2017 Puppy Bowl: see all the cute photos and videos

February 6, 2017

Rory, the poodle mix that was voted Puppy Bowl XIII MVP.
Rory, the poodle mix that was voted Puppy Bowl XIII MVP. (Photo courtesy of Animal Planet)

Animal Planet’s Puppy Bowl XIII was the first Puppy Bowl to air simultaneously on both coasts when it premiered on February 5, 2017 (Super Bowl Sunday) with three hours of puppies playing a mock football game. The inaugural Petco Lombarky trophy was awarded in Puppy Bowl XIII at Geico Stadium, a miniature set built for the TV show.

According to an Animal Planet press release, Puppy Bowl XIII kicked off at Geico Stadium with a special appearance by weather forecaster Mr. Punxsutawney Phil. The famous groundhog and two of his inner circle officiated the coin toss to start the game. This year’s Pedigree Starting Lineup boasted 39 puppies who also competed for the individual Bissell MVP (Most Valuable Puppy) by scoring the most touchdowns with dog-approved toys by Petco. This year’s Bissell MVP was Team Fluff’s Rory, a 17-week-old male poodle mix from Little Dog Rescue in Florida.

For the sixth year in a row, America’s favorite “ Rufferee,” Dan Schachner, returned to call the puppy  penalties, furry fumbles and terrier touchdowns.Award-winning animal advocate and television  correspondent Jill Rappaport introduced the Subaru Pup Close and Personal segments that highlight  some of the  heartwarming stories of the adorable athletes.

For Puppy Bowl XIII, Animal Planet worked with 34 different animal shelters and rescue organizations from across 22 states to fill the rosters of #TeamRuff and #TeamFluff with 78 adoptable players for this puppy pile-up. This year, the Bowl also featured three pups with special needs: Doobert (deaf), Lucky (three-legged) and Winston (hearing-and-sight impaired). One special player is drafted to play in Puppy Bowl XIII by celebrity dog Chunk  Handler. Plus, viewers got to see the canines conduct their pre-game rituals when the cameras were allowed in the locker room.

While the puppies broke for a cat nap, the Arm & Hammer Clump & Seal Kitty Half-Time Show got underway with a performance by the feline musical group Chicago Rock Cats with Kitty Gaga singing “Puparazzi ” to her little monsters of adoptable rescue kittens.

The puppy teams added rescue mascots to their cheering section. Team Ruff gained the watchful eye of Orlando the Screech Owl, and Team Fluff recruited Muffin the Chinchilla who adds  another layer of fluff. Getting the fans excited on the sidelines are rescue rabb its and guinea pig  cheerleaders who hop into action. “Meep the Bird” got a ma keover and returned as a rescue African Gray Parrot. Meep talked sports with Geico The Gecko and live tweeted updates throughout the big game.

Plus, Puppy Bowl fans got a glimpse of celebrity dogs Chloe the Mini Frenchie, Chloe Kardoggian, Ella Bean, Marnie the Dog, Manny the Frenchie, Mervin the Chihuahua,  Sometimes Carl and Toast Meets World with her siblings Muppets Revenge and Underpants the Dog who watched the biggest game of the year from  the stands. As always, fans witnessed Puppy Bow’s water bowl cam, slow-motion playback cam and fan-favorite Dairy Queen kiss cam. Viewers won’t miss a minute of excitement with aerial shots of the field  from the Sheba Sky Box, and Surge the Hamster was back on his wheel powering the Puppy Bowl score board.

Puppy Bowl Virtual Reality, sponsored by Pedigree, gave viewers a pup’s eye view of the action on the Geico grid iron through the eyes of Buttons, one of this year’s Puppy Bowl XIII players. Not letting her diminutive size hold her back when tackling opponents in a scrimmage spanning two  video halves, Buttons played her way through the piles of puppies, chew toys and assistant coaches to score a winning touchdown.

On game day, puppy supporters were invited to vote in the Most Valuable Puppy poll . Viewer votes determined which heavenly hound gets barking rights and the title of Bissell MVP, which will be revealed at the  end of the broadcast. Before and during the action, keep an eye out for guest takeovers on Animal Planet  Instagram and  Snapchat. This year’s roster includes players from AHeinz57 (Iowa), Big Fluffy Dog Rescue (Tennessee), Citizens for Animal Protection (Texas), Last Hope K 9 (Massachusetts), Miami-Dade County Animal Services (Florida),  Mr. Bones & Company (New York), Nevada SPCA, Paw Works (California), Stray Rescue (Missouri),  among others.

The ASPCA in New York provided adoptable kittens for the Kitty Half-Time Show; the cheerleading rescue rabbits and guinea pigs are from Luv-N- Bunns (Philadelphia) and Helping All Little Things (New Jersey). The chinchilla mascots were provided by Chin Friends Chinchilla Rescue (New York) and the owl flew in from Volunteers for  Wildlife (Long Island). The African parrot was provided by Phoenix Landing rescue (Washington, DC).

(All photos courtesy of Animal Planet)

Nestlé Purina names pet technology company Obe winner of first Pet Care Innovation Prize

February 2, 2017

Obe's ProBowl
Obe’s ProBowl tracks a pet’s food and water intake, provides feedback on consumption, and alerts pet owners to any changes that are out of the ordinary compared to normal consumption habits.(Photo courtesy of Nestlé Purina)

Nestlé Purina has named high-tech pet bowl company Obe the winner of Purina’s first Pet Care Innovation Prize. The Prize is a partnership between Nestlé Purina and investment firms Active Capital and Cultivation Capital. Obe’s flagship product is ProBowl, a patent-pending, dishwasher safe bowl with a smart base that connects to a phone and WiFi via an app. ProBowl tracks a pet’s food and water intake, provides feedback on consumption, and alerts pet owners to any changes that are out of the ordinary compared to normal consumption habits. The ProBowl app can also sync with Amazon to have pet food automatically delivered to your door.

(Photo courtesy of Obe)

According to a Nestlé Purina press release, more than 80 companies from 11 countries applied for the Pet Care Innovation Prize. Obe was one of five finalists for the award. All finalists received a $10,000 cash prize along with immersion in a multi-day accelerator program in St. Louis. As the grand prize winner, Obe received an additional $10,000 for business development and will be an exhibitor at the 2017 Global Pet Expo, one of the world’s largest pet industry events. Expo attendees can meet Obe’s founders and see the ProBowl in action, and retailers can find out how ProBowl can help them drive traffic to their online and brick-and-mortar stores.

Obe founder Hilary Jensen (Photo courtesy of Nestlé Purina)

Obe is a San-Francisco based company founded by Hilary Jensen, who named the company after her dog, whose nickname was Obe. Jensen commented in a statement: “It’s an honor to be the first-ever winner of the Pet Care Innovation Prize and to be connected with Purina and other great companies who are all working toward the same goal: bettering the lives of pets. The support from the Pet Care Innovation Prize has been invaluable to the growth of the business.”

Jensen added, “We are all busy with a lot to remember. ProBowl takes a few things off your list, so you don’t have to worry. No more texting your spouse to find out whether the dog has been fed, or who is going to pick up the dog food. ProBowl is simple enough that even your 8-year-old can feed your pet the right amount every meal. Knowing ProBowl takes care of the details for me lets me spend more time the way I want, with my dog of course!”

Pet owners interested in pre-ordering the ProBowl, which starts at $99, can visit ObeDog.com for more information. Shipping is expected to begin in the spring of 2017.

Cesar Dry debuts as a line of gourmet dry food for small dogs

February 1, 2017

Cesar, a leading brand in wet food for small dogs, has introduced Cesar Dry, a new line of gourmet dry dog food, designed specifically with small dogs in mind. The new Cesar Dry food turns boring kibble into delicious meat-first meals with a variety of flavors. Dog owners can choose from three delicious varieties of Cesar Dry: Rotisserie Chicken Flavor and Spring Vegetable Garnish, Filet Mignon Flavor and Spring Vegetables Garnish, and Slow Roasted Lamb Flavor and Spring Vegetables Garnish. All three flavors are available now at retailers and pet stores nationwide.

According to Cesar, Cesar Dry is packed with 26 essential nutrients small dogs need. The recipes are made with real meat as the first ingredient, including beef, poultry and lamb. The tender meaty pieces are combined with “H”-shaped kibble, specifically designed with small dogs in mind to help them easily pick up and chew, while also helping to keep teeth and gums clean.

2017 American Humane Hero Dog Awards announces deadlines

January 25, 2017

American Humane has announced the official start of the 2017 American Humane Hero Dog Awards, sponsored by the Lois Pope LIFE Foundation and broadcast on September 16 as a two-hour special on Hallmark Channel. The seventh annual event identifies and honors America’s bravest heroes on both ends of the leash.

According to a press release, key dates for the 2017 American Humane Hero Dog Awards contest include:

  • Nominations: January 25 to March 8
  • 1st Round Voting: March 29 to May 3
  • 2nd Round Voting: May 17 to June 28
  • 3rd Round Voting: July 12 to August 30
  • American Humane Hero Dog Awards event at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, California: September 16

Dog owners across the country are invited to visit  http://www.herodogawards.org and nominate their heroic hound in one of eight categories. The top dog in each category will be flown to the star-studded, red-carpet awards gala hosted by Beth Stern and James Denton at the Beverly Hilton. One of the category winners will be unveiled as the American Hero Dog of the year.

The eight categories for 2017 are:

  • Law Enforcement Dogs, sponsored by the K-9 Courage Program from Zoetis
  • Military Dogs, sponsored by the K-9 Courage Program from Zoetis and the Lois Pope LIFE Foundation
  • Therapy Dogs
  • Service Dogs, sponsored by Modern Dog magazine
  • Emerging Hero Dogs, a category that pays tribute to ordinary dogs who do extraordinary things
  • Arson Dogs
  • Search and Rescue Dogs
  • Guide/Hearing Dogs

Following the nominations period, which ends on March 8, two dozen semifinalists (the top three in each category) will be chosen in a first round of voting by celebrity judges and the public. The second round, featuring a combination of public and celebrity voting, will narrow the field to eight category finalists who will then vie for the title of 2017 American Hero Dog.

Winners in each category will earn $2,500 for a designated charity partner and the overall winner’s charity partner will win an additional $5,000. Each charity partner is dedicated to celebrating the role of working dogs in our lives, and like American Humane, celebrates the importance of the human-animal bond.

The Hero Dog Awards once again will feature a second campaign – the American Humane Hero Veterinarian and Hero Veterinary Technician Awards, sponsored by Zoetis. As of February 2, 2017, pet owners and animal lovers across America were invited to nominate their favorite animal caretakers in these two fields, with each to be honored at the Hero Dog Awards event on September 16.