with all kinds of toys as they battle for the score. This group of dogs, though, is a group of dogs that come from 15 different shelters in the country, and the dogs range in age from two to fifteen years old.
Dan Schachner is the official “ruffaree” of the Puppy Bowl and has been for the past seven years. The Dog Bowl is a bit more mature, he says, because the dogs are calmer and less puppy-like crazy as they are in the Puppy Bowl. He adds that they don’t fight and fight much, but they do tend to claim their territories a bit more, and that means a lot of cleaning for their groomers.
This particular show was recorded in mid-October, when it was much warmer in Manhattan, New York, and Schachner says The Dog Bowl definitely shows viewers that older dogs are often more outgoing and heartier. He hopes viewers will see the benefits of older dogs for families looking for a dog but maybe not a puppy with his puppy diet.
There have been 50 dogs that have competed in the Dog Bowl, and most of them have been adopted. Four English bulldogs are included in this group, and Long Island Bulldog Rescue author Laurette Richin says the dogs don’t usually do tricks but grab your heart right away, and she was glad she was able to show that on the show. Many people have been given up because of their eye and breathing problems, Richen says, and The Dog Bowl gives an idea of why they’re worth the effort.
Related: My dog is getting older; Should I get a second dog now?
Another bowl dog contestant was Rommy, who was rescued and trained by the dogs of the US Freedom Service. Romy is a five-year-old Labradoodle who was matched by military veteran Sean Wilson, who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder from time spent in Iraq and Afghanistan. Wilson says he wasn’t sure he ever needed or wanted a service dog, but Romy helps him in so many different ways, and he can’t imagine being without him. And while he’s not a big player with his Dog Bowl teammates, Wilson says he’s an unquestioned player on the field, and he loves it.