2024 Puppy Bowl: see photos and videos

January 11, 2024

Puppy Bowl XX (Photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Discovery)

The following is a press release from Warner Bros. Discovery:

Puppy Bowl, the original and longest running call-to-adoption television event, returns for a 20th year on Sunday, February 11, 2024 at 2PM ET / 11AM PT and will be simulcast across Animal Planet, Discovery, TBS, truTV, Max and discovery+.

The three-hour television matchup will be the biggest yet, featuring 131 puppies, 73 shelters and rescues across 36 states and territories – including the all-time smallest pup, Sweetpea, at 1.7 lbs and the biggest, Levi the Great Dane at 72 lbs. Inspiring adoption stories will highlight the dedication and incredible work of rescues and shelters, as puppies from Team Ruff and Team Fluff take to the gridiron in the Puppy Bowl XX stadium to win the WAYFAIR® “Lombarky” trophy and find their forever homes. To celebrate 20 years of the game, four previous Puppy Bowl players return to be inducted into the all-new Puppy Bowl Hall of Fame.

The game kicks off when the PEDIGREE® Starting Lineup players take to the field. Dash, a Pomeranian/pug, and Maggie, a chow chow/American Staffordshire terrier representing the US Virgin Islands for the first time, will compete for Team Fluff while Tater, an Australian cattle dog/German shepherd, and Peanut Pretzel, a pug from Los Angeles, will look to bring Team Ruff to victory. As the game progresses, it will be revealed which puppy player has what it takes to be named the MVP (Most Valuable Puppy) or to win the SUBARU OF AMERICA, INC. Underdog Award. 

Six special needs puppy players will also be introduced including Riddle, a pug terrier who suffers from the neurological condition cerebellar hypoplasia; Mr. Bean, a papillon who only has his two hind legs; and four pups who don’t let their deafness slow them down on the gridiron.

For the first time ever, puppies are taking over the show’s production by operating the cameras and lighting, directing from the control room, stage managing on the studio floor and even coaching Team Ruff and Team Fluff. Puppy Bowl referee Dan Schachner returns for his 13th year and for the first time, will have a puppy assistant coach, Whistle, who helps him call the plays and fumbles. With new camera angles, including a ref GoPro camera and wide-angle shot from the goal posts, viewers will experience getting nose-to-nose with the puppies. Fan-favorite elements including the slo-mo cam, NEXGARD® Brand Products blimp, the coveted water-bowl cam and the TEMPTATIONS™ Skybox kittens will return alongside sportscasters Steve Levy and Taylor Rooks providing play-by-play commentary between Team Ruff and Team Fluff.

Puppy Bowl XX begins with the annual pre-game show at 1PM ET/ 10AM PT on Animal Planet, going behind-the-scenes on the Puppy Bowl draft with exclusive interviews with coaches and players. Puppy Bowl fans will also learn more about each player’s breed mix and other unique traits from the Wisdom Panel™ pet DNA test that could help determine who will have a furry leg-up on the field. The pre-game show will check in with the BISSELL® Pet Foundation to see how they are continuing to make an impact with their rescue mission efforts and will also provide a first-look at the Kitty Halftime Show presented by ARM & HAMMER™ SLIDE™.

Also returning are the SUBARU OF AMERICA, INC. “Pup Close and Personal” segments that share some of the all-star athletes’ backstories. Featured will be Baltimore Ravens’ Ronnie Stanley’s rescue foundation which trains dogs, including hound Linus, to support people with special needs; and Beignet, a New Orleans dachshund, who gets a nose to tail makeover before the big game.

Puppy Bowl’s annual ‘Adoptable Pup’ segments sponsored by PEDIGREE ® features puppies – and a few kittens – from 14 shelters and rescues across the country that will be available for adoption during the game. Country singer and adoption advocate Miranda Lambert will introduce the first segment, as her non-profit, MuttNation, will feature a senior dog seeking their forever home.

Following Puppy Bowl XX, TBS’ new series hosted by comedian and actress Sarah Silverman, “Stupid Pet Tricks,” will premiere with a special multi-network sneak peek across TBS, Discovery, truTV and Animal Planet on Sunday, February 11 at 5PM ET/ 2PM PT.

In celebration of Puppy Bowl XX, Warner Bros. Discovery is partnering with Best Friends Animal Society, a leading national animal welfare organization, to help animals find their loving homes and will match donations to cover adoption fees for their pet lifesaving centers nationwide from February 7-14. Text PUPPY to 707070 or head to PuppyBowl.com/donate to double your impact or find a shelter near you.

Audiences can follow the conversation on social media with #PuppyBowl, and follow Animal Planet on Facebook, X, Instagram, and TikTok, as well as Puppy Bowl on Facebook for more updates.

Keep checking PuppyBowl.com for more information on the participating pups, the full photo gallery, and to vote on which pup you want to win the Pupularity Playoffs. Enjoy the spirit of Puppy Bowl at home with the official Puppy Bowl XX Collection, a curated assortment of apparel and accessories for you and your dog, available at PuppyBowl.com/shop.

Official Puppy Bowl XX sponsors include ARM & HAMMER™ SLIDE™, BISSELL®, MAYTAG™, NEXGARD® Brand Products, the PEDIGREE® brand, RING, SUBARU OF AMERICA, INC., TEMPTATIONS™, WISDOM PANEL™ and WAYFAIR®.

ANIMAL PLANET DRIVES IMPACT FOR PET ADOPTION WITH PARTNERSHIPS TO CELEBRATE 20 YEARS OF PUPPY BOWL

In celebration of the three-hour matchup featuring 131 puppies, 73 shelters and rescues across 36 states and territories, Animal Planet has paired with marketing and multiplatform partners to build opportunities for fans to experience Puppy Bowl. Best Friends Animal Society, Funny Face Bakery, National Football League Players Association, and Wag! join returning collaborators Bark Social, Grounds and Hounds, Pooch Perks, Southwest Airlines, and Valpak to support Puppy Bowl and raise awareness to find animals their forever homes.

“For the 20th anniversary of Puppy Bowl, we made this beloved pop culture event bigger and better than ever. In addition to working with a group of amazing brands and extending our reach, a big goal for our team was to drive more impact for pet adoption than ever before. Each one of our partnerships gives our fans fun ways to join the Puppy Bowl celebration but also drives awareness for shelters across the country,” said Karen Bronzo, Chief Marketing Officer, U.S. Networks Group, Warner Bros. Discovery.

This year’s Puppy Bowl partners include:

· Bark Social – Bark Social, the premier social club for dogs and dog lovers, will be hosting Puppy Bowl XX watch parties on Sunday, Feb. 11 from 1PM to 5PM ET at their Bethesda, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and Alexandria locations. Bark Social’s venue hosts a professionally monitored off-leash yard and features a fully stocked bar/beer garden and cafe ready for happy hours, sports games, trivia, drag shows, and more. Cheer for Team Ruff or Team Fluff with your furry best friend while grabbing a drink, playing games, winning prizes, and enjoying delicious bites with lots of chances for social media-worthy moments. Attendees can even go home with their own new MVP from one of the on-site adoption experiences. For more details, please visit www.barksocial.com or @bark_social.

· Best Friends Animal Society – In celebration of Puppy Bowl XX, Best Friends Animal Society, a leading animal welfare organization working to end the killing of cats and dogs in Americas shelters by 2025, will be waiving adoption fees from February 7 – 14 at their pet lifesaving centers across the country. Additionally, over 150 of Best Friends shelter and rescue group partners will also be participating in the fee-waived week. To find a participating shelter or rescue near you, visit bestfriends.org/puppybowl.

· Funny Face Bakery – Funny Face Bakery has partnered with Puppy Bowl to offer the ultimate treat bundle for pets and their humans. Their meme-worthy decorated cookies will be offered alongside special dog treats to celebrate the big game. Visit Funny Face Bakery or follow them on Instagram and TikTok (@funnyfacebakery) for more information.

· Grounds and Hounds – Grounds & Hounds Coffee Co. and Animal Planet have partnered together to create The Official Fuel of Puppy Bowl. For this limited release collaboration, the perfect blend was created to accompany a cozy winter morning with your best friend. Blending the highest-grade beans from Guatemala and Papua New Guinea, Grounds and Hounds developed the most aromatic and smooth Medium Roast blend to date. Each purchase of the exclusive Puppy Bowl Blend will include a complimentary official Puppy Bowl Game Day Bandana.

· Pooch Perks – Pooch Perks is the leading dog subscription box service dedicated to pampering furry family members. In collaboration with Puppy Bowl XX, a special selection of toys and treats have been curated to complement both Puppy Bowl and the month of LOVE in February. Each Pooch Perks Puppy Bowl Box comes with the official Puppy Bowl XX bandana, football & valentines themed toys and yummy treats and toys that both pets and owners will enjoy while watching Puppy Bowl.

· National Football League Players Association – The NFL Players Association (NFLPA) partnered with Animal Planet to connect dog lovers in the league with adoptable pups from Operation Paws for Homes for the ultimate puppy play date. Baltimore Ravens players Zay Flowers and Patrick Queen spent the afternoon with these pups as they tested their pet knowledge, discussed their experience with dog adoption, and participated in a few puppy piles. Follow @animalplanet and @nflpa on Instagram to see the fun moments.

· Southwest Airlines – Those flying on Southwest Airlines(R) during the month of February can enjoy Puppy Bowl content via the Inflight Entertainment Portal. Flyers can check out Animal Planet’s Puppy Bowl On Demand TV series to watch past Puppy Bowl favorite games and moments, including Puppy Bowl XIX, and an exclusive video, “Journey to Puppy Bowl,” which follows three puppies as they flew on Southwest to the cutest game in sports. Want to bring your own four-legged friend with you onboard? Southwest allows small dogs and cats to travel in-cabin in an approved carrier.

· Valpak – From the mailbox to the gridiron, Valpak is all about tackling savings. Valpak is helping Puppy Bowl celebrate its 20th anniversary with a takeover of the iconic blue envelope, offering one fan the chance to score a $10,000 sweepstakes prize. Plus, inside select envelopes, there’s a chance to win $100 towards the adoption fee for a new best friend.

· Wag! – Wag! is partnering with Puppy Bowl XX to celebrate the love and joy of pets by offering $10 off pet care when you use code PUPPYBOWL. Plus, Wag! will be matching donations made through the Wag! app to Best Friends Animal Society, up to a total of $10,000, between now and the big game.

Multi-platform elements for Puppy Bowl XX can be found on PuppyBowl.com, including photo galleries, Meet the Players-style videos, and adoption page for animals in need of a home. The “Pupularity Playoffs” bracket returns for the fourth consecutive year as fans vote on the Most Pupular player in the starting lineup. Following a month of on-air placements and social promotion, the winner of the bracket will be revealed in the pre-game show on Animal Planet.

Puppy Bowl superfans can also show their team spirit using Puppy Bowl stickers/GIFs pack that are available on GIPHY and in-app on Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, and more. These are designed to add game day flair to viewers’ social posts, texts, and emails. AR filters are also available on Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok for fans to join the fun. The “Puppy Presser” allows users to share a spotlight moment with their pet, while “Puppy Bowl Gameday” creates an immersive experience, placing a viewer on the Puppy Bowl field for a touchdown and being chased by puppy players.

Viewers can also share their pets enjoying the game by posting photos on social media using #PuppyBowl for a chance to be featured on TV during the telecast.

Puppy Bowl XX is produced for Animal Planet by Bright Spot Content, an All3Media America company.

About Warner Bros. Discovery:

Warner Bros. Discovery is a leading global media and entertainment company that creates and distributes the world’s most differentiated and complete portfolio of content and brands across television, film and streaming. Available in more than 220 countries and territories and 50 languages, Warner Bros. Discovery inspires, informs and entertains audiences worldwide through its iconic brands and products including: Discovery Channel, Max, discovery+, CNN, DC, Eurosport, HBO, HGTV, Food Network, OWN, Investigation Discovery, TLC, Magnolia Network, TNT, TBS, truTV, Travel Channel, MotorTrend, Animal Planet, Science Channel, Warner Bros. Motion Picture Group, Warner Bros. Television Group, Warner Bros. Pictures Animation, Warner Bros. Games, New Line Cinema, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, Turner Classic Movies, Discovery en Español, Hogar de HGTV and others. For more information, please visit www.wbd.com.

Puppy Bowl XX Participants

Review: ‘For the Animals,’ starring Tama Lundquist and Tena Lundquist Faust

July 29, 2023

by Carla Hay

Tama Lundquist and Tena Lundquist Faust in “For the Animals” (Photo courtesy of RouTTe One Productions)

“For the Animals”

Directed by Sadhvi Siddhali Shree and Sadhvi Anubhuti

Some language in Spanish with subtitles

Culture Representation: Taking place in the Houston area, the documentary film “For the Animals” features a group of predominantly white people (with some Latin people and African Americans) who are involved in some way in giving animal care to stray domesticated animals, particularly dogs.

Culture Clash: Animal rescuers face an uphill battle against limited resources and limited shelter space for stray animals, as well as pet owners’ resistance to spaying and neutering animals to reduce overpopulation.

Culture Audience: “For the Animals” will appeal mainly to people who like dogs and are interested in behind-the-scenes stories of rescuing stray dogs.

Tena Lundquist Faust and Tama Lundquist in “For the Animals” (Photo courtesy of RouTTe One Productions)

“For the Animals” is an educational and inspirational documentary about rescue efforts for stray dogs. The location is in Houston, but the lessons learned can apply to any area. The twin sisters who star in the movie are appealing and memorable advocates. Although the movie’s title implies that other animals will be prominently featured in this documentary, make no mistake: This documentary is all about rescuing dogs. And that’s okay, but the documentary’s title could have been more specific to the fact that this is a dog-oriented film.

Directed by Sadhvi Siddhali Shree and Sadhvi Anubhuti, “For the Animals” (which is Anubhuti’s feature-film directorial debut) chronicles the rescue work of identical twins Tama Lundquist and Tena Lundquist Faust, the co-founders and co-presidents of the non-profit group Houston PetSet, which was founded in 2004. An unsourced caption shown in the beginning of the documentary says, “It’s estimated that over a million stray animals are roaming the streets of Houston.” There’s no way to verify that statistic, especially if you consider “stray animals” can be rodents, insects and birds, not just dogs and cats.

Whatever the real number is for stray animals in Houston, “For the Animals” shows that there’s an alarming number of stray dogs in the Houston area. Lundquist and Lundquist Faust are two of the people who are doing positive things about this overpopulation problem. Houston PetSet is one of the animal rescue groups that is aimed at giving a better life for these animals by providing the money and resources for food, medical care (including spay/neuter services), foster care and eventual adoption, if the animals are able to be placed safely in a home. Lundquist and Lundquist Faust personally go out on the streets of Houston to be part of these rescue efforts, as shown in several scenes in the movie.

The documentary mentions more than once what experienced animal rescuers and their advocates already know: It’s not enough to take stray animals off of the streets and find them good homes. There has to be enough low-cost or free spay and neuter resources available in the area, in order to reduce overpopulation of stray dogs and cats. Many of these stray animals have a parent that is not a stray, but the pet owners often can’t or won’t get these pets spayed and neutered. It’s mentioned that in certain cultures, it’s considered taboo or unnecessary to spay and neuter dogs and cats, with neutering especially disapproved of by people who think male animals should never be sterilized.

All of the animal rescuers interviewed in the documentary say that the stray animal overpopulation in Houston is getting worse. Government-run animal shelters are overwhelmed by not having enough space for stray animals, so these government-run shelters almost always use euthanasia on animals that don’t get adopted in a limited period of time, in order to make room for new animals who arrive at the shelters. It’s usually up to privately funded groups to have “no kill” animal shelters.

Who are these twin sisters who are a strikingly passionate duo of animal rescuers? “For the Animals” doesn’t go too deep into their backgrounds, but Lundquist and Lundquist Faust both say in separate interviews that they wanted to be animal rescuers because they developed a love of animals from a very early age. Lundquist is the grittier sister who’s more likely to be hands-on with dirty and sick stray dogs that they find on the streets. Lundquist Faust is the more glamorous sister who’s more likely to come up with business ideas.

Both sisters seem to be fairly affluent (based on what their homes look like in the documentary), and they’re capable of hosting million-dollar fundraisers with Houston’s high-society people, but the twins are not super-rich themselves. Susan Boggio, a philanthropist/animal rescuer/PetSet benefactor, is interviewed in the documentary. Not surprisingly, Boggio has nothing but good things to say about Houston PetSet.

Each sister has multiple dogs and tell the stories about rescuing at least one of their dogs. Lundquist talks about adopting her dog Sunny after finding him as a stray all by himself in Houston’s Sunnyside neighborhood, on a night of freezing rain. She was so upset by thinking about him being along in the cold rain, she went back the next day to find him and keep him for herself. Lundquist Faust shares her story about adopting her dog Benjamin, who was also a stray. Benjamin was severely injured with broken bones and gunshot wounds, but “I was the only person he trusted,” says Lundquist Faust.

Lundquist says in a documentary interview that the twins’ parents were strict Scandinavians who didn’t show affection easily, which is why she and her sister were drawn to getting affection from animals when the twins were children. They had to beg their parents to get a pet dog and were heartbroken when their parents made them give away a family dog that the parents thought was too difficult. Lundquist says that she has a particular interest in rescuing stray animals because they remind her of “my own pain as a child, feeling lonely, feeling isolated, feeling not good enough.”

Lundquist Faust echoes those feelings and says of the stray animals that she and her sister rescue: “We have to assume that they’re traumatized, and treat them as such.” Lundquist Faust says that her husband Tyson Faust (who appears briefly in the documentary) encouraged her to become a full-time animal rescuer, which led to the formation of Houston PetSet. Lundquist Faust says she was deeply affected and disturbed by going to Monterrey, Mexico, and seeing how stray dogs there are often killed by electrocution.

The beginning of “For the Animals” shows the twins going to a run-down, garbage-littered area of Houston nicknamed The Corridor, which is a “dumping ground” for living and dead dogs. The twins are shown interacting with a street feeder (someone who feeds stray animals) named Sonya Franklin, who is a dog owner herself. Street feeders (who are usually women) almost always do these activities with no financial compensation, and they use their own money to pay for all of the expenses involved in feeding stray animals.

Animal rescue groups such as Houston PetSet rely on street feeders to keep them informed about specific animals that are in most need of rescuing and to give alerts about emergency situations. “For the Animals” shows Lundquist Faust and Lundquist working with Franklin to rescue two starving male dogs in The Corridor: a black and white older Labrador retriever mix that they name Walter and a brown and white pit bull mix (with injuries indicating that he was used in dog fighting) that they name Ozzy. “For the Animals” shows what ends up happening to Walter and Ozzy.

Jane Anne Wesson is another Houston street feeder who is shown working with Houston PetSet. In the documentary, Wesson has nothing but praise for Houston PetSet but is very open about her criticism of Houston’s government-run BARC Animal Shelter & Adoptions, which does euthanasia on animals. Wesson says she would never want a stray animal to go to BARC, because it would mean almost certain death for that animal. Wesson also comments that stray animals are better off on the streets where they’ll “at least have a fighting chance” to survive, rather than being sent to BARC.

BARC director Greg Damianoff is somewhat depicted as a villain in “For the Animals,” which strategically shows archival news interview footage of him whenever there’s mention of people who run animal shelters but who don’t really care about the animals. In the interviews, Damianoff comes across as defensive and cocky. In one archival news interview, he denies accusations that he doesn’t care about animals and says: “Am I going to make everyone happy? I don’t think so.”

However, there’s no mention in “For the Animals” if this documentary’s filmmakers made any efforts to contact Damianoff for an interview or comment for this documentary. Likewise, no one else who works at BARC is interviewed in the documentary, although Fort Bend County Animal Services director Rene Vasquez is interviewed to give the perspective of someone who runs an animal shelter that uses euthanasia as a last resort. The documentary has people giving criticism of BARC but no one representing BARC to get BARC’s side of the story. It’s one of the flaws in the documentary, which toward the end somewhat looks like a promotional video for Houston PetSet.

However, “For the Animals” does a very good job of pointing out that if a community has a major problem with an overpopulation of stray animals, it’s an indication of larger problems in the community. Lundquist says in a documentary interview: “I keep going back to [the belief that] if these animals are suffering in these places, the people are too. What can we do for all of them? How do we alleviate the suffering? It doesn’t seem right to me. It seems like we can help all of them.”

One of the best parts of “For the Animals” is in how it shows the power of animal rescue groups working together, instead of competing against each other. The documentary includes footage of the twins in meetings with Houston PetSet employees. In one of these meetings, it’s decided that Houston PetSet will form a strategic alliance with another Houston-based animal rescue group called Emancipet, which has stronger outreach to Spanish-speaking neighborhoods than Houston PetSet does.

Emancipet vice president Angelita Sampaio says in a documentary interview: “Houston is very international … People move from another location where it’s normal for animals to roam.” Sampaio believes that part of solving the stray overpopulation problem is in helping people rethink some of their harmful beliefs that they might have been raised with about animals and animal care. For example, some cultures believe that taking pet animals for a veterinary checkup is unnecessary, even if a pet owner can afford to do it.

This rethinking about giving better animal care includes spreading the word about how animals that are not being raised for breeding can benefit from being spayed and neutered by having better health and longer lives. However, one of the obstacles is that even when people are offered free spaying and free neutering for their pets, many pet owners still resist the idea for cultural reasons. Sampaio says that when it comes to getting pet owners to give better animal care, she doesn’t like to use the word “educating,” because it sounds condescending. She likes to use the term “information sharing.”

“For the Animals” shows how Houston PetSet and Emancipet joined forces to get the word out in a predominantly Spanish-speaking neighborhood about a free spay/neuter event hosted by Houston PetSet. Emancipet community outreach worker Stephanie Plata and community member Ernestina Zamarripa are shown being crucial allies in this outreach alliance. The event is said to be a success, although “For the Animals” doesn’t actually show this spay/neuter event, for reasons not explained in the documentary.

Part of running a successful animal rescue group is inevitable interaction with government officials. The twins are shown meeting with two of them: Greg Travis (a former member of the Houston City Council) and John Whitmire, a Texas state senator for District 15. At the time “For the Animals” was released, Whitmire was a candidate to be Houston’s mayor, with the outcome to be decided in a November 2023 general election.

Travis is one of the people in “For the Animals,” who speaks out against BARC, by sharing his own personal experience of adopting his dog Chloe from BARC. He says that he adopted her in part because BARC told him that Chloe was about to be euthanized for heartworm problems that BARC did not have the funds to treat. However, after adopting Chloe, Travis said medical tests proved that she did not have heartworm. Travis believes that BARC was using heartworm as a false reason to euthanize Chloe.

Travis also says in the documentary that Whitmire is one of the few Houston politicians who would actually work with rescue groups to do something about the stray overpopulation problem. Travis also makes it known that if Whitmire would be elected mayor of Houston, then Travis would want to be appointed the new director of BARC. Although Travis appears to be helpful in recommending Whitmire to Houston PetSet and seems to have good intentions, it appears that Travis has his own political agenda in doing so.

As for Whitmire, he claims to be a staunch supporter of animal rescue groups, but he gives a lot of canned politician talk in this documentary footage, such as saying, “You can’t fix the problem until you admit that you have one.” It would’ve been better if someone had asked him in the documentary what his specific plans were for improving animal care in Houston, instead of just letting Whitmire make vague statements. Other candidates in the 2023 Houston mayoral election are not interviewed in the documentary.

“For the Animals” isn’t a completely “feel good” documentary where everyone gets a happy ending. There are heartbreaking stories of animal abuse and neglect that result in death. The documentary also mentions the real-life dangers of feral and hungry stray dogs that can and have killed people. It’s probably why stray dogs, rather than stray cats, get more of the focus when there’s talk about stray domesticated animals being a public health problem.

The twins candidly talk about the emotional and physical toll that can happen from the stress of being an animal rescuer. They both say that this type of work takes a lot of time away from their loved ones. The twins worry about the damage that it does to their relationships and their physical well-being. That doesn’t mean that the twins are giving up anytime soon, but they know there will come a time in their lives when they have to slow down.

Lundquist’s adult son Cole Owen, who is briefly seen in the documentary, says that his mother’s life revolves around animal rescuing. Later, in the documentary, Lundquist breaks down and cries when she thinks about how she was preoccupied with a Houston PetSet fundraiser during a summer that she did not know would be the last summer she would spend with her father, who died in a car accident that December. She expresses regret that she didn’t spend more time with her father that summer.

Lundquist admits that when it comes to the problem of stray animal overpopulation, “I get so fucking mad at the people who don’t do anything, because if everybody could do a little bit, we could fix it.” Franklin makes a comment that is the biggest takeaway from the documentary and which sums up what motivates many animal rescuers/caregivers to get involved in saving helpless animals: “Everybody’s looking for someone else to do it, but we have to be the change we want to see.”

RouTTe One Productions released “For the Animals” in select U.S. cinemas, on digital and VOD on July 28, 2023.

‘For the Animals’: see photos and trailer for Houston animal rescue documentary, starring Tena Lundquist Faust and Tama Lundquist

July 6, 2023

Tama Lundquist and Tena Lundquist Faust in “For the Animals” (Photo courtesy of RouTTe One Productions)

The following is a press release from RouTTe One Productions:

“For the Animals”

In select theaters and on VOD on July 28, 2023

With catastrophic numbers of stray dogs roaming the streets of Houston TX, twin activists and philanthropists Tena Lundquist Faust and Tama Lundquist lead the charge and take matters into their own hands to save the animals they love. As more and more strays plague the city causing a public health crisis and attacking its residents, the sisters take to the streets for a hands-on approach.

There are too many citizens not caring for their pets and this problem has gone unchecked for decades, resulting in the worst animal crisis the city and county have seen. Through community outreach, direct work with local shelters and stray dog “feeders,” the sisters rescue strays right off the street, run weekly programs to provide free spay and neuter services to the community and work with politicians to take on the dark practices of Houston’s largest shelters that euthanize due to overcrowding. This was all exacerbated by COVID and the new policy of “managing the animal intake/limiting animal intake” in the shelters. As Tena and Tama seek to create a better life for the animals they love, they fight to prove that it takes just one person caring to make a difference.

Tena Lundquist Faust and Tama Lundquist in “For the Animals” (Photo courtesy of RouTTe One Productions)

Although For The Animals is set in Houston, it reflects the same issues cities across the U.S. face where approximately 6.3 million companion animals enter shelters yearly, according to the ASPCA. The film highlights both the grassroots efforts and the multiple animal welfare organizations struggling with the complex nature of solving this overwhelming issue where lack of resources and local bureaucracy each play a role.

Sadhvi Siddhali Shree and Sadhvi Anubhuti co-directed and co-produced the film with the support of human and animal rights activist Alyssa Milano as an Executive Producer.

2023 Puppy Bowl: See photos and videos

January 25, 2023

Effie in “Puppy Bowl XIX” (Photo by Elias Weiss Friedman)

The following is a press release from Animal Planet:

Puppy Bowl returns for its 19th year on Sunday, February 12, 2023, at 2:00PM ET / 11:00AM/PT, and for the first time will be simulcast across Animal Planet, Discovery Channel, TBS, HBO Max and discovery+ — a rare opportunity for new viewers to experience the original and longest running call-to-adoption TV event. This year’s program will feature Bleacher Report host Taylor Rooks, sports commentator Steve Levy, Egypt Sherrod and Mike Jackson (“Married to Real Estate”), Faruq Tauheed (“Battlebots”), Zak Bagans (“Ghost Adventures”), Alex Guarnaschelli (“Supermarket Stakeout”) along with talent from Discovery Channel’s “Street Outlaws” franchise, New Line Cinema’s upcoming film “Shazam! Fury of the Gods,” and some of the biggest sports personalities from Warner Bros. Discovery Sports.

With more puppies and more inspiring adoption stories than ever before, Puppy Bowl XIX will highlight the incredible work of rescue and shelter workers who dedicate their lives to helping animals find their forever homes. Puppy Bowl XIX will feature 122 puppies, 67 shelters and rescues across 34 states — and for the first-time will feature a Native American animal organization and a puppy player from Dominica, West Indies.

Puppy Bowl XIX will start with a pre-game show at 1:00PM ET/ 10:00AM PT to give audiences the inside scoop on the Puppy Bowl draft with exclusive interviews with coaches and players. Audiences will also learn more about each puppy player’s breed mix and other unique traits from Wisdom Panel™ dog DNA test that could help determine which puppy player will have a furry leg-up on the field. The pre-game show will also provide a first-look at the ARM & HAMMER™ SLIDE™ Kitty Halftime Show.

The game kicks off when the PEDIGREE® Starting Lineup players take to the field and as the game progresses, it will be revealed which puppy player has what it takes to be named the BISSELL® MVP (Most Valuable Puppy) or to win the SUBARU OF AMERICA, INC. Underdog Award.

Puppy Bowl referee Dan Schachner returns for his 12th year of overseeing the stumbles & tumbles and calling all the puppy penalties and touchdowns while sportscasters Steve Levy and Taylor Rooks return to provide play-by-play commentary. Audiences will also see the return of Puppy Bowl’s ‘Adoptable Pup’ segments sponsored by PEDIGREE ®. Sprinkled throughout the program, 11 shelters from around the country will feature one of their puppies (and 3 shelters with kittens during KITTY HALF-TIME) that are all up for adoption during the game! Other fan-favorite elements return, including the Puppy Cheer Squad, the coveted water-bowl cam, the slo-mo cam, end zone pylon cameras to catch all the action, in addition to an all-new backstage look at the puppy players’ red-carpet arrivals ahead of the game.

Also returning are the SUBARU OF AMERICA, INC. “Pup Close and Personal” segments that share the back stories of the adorable star athletes. Viewers will meet Cooper, a Boston terrier/ boxer mix from Seattle Humane, who marks the Emerald City’s debut in Puppy Bowl with a visit to the Seattle Seahawks’ Training Camp where Defensive End Shelby Harris coaches Cooper on his signature moves, and Inya, a Chihuahua/ miniature Pinscher mix rescued by the Phoenix-based NAGI Foundation working to restore the sacredness of the Native American community by uniting people and animals. For more “Pup Close and Personal” stories featured in Puppy Bowl XIX, please click HERE.

During the game, audiences will also meet eleven special needs puppy players looking for their forever homes that will include Julius, a hearing-impaired Dalmatian, Marmalade, a sight and hearing-impaired Border Collie/ Australian Cattle Dog; Mykonos, a American Staffordshire Terrier/ Bulldog with a cleft palate, among others.

Official Puppy Bowl XIX sponsors include BISSELL®, WAYFAIR®, ARM & HAMMER™ SLIDE™, NEXGARD®, The PEDIGREE® brand, SUBARU OF AMERICA, INC., TEMPTATIONS™, and WISDOM PANEL™ pet DNA test.

Viewers can join the conversation on social media by using the hashtag #PuppyBowl and following Animal Planet on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok for the latest updates.

Keep checking PuppyBowl.com for more information on the participating pups and to learn how you join in on the fun.

Puppy Bowl XIX is produced for Animal Planet and discovery+ by Bright Spot Content, an All3Media America company.

About Animal Planet

Animal Planet, one of Discovery, Inc.’s great global brands, is dedicated to creating high quality content with global appeal delivering on its mission to keep the childhood joy and wonder of animals alive by bringing people up close in every way. Available to 360 million homes in more than 205 countries and territories, Animal Planet combines content that explores the undeniable bonds forged between animals and humans, optimized across all screens around the world. For more information, please visit www.animalplanet.com.

About Discovery

Discovery Channel is dedicated to creating the highest quality non-fiction content that informs and entertains its consumers about the world in all its wonder, diversity and amazement. The network, which is distributed to 100.8 million U.S. homes, can be seen in 224 countries and territories, offering a signature mix of compelling, high-end production values and vivid cinematography across genres including, science and technology, exploration, adventure, history and in-depth, behind-the-scenes glimpses at the people, places and organizations that shape and share our world. For more information, please visit www.discovery.com.

About TBS

TBS, a Warner Bros. Discovery brand, is a top-rated destination for television among young adults and known for escapist, good-time entertainment, featuring smart, imaginative characters with heart and comedic edge. From unscripted and scripted comedy series to game shows, and animated programming, TBS’ Originals slate is comprised of some of the most popular shows on cable — “AEW: Dynamite,” “American Dad!,” “Miracle Workers,” “Wipeout,” “Friday Night Vibes,” and “The Cube” along with upcoming series “Stupid Pet Tricks”. TBS’ lineup also includes comedy hits like “Young Sheldon” and “The Big Bang Theory,” classic sitcom favorites such as “Friends,” blockbuster movies, and live event coverage of Major League Baseball, the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship and “ELEAGUE,” Warner Bros. Discovery’s eSports gaming competition. Website: www.tbs.com

About HBO Max

HBO Max™ is a streaming platform that offers best in class quality entertainment, delivering the greatest array of series, movies, and specials from the iconic brands of HBO, Warner Bros., and DC, as well as Max Originals and blockbuster films. The platform launched in the United States in May 2020 and introduced a lower priced, advertising-supported tier in June 2021. Currently available in 61 countries, HBO Max began its global rollout launching in markets across Latin America and the Caribbean in 2021, followed by European launches in the Nordics, Iberia, the Netherlands and Central and Eastern Europe.

About discovery+

discovery+ is the definitive non-fiction, real life subscription streaming service from Warner Bros. Discovery. With the largest-ever content offering at launch, discovery+ features a wide range of exclusive, original series across popular passion verticals including lifestyle and relationships; home and food; true crime; paranormal; adventure and natural history; as well as science, tech and the environment, and a slate of high-quality documentaries. For more, visit discoveryplus.com, or find the discovery+ app on most mobile and connected TV devices.

About WBD Sports

WBD Sports is a global leader in premium sports content across all platforms, engaging fans in more than 200 markets and in over 20 languages. The WBD Sports U.S. portfolio includes multi-platform partnerships with the National Basketball Association (“NBA”), Major League Baseball (“MLB”), National Collegiate Athletic Association (“NCAA”), National Hockey League (“NHL”) and United States Soccer Federation (“USSF”). WBD Sports Europe features Eurosport, the leading sport destination and the Home of the Olympic Games in Europe, as well as Global Cycling Network (GCN), Global Mountain Bike Network (GMBN) and Golf Digest. In 2022, Eurosport UK combined with BT Sport to create an extensive collection of live sports coverage for fans in the UK and Ireland.

WBD Sports’ owned-and-operated platforms include Bleacher Report – the #1 digital destination for young sports fans, reaching more than 175 million users each month – Eurosport.com, Europe’s #1 online sports news website, House of Highlights, HighlightHER and a full suite of digital and social brands. TNT Sports is WBD’s sports content brand in Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Mexico. Several regional sports networks, serving fans live sports in each of the respective U.S. markets, are also owned and/or operated by WBD Sports in the U.S.

Review: ‘Cat Daddies,’ starring Nathan Kehn, Jeff Judkins, Jordan Lide, David Giovanni, Chris Alese, David Durst, Will Zweigart, Ryan Robertson and Peter Mares

October 16, 2022

by Carla Hay

Jeff Judkins and Zulu in “Cat Daddies” (Photo by Mye Hoang/Gray Hat Productions)

“Cat Daddies”

Directed by Mye Hoang

Culture Representation: The documentary film “Cat Daddies” features a group of predominantly white people (with one African American) discussing how men and cats can have special bonds with each other.

Culture Clash: The men in the documentary dispel stereotypes that the only people who are passionate about cats are “crazy cat ladies,” and they share stories about how their cats sometimes helped them get through rough times in their lives.

Culture Audience: “Cat Daddies” will appeal mainly to people who like cats and are interested in feel-good stories about living with domesticated cats.

David Giovanni and Lucky in “Cat Daddies” (Photo by Eric Yang/Gray Hat Productions)

Through entertaining and heartwarming stories, the documentary “Cat Daddies” is proof that it’s an outdated stereotype to think that people who love cats are mostly women. The movie is really about how humans and cats enrich each others’ lives. It’s a simple concept, but the movie does an excellent job of portraying all the complex and nuanced ways that cats can bring joy and companionship, even to people who thought that they weren’t very fond of cats.

Directed by Mye Huong, “Cat Daddies” focuses on nine different men in the United States who share their personal stories about how their cats changed their lives. Most of the men were in their 30s and 40s at the time of being filmed for “Cat Daddies,” while one of the men is over the age of 60. The nine “cat daddies” in the documentary are:

Nathan Kehn (also known as Nathan the Cat Lady) is an actor/social media influencer who lives in North Hollywood, California. He has made somewhat of a career out of documenting his antics with his four cats: Pickles, Ginger, Annie and Princess. Kehn says that once he reached 25,000 followers on social media with his cat videos, he knew that he could try to make a living from it, especially since the cat videos boosted his social media following to a minimum number that he says is needed to be considered for certain acting jobs. As a bachelor who admits he spends a lot of date nights alone, Kehn says he now knows, “I can’t be with someone who’s not an animal lover.” He mentions that he broke up with an ex-girlfriend because she didn’t like cats and wanted him to get rid of his cats.

Jeff Judkins is a software engineer, who moved from California to Minnesota, and back to California, during the course of the film production of “Cat Daddies,” which was filmed mostly in 2020. The movie has an epilogue of updates of what the “cat daddies” have been up to through 2022. Judkins has a black-and-white male cat named Zulu, while his roommate Erin LemMon has a female cat named Mrs. Fitzby. Together, these roommates like to frequently go hiking and camping with their cats. The documentary includes a particularly harrowing experience that Judkins and LemMon had with a wildfire that hit their neighborhood in Boulder Creek, California.

David Giovanni is an elderly former construction worker who has the most tearjearking story in the movie. Giovanni, an immigrant from the European country of Georgia, has lived in the U.S. since 2001, and has fallen on hard times in New York City. Homeless and broke since 2018, he has health issues, such as cerebral palsy and a cancerous tumor on his right arm. He says what gives him the will to live is a brown tabby male cat named Lucky, whom Giovanni treats like a son. Giovanni’s relationship with Lucky (who was raised by Giovanni since Lucky was a kitten) goes though some difficult transitions because most homeless shelters do not allow cats, and there’s a period of time when Giovanni’s extended stay in a hospital and surgery recovery force him to be separated from Lucky.

Chris Alese is a New York City police officer who became a friend of Giovanni’s when he would see Giovanni and Lucky while on patrol duty. “Cat Daddies” shows how these two men from different backgrounds formed a friendship that was deeply affected by what was going to happen to Lucky when Giovanni had to be separated from the cat. These experiences moved Alese so much, he eventually became a cat daddy, to a female tabby named Pez.

Jordan Lide is a firefighter at Belmont Fire Department in Greenville, South Carolina. Lide and his co-workers help take care of an orange-and-white cat named Flame the Arson Cat, who wandered into the fire station one day as a stray, malnourished cat, and charmed the employees there into keeping him. In the documentary, Lide describes himself as the main person who convinced his boss to let the cat live at the fire station, even though having a cat in this workplace was against the rules at the time. Flame has made himself at home and has fit right in with the unpredictability of working at a fire station. Lide says Flame has never gotten in the way when the fire trucks have to suddenly leave and enter the building for emergencies.

David Durst is a truck driver who lives in Florida but travels all over the United States with his beloved feline Flora the Trucker Cat, who is a tan tabby who appears to be a Persian mix. Durst says that dogs are the most popular pets that truckers bring on the road, but he states that cat pets are more common on truck-driving excursions than most people think they are. (He also mentions that birds and reptiles are occasional pet companions for truckers too.) Flora is an unusual domesticated cat who likes activities on all sorts of rugged terrain outdoors, such as climbing on cliffs and trekking through snow-covered land. Durst is shown in the documentary on adventure trips with Flora and his girlfriend Destiny Rolfe, including some gorgeous scenes in the Arizona wilderness of Flagstaff and Sedona.

Will Zweigart is the founder of the Brooklyn, New York-based non-profit group Flatbush Cats, whose specialty is spaying and neutering stray cats to help reduce the homeless cat epidemic in Brooklyn. Feral cats that are too wild or too “unsocialized” to be adopted go through a humane “trap, neuter, return” (TNR) process, while the stray cats that are adoptable are placed in foster care or permanent homes. Zweigart (who’s a cat daddy to two cats named Teddy and Franny) says the biggest challenge for Flatbush Cats is fundraising, and this is the most important lesson he’s learned about getting money for a non-profit: “You have to document your work … We committed to social media early on.”

Ryan Robertson is a stunt performer in Atlanta who thought he would never live with a cat because he never had pets as a child, since his mother was afraid of animals. “I shared her fear,” he confesses. That all changed when he met a male cat named Toodles, a brown Maine Coon who weighs a whopping 25 pounds. Robertson got Toodles at a PetSmart adoption event. He also credits Toodles with helping him court the woman who would become Robertson’s girlfriend: fitness trainer Megan Dovell, who adores cats and is also featured in the documentary.

Peter Mares (a schoolteacher in Dana Point, California) has a black-and-white female cat named Keys, who has become a minor social media celebrity nicknamed GoalKitty. It all started when Mares noticed that Keys likes to stand on her hind legs and raise her front legs, thereby looking like a human soccer goalie holding her hands straight up in the air. He took some photos of her in this standing position, some of the photos went viral, and the rest is history. He sells GoalKitty merchandise and makes personal appearances with her, with some people traveling hundreds of miles just to meet her. Just like many of the men featured in the documentary, Mares says his love life improved because he found a partner who loves cats too.

Of course, any documentary called “Cat Daddies” has plenty of adorable cat footage, which is aided by engaging cinematography by Rob E. Bennett and very good editing by Hoang and Dave Boyle. Hoang and Boyle are also the producers of “Cat Daddies,” which is clearly a project that is a labor of love that can be enjoyed by anyone who appreciates how pet animals are often ideal companions through good times and bad times.

“Cat Daddies” has some commentary about the myth that only women are supposed to like cats the most. Carson Couch, a firefighter at Belmont Fire Department in Greenville, describes how Flame affected the men who work in the fire department: “A lot of the guys here have only had dogs. Flame changed their perception of cats. He’s personable and lovable.” All of the men interviewed in the documentary say some version of the truth that a lot of men have always liked cats. But over time, it’s become more socially acceptable for men to publicly admit it, because liking cats isn’t supposed to be limited to one particular human gender.

Zweigart, who is the only one in the group of interviewees who has a job completely devoted to cats, started Flatbush Cats when he worked in advertising. He has since left his advertising job to focus on Flatbush Cats full-time. Zweigart says Flatbush Cats’ next big goal is to open a low-cost clinic in Brooklyn that will offer a variety of medical services for cats but will primarily be focused on spaying and neutering.

At a Q&A after a “Cat Daddies” screening during the movie’s opening weekend in New York City, Hoang was in attendance with several of the documentary’s filmmaking team and interview subjects, including Bennett, Giovanni, Alese, Zweigart, Judkins and Lede. Zweigart gave an update on the planned Flatbush Cats clinic, by saying that he signed a 10-year-lease on a space for the clinic, and the group has a goal to raise $1.5 million in start-up funds for the clinic, which will also be involved in adoptions and foster care for pets. (Dogs will also be treated at the clinic.)

Lucky’s bittersweet journey with Giovanni is chronicled in the documentary. Full details won’t be revealed in this review. However, it’s enough to say that, as of this writing, Lucky is still in Giovanni’s life, but in a different way than when the “Cat Daddies” documentary began filming them.

“Cat Daddies” isn’t just a movie about men gushing over their cats. The documentary shows, through actions and the men’s own words, how living with cats taught them how to become more patient and more open-minded. Cats by nature are known for being more independent than most other domesticated pets, but this independence also means that someone who lives with a cat has to earn the cat’s trust. Once that trust is earned, as “Cat Daddies” shows so terrifically, it can turn into a beautiful and loving friendship where the cat becomes a member of the family.

Gray Hat Productions released “Cat Daddies” in New York City on October 14, 2022, with an expansion to cinemas in more U.S. cities, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand in subsequent weeks.

‘Free Puppies!’ documentary focuses on rescue dogs from the rural South in the U.S.

August 8, 2022

A rescue puppy arrives on transport and meets her new owner at the Vince Lombardi Service Station in New Jersey , as seen in “Free Puppies!” (Photo courtesy of First Run Features)

The following is a press release from First Run Features:

Millions of rescue dogs from the rural South have been transported to new homes thanks to the tireless efforts of a vast, grassroots network of dog rescuers. “Free Puppies!” is the true story of where those dogs come from and how a group of feisty and intrepid women rescuers are working together to save them.

Although transports have moved dogs from the South for decades, when Hurricane Katrina left more than 250,000 pets stranded, the infrastructure of modern pet transport for a nation-wide dog rescue effort was born. Since then, individual volunteers, transporters, shelters and rescue groups have created a movement to place millions of southern dogs in areas of the country with high demand for adoption but low supply.

By following a group of women dog rescuers from Georgia, Alabama, and Tennessee, “Free Puppies!” reveals the challenges that contribute to the rescue dog crisis in the first place. These women not only save dogs from euthanasia, but also organize affordable and accessible spay and neuter, reform local ordinances, advocate for humane education, and fight urgent and complex challenges facing underserved areas of the rural South. The film includes interviews with the ASPCA, Atlanta Humane Society, McKamey Animal Center, My Kids Have Paws Veterinary Clinic, Dixie Day Spay, and dozens of rescue organizations, shelter directors, healthcare providers, and local officials.

“Free Puppies!,” a film by Samantha Wishman and Christina Thomas opens August 12, 2022, in live cinemas.

70 minutes | Color | English

Credits:

  • Samantha Wishman – Director, Producer, Editor
  • Christina Thomas – Director, Co-Producer, Editor
  • Muffie Meyer – Story Editor
  • Carter McCormick – Director of Photography Eliot Popko – Director of Photography
  • Joey McCormick and Willard Hamilton – Original Music

2022 Puppy Bowl: See photos and videos

(Photo courtesy of Discovery+/Animal Planet)

The following is a press release from Discovery+ and Animal Planet:

Everyone’s favorite other game is back in action for the ultimate woof-a-thon. The original call-to-adoption television event and cutest sports competition, PUPPY BOWL, returns for its 18th year, highlighting more shelters, more incredible stories, and the most puppies ever featured in PUPPY BOWL history. Get ready to cheer on the adoptable puppy players of TEAM RUFF and TEAM FLUFF as they give it their all to catch air-speed and take home this year’s CHEWY “Lombarky” trophy. Catch all the action in the GEICO ‘stadium within a stadium’ that takes this game to the next level. Between ear pulls, tail tugs, sloppy kisses, incredible interceptions, puppy penalties and hard-won touchdowns, this is the game you don’t want to miss! Tune in to PUPPY BOWL XVIII, the 3-hour spectacular event that can be streamed on discovery+, the definitive non-fiction, real life subscription streaming service, and Animal Planet on Sunday, February 13 at 2 PM ET/11 AM PT.

PUPPY BOWL celebrates adoptable pups in all their cuteness and showcases the incredible shelters and rescues, as well as their staffers, who dedicate their lives to helping animals find their fur-ever loving homes. This year an astounding 67 shelters and rescues from 33 states bring 118 incredible adoptable puppy players out to sport their TEAM RUFF ‘Tail Mary Tangerine’ and TEAM FLUFF ‘Bark Blue’ bandana colors. Each pup player is coming to strut their paws and show off their uniqueness, and with the help of the Wisdom Panel™ dog DNA test, we’ll find out what’s beyond those bandanas and luscious fur, and how each dog’s breed mix might give them a leg-up on the field. And on top of these hidden traits which may be revealed, these players will give it their all to chase, fetch, guard, heel, and sprint to the CHEWY end zone pylons for the ultimate touchdowns and score game catching field goals on THE HOME DEPOT goal posts.  

Thanks to our returning and notoriously entertaining slo-mo cam, fans will get to see these canines’ devotion to the game as they put their tricks to the test to score a touchdown and a possible chase of the tail. While showing off their tricks and shakes, audiences will get the pawesome views from the water bowl cam which will catch our furry friends in a PEDIGREE® timeout to re-energize their quirky selves and quench their thirst. For the ultimate top-notch aerial view, the TEMPTATIONS™ Kitty Sky Box will also be featured throughout the game so fans can feel as if they’re in the center of all the puppy madness. 

The PUPPY BOWL XVIII Pre-Game Show begins exclusively on discovery+ and Animal Planet at 1PM ET/ 10AM PT where fan-favorite PUPPY BOWL sportscasters Rodt Weiler, Sheena Inu, James Hound, and field reports Mini Pinscher and Greta Dane provide the inside scoop on this year’s Puppy Bowl Draft ahead of the big game. The pre-game show spotlights exclusive interviews with coaches and players, a look at the adorable pups warming up and running their favorite routes during CHEWY’s ‘Play of the Day.’ In addition, audiences will get a first-look tease at the purr-fect halftime show through the ARM & HAMMER™ Clump & Seal™ Kitty Halftime Report. We’ll also get puppy DNA analysis from Wisdom Panel™ dog DNA test Players Report and catch up with several special puppy players past and present including Chunky Monkey, who won the hearts of many during Puppy Bowl XVII and Marshall, who was declared victorious as the winner of the Puppy Bowl XVII ‘Pupularity Playoff”. Those who tune-in will meet Biscuit, the Washington Capitals service pup who is training with America’s VetDogs and see a special look at the BISSELL Pet FoundationTM and their rescue efforts of transporting cats and dogs out of the Hurricane Ida danger zone to safety at Animal Welfare League in Alexandria, VA. 

To kick off the game, special guests Elmo & Tango are traveling all the way from Sesame Street to gather the PEDIGREE® Starting Lineup players in the center of the field for the PUPPY BOWL XVIII coin toss to who from Team Fluff or Team Ruff will be the first to wag their tails! In addition, Elmo & Tango will be featured throughout the game as they cheer on one unforgettable pup, Wasabi, a Chihuahua/Cocker Spaniel mix from The Sato Project, from the sidelines throughout the game. As the game progresses, we will see which pup has what it takes for the one and only BISSELL Pet FoundationTM MVP (Most Valuable Puppy) award by scoring the most touchdowns. This pup will join a league of past MVP champions, and through TROPICAL SMOOTHIE CAFE®, audiences will catch up with a previous Puppy Bowl MVP now in his loving, forever home and living his best life “on Tropic Time”. Be sure to tune in to find out which lucky pup will also take home the coveted SUBARU OF AMERICA, INC. Underdog Award! 

And of course, Dan Schachner, PUPPY BOWL’s official and favorite Ruff-eree is returning for his 11th year of calling the puppy penalties, ruffs stumbles & tumbles, and awesome touchdowns for a game unlike any other. Dan is ready for the ultimate puppy showdown and fans will hear all these calls and more from returning commentators Steve Levy and Taylor Rooks as they give us the play-by-play coverage of the rambunctious pups of Team Fluff and Team Ruff as they frolic, jump, dive, and occasionally snooze their way to victory. In addition to seeing these puppy players on the field, audiences will also see the return of the SUBARU OF AMERICA, INC. Pup Close and Personal segments that shine a light on adorable star athletes including one special Senior Spotlight story which showcases that age is just a number and senior dogs are ultimately puppies at heart. This year’s Pup Close and Personal features various segments including:

  • A special profile on Orange Twins Rescue, started by Ariana Grande and her choreographers and creative directors’, twins Scott & Brian, who accompany a pair of bonded Siberian Husky/ Chihuahua mix puppy sisters, Bimini & Tayce to Farm Animal Refuge in San Diego where they meet baby goats and cows
  • Kirby, a very special Labrador retriever who is the Houston Texans’ service pup in-training in partnership with America’s Vet Dogs, who visits NRG Stadium for a service practice session with Texans player Justin Reid
  • Hoku, a American Staffordshire Terrier/ Catahoula Leopard Mix; and Puppy Bowl’s first ever Hawaiian pup, from Maui Humane Society, who as a participant of the rescue’s ‘Buddies’ program, embarks on a special field trip to a hike in Maui’s National Parks where we learn about the legend of the ‘Poi’ dogs of ancient Polynesian culture
  • Birch, a Chihuahua / Toy Fox Terrier mix who is cared for by a special foster under Ninna’s Road to Rescue foster program and is coached for the big game by Puppy Bowl XVI alum, Darcy
  • Benny, a special needs Labradoodle, who is living his best life with a foster from Bosley’s Place where he spends his days practicing laps on the lush property with his fellow dog companions
  • A special look at The Dogist (Elias Weiss Friedman) who teams up with Pilots to the Rescue, to bring one incredible Dalmatian puppy, Pongo, on a flight from a Virginia shelter to New York City for PUPPY BOWL XVIII

 In addition to these incredible Pup Close stories, PUPPY BOWL XVIII will also feature an unforgettable senior spotlight story featuring Mr. Lee Asher from the upcoming discovery+ series, My Pack Life, as he hosts Sharkey, a Greyhound Mix from Family Dogs New Life shelter at his own rural sanctuary, The Asher House, in Oregon where Sharkey will not have a day full of adventure but will have a chance of finding a forever home.  

During the game, audiences will also meet nine fuzzball special needs players that are looking forward to finding their forever home; including Benny, a wheelchair bound Labradoodle featured in one of this year’s Pup Close stories; Forrest, a one-eyed Neapolitan Mastiff/Cane Corso Mix; Rocket, a deaf Chihuahua/Dachshund: Pongo, a deaf Dalmatian; Ridley, a deaf and vision impaired Border Collie; Bunny, a deaf American Staffordshire Terrier/Labrador Retriever Mix; Moby, a French Bulldog with a cleft palate; Bimini, a vision impaired Siberian Husky/Chihuahua Mix; and Irwin, a three-legged ​​American Pit Bull Terrier/Chihuahua Mix. This year’s big game will feature the return of two special PUPPY BOWL moments. First, TEAM RUFF and TEAM FLUFF players will be cheered by adorable, adoptable puppy cheerleaders who will root and howl for their favorite players from the sidelines. This year, the new cheer squad will bring-it from their own special sideline setup to shake their pom poms, run a few cheer-formations, and amp up the volume with an overload of cuteness as PUPPY BOWL XVIII players make their way down the field. Next, audiences will again see Puppy Bowl’s ‘Adoptable Pup’ segments, hosted by Dan Schachner and sponsored by CHEWY. Sprinkled throughout the program, 11 shelters from around the country will feature one of their puppies (and 3 shelters with kittens during KITTY HALF-TIME) that are all up for adoption during the game! 

In addition to these unforgettable moments, put your paws together midway through the game for the ARM & HAMMER™ Clump & Seal™ KITTY HALF-TIME SHOW for these adoptable kittens at their practically purr-fect beach party. At this ocean-side getaway, audiences will experience the beach-tastic party with these felines having some fun in the sun and learning about their heartwarming adoption stories in their loving new fur-ever home.

Fans can also access even more furry fun and exclusive content by downloading discovery+. Leading up to PUPPY BOWL XVIII, discovery+ and Animal Planet GO users will find exclusive in-app original programming, including the PUPPY BOWL mid-form series “Pupclose & Personal” featuring Ariana Grande’s best friends and choreographers, Scott and Brian Nicholson, who founded Orange Twins Rescue, a non-profit organization that rehabilitates and rescue animals in need. Plus, we’ll also see Dan the Ref take us down memory lane, highlighting the very best and firsts of Puppy Bowl’s 17-year history. Additionally, fans are also invited to Tweet along with game day commentator Meep the Bird and vote in real time, for the winner of the Most Valuable Puppy award. Results will be revealed during the epic program.

For the first time in Puppy Bowl history, there will be 23 exclusive Puppy Bowl NFTs released leading up to and on the day of the game hosted by Chronicle, an NFT studio and marketplace. Each drop will feature unique and pawsitively adorable trading cards varying in price and rarity, and a portion of the proceeds from all the sales will benefit Orange Twins Rescue, an animal rescue organization founded by brothers Scott and Brian Nicholson, and Ariana Grande. For the latest on when the NFTs are releasing, follow along on Animal Planet’s TwitterInstagramFacebook, and TikTok.

Additionally, fans can look forward to the following exclusive digital content: Elmo will be taking over Discovery’s Instagram Story to tell his own puppy adoption story; Kirby, the Houston Texans’ service pup in-training, will be hosting a Discovery Instagram Story takeover as he prepares to play in the Puppy Bowl; and the cutest pregame puppy scrimmage will stream live on Animal Planet TikTok the day of the game.

Fans can also show off their puppy fandom by using the special custom GIF sticker pack available by searching “Puppy Bowl” in the GIF section on social platforms or by visiting the Puppy Bowl GIPHY page

Official PUPPY BOWL XVIII sponsors include ARM & HAMMER™ Clump & Seal™, BISSELL Pet FoundationTM, CHEWY, GEICO, THE HOME DEPOT, the PEDIGREE® brand, SUBARU OF AMERICA, INC., TEMPTATIONS™, TROPICAL SMOOTHIE CAFE®, and Wisdom Panel™ pet DNA test. 

For more information about the shelters, rescues and organizations that participated in PUPPY BOWL XVIII, Animal Planet audiences can visit Puppybowl.com/Adopt. 

PUPPY BOWL XVIII is produced for discovery+ and Animal Planet by Bright Spot Content, an All3Media America company. Simon Morris is executive producer and showrunner with Suzanne Rauscher and Sandy Varo Jarrell also serving as executive producers. For Animal Planet, Erin Wanner is executive producer, Pat Dempsey is supervising producer, and Marissa Donovan is production coordinator.

PUPPY BOWL XVIII PLAYERS

AMC Networks partners with Adopt-A-Pet.com for FurFest adoption promotion

October 20, 2020

The following is a press release from AMC Networks:

AMC Networks today announced it has teamed up with Adopt-a-Pet.com, North America’s largest non-profit pet adoption website, for AMC’s annual horror marathon FearFest, to raise awareness for pet adoption with ‘FurFest.’ All month long, AMC, AMC+, and Shudder are encouraging viewers to support Adopt-a-Pet.com’s mission to end the overpopulation of companion animals in shelters and help pets find loving forever homes through custom, PET-tacular spots airing across linear, digital, and social channels.

The custom spots, featuring a few four-legged horror fans, encourage viewers to find their perfect watch buddies through adoptions and especially raise awareness for black cat and black dog adoptions this spooky season. Halloween may be the season for magical black cats, but in reality, they are most often left behind in shelters because of the color of their fur. Many animal welfare organizations call this “black cat syndrome,” with the phenomenon happening with black dogs as well. Through the collaboration, audiences are encouraged and inspired to help fight “black cat syndrome” by adopting these furry friends or by donating to Adopt-a-Pet.com. See the custom spot: 

“We all know that spooky season is best enjoyed with a buddy by your side, which is why we’re thrilled to join forces with Adopt-a-Pet.com to help viewers find their perfect four-legged watch companions,” said Linda Schupack, President of Marketing, AMC Networks Entertainment Group. “The movies on AMC’s FearFest and Shudder are already scary enough. How great to cuddle up with a lovely black cat or black dog for Halloween and beyond.”

“Teaming up with AMC Networks is an exciting and unique way to spread the word about pet adoption,” said Dana Puglisi, Chief Marketing Officer of Adopt-a-Pet.com. “We appreciate AMC and Shudder’s efforts to help get more pets into loving homes. And we love all the extra snuggles those newly adopted pets will receive while their people binge through the FearFest thrills!”

Now in its 24th consecutive year, AMC’s annual horror marathon FearFest brings the frights with an entire month of genre programming from iconic franchises like Halloween and Insidious, and the return of award-winning docuseries Eli Roth’s History of HorrorShudder, dubbed “the ultimate in streaming horror” by Newsweek, offers the best selection of original and classic horror, thriller and supernatural films and series, uncut and commercial free. Both are also now available as part of the new AMC+, a premium streaming bundle featuring only the good stuff, which also includes IFC Midnight’s best genre cinema from independent, foreign and documentary films. In addition to the largest slate of classic horror movies such as Friday the 13th and Halloween, AMC+ also includes all series within The Walking Dead Universe, as well as AMC’s Eli Roth’s History of Horror, and new Shudder programming, such as Joe Bob’s Halloween Hideaway Special and A Creepshow Animated Special, and much more.

See the full FearFest lineup.


Find the Best in Horror at Shudder.

About AMC Networks

Known for its groundbreaking and celebrated original content, AMC Networks is the company behind the award-winning brands AMC, BBC AMERICA, IFC, SundanceTV, WE tv, and IFC Films. Its diverse line-up of popular and critically-acclaimed series and independent films include Killing EveBetter Call Saul and The Walking Dead, which has been the #1 show on ad-supported cable television for ten consecutive years, as well as PortlandiaBrockmireLove After Lockup, and the films BoyhoodDeath of Stalin, and many more. Its original series Mad Men and Breaking Bad are widely recognized as being among the most influential and acclaimed shows in the history of TV. The Company also operates AMC Studios, its production business; AMC Networks International, its international programming business; the subscription streaming services Acorn TV, Shudder, Sundance Now, and UMC; and Levity Entertainment Group, the Company’s production services and comedy venues business. For more information, visit http://www.amcnetworks.com.

About Shudder

AMC Networks’ Shudder is a premium streaming video service, super-serving members with the best selection in genre entertainment, covering horror, thrillers and the supernatural. Shudder’s expanding library of film, TV series, and originals is available on most streaming devices in the US, Canada, the UK, Ireland, Germany, Australia and New Zealand. For a 7-day, risk-free trial, visit ​www.shudder.com​.

About Adopt-a-Pet.com

Adopt-a-Pet.com is North America’s largest non-profit pet adoption website, helping over 19,000 animal shelters, humane societies, SPCAs, pet rescue groups, and pet adoption agencies advertise their purebred and mixed breed pets for free to millions of adopters each month. Sponsored by companies including Purina, Chewy, and Elanco Animal Health LLC, Adopt-a-Pet.com helps homeless dogs, cats, and even rabbits and other animals go from alone to adopted.

CBS All Access announces ‘That Animal Rescue Show’

September 22, 2020

“That Animal Rescue Show” (Photo by Danny Matson/CBS Interactive, Inc.)

The following is a press release from CBS All Access:

 CBS All Access, ViacomCBS’ digital subscription video on-demand and live streaming service, today revealed the official trailer and key art for its upcoming original docuseries “That Animal Rescue Show.” Executive produced by five-time Academy Award®-nominated filmmaker Richard Linklater and two-time Academy Award winner Bill Guttentag, all 10 episodes will be available to binge exclusively for CBS All Access subscribers on Thursday, October 29, 2020.

“That Animal Rescue Show” follows the animal rescue community in and around Austin, Texas, where Linklater lives. The 10-episode docuseries provides a window into this captivating world through moving, humorous and powerful stories of animals, the humans who love them and the inspiring, life-changing bond that occurs between people who have dedicated their lives to rescue and the animals who rescue them right back.

“That Animal Rescue Show” is produced by CBS Television Studios in association with Dr. Phil’s Stage 29, Linklater’s Detour Filmproduction, and Guttentag and Nayeema Raza’s 1891 Productions. The series is distributed internationally by ViacomCBS Global Distribution Group. An episode of the series was accepted as part of the official selection for the 2020 Telluride Film Festival. In addition to Linklater, Guttentag and Raza, the series is also executive produced by Phil McGraw, Jay McGraw and Julia Eisenman.

“That Animal Rescue Show” joins CBS All Access’ growing slate of original series that currently includes “The Good Fight,” “The Twilight Zone,” “Tooning Out the News,” “No Activity,” “Why Women Kill,” “Interrogation,” “The Thomas John Experience” and “Tell Me a Story,” as well as the upcoming limited event series “The Stand,” “The Man Who Fell to Earth,” “The Harper House” and “Guilty Party.” CBS All Access is also the exclusive domestic home to “Star Trek: Discovery,” “Star Trek: Picard,” the animated series “Star Trek: Lower Decks” and the U.S.S Enterprise set series “Star Trek: Strange New Worlds.”

About CBS All Access:

CBS All Access is ViacomCBS’ direct-to-consumer digital subscription video on-demand and live streaming service. CBS All Access gives subscribers the ability to watch more than 20,000 episodes and movies on demand – including exclusive original series, current and past seasons of hit shows from the CBS Television Network and growing libraries from brands across the ViacomCBS portfolio including BET, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, Smithsonian and more, as well as a wealth of films from Paramount Pictures. The service is also the streaming home to unmatched sports programming, including every CBS Sports event, from golf to football to basketball and more, plus exclusive streaming rights for major sports properties, including some of the world’s biggest and most popular soccer leagues. CBS All Access also enables subscribers to stream local CBS stations live across the U.S. in addition to the ability to stream ViacomCBS Digital’s other live channels: CBSN for 24/7 news, CBS Sports HQ for sports news and analysis, and ET Live for entertainment coverage.

The service is currently available across all major device platforms including online, mobile and connected TV and OTT platforms and services. Versions of CBS All Access have launched internationally in Canada and Australia (10 All Access), with unique but similar content and pricing plans. For more details on CBS All Access, please visit https://www.cbs.com/all-access.

About CBS Television Studios:

CBS Television Studios is one of the industry’s leading suppliers of programming with more than 70 series currently in production across broadcast and cable networks, streaming services and other emerging platforms. The Studio’s expansive portfolio spans a diverse slate of commercially successful and critically acclaimed scripted programming, genre-defining franchises including the ever-growing “Star Trek” universe, award-winning late night and daytime talk shows, and an extensive library of iconic intellectual property.

EDITOR’S NOTE: CBS All Access will rebrand as Paramount+, which goes into effect in early 2021.

HBO Max premieres ‘The Dog House UK’

July 9, 2020

“The Dog House” UK (Photo courtesy of HBO Max)

The following is a press release from HBO Max:

HBO Max’s heartwarming unscripted series The Dog House: UK is moving up its premiere date to Thursday, July 23, 2020.

Finding forever homes for rejected dogs isn’t easy – but that’s exactly what the staff of Wood Green do every day. Set inside a rural British animal rescue center known for its commitment to matching homeless dogs with eager owners, The Dog House: UK captures the joy and complexity of the human-dog “dating” experience. Each of the first season’s eight episodes introduces tearful tales of abandoned dogs, while also touching on relatable backstories of families, couples, and singletons all hoping their lives will be changed by a new four-legged friend. It’s up to the center’s dedicated staff to match pet with potential new owner – and to arrange an all-important first date that will determine if the adorable pups and hopeful humans have that fated connection. The show was originally produced by Five Mile Films for Channel 4 in the UK for distribution by all3media International.

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