Every year, millions of people gather in their homes to witness the most exciting football event of the year: the Puppy Bowl.
With pup players on the field, a rescue sloth assistant-referee, a chicken piano-player, piggie cheerleaders, and a kitty halftime show, Puppy Bowl XIV proved to be as cute as ever. But hours of cuteness isn’t the only reason the Puppy Bowl is the best part of Super Bowl Sunday.
According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), approximately 3.3 million dogs and 3.2 million cats enter US animal shelters every year. And because there are too many homeless animals, approximately 1.5 million shelter animals are euthanized each year. While these numbers have decreased from past years, the problem is far from solved. Of all the dogs that are adopted in the US each year, only 23% are from shelters while 34% come from breeders.
The Puppy Bowl is cute and entertaining, but it also serves as a reminder to millions of viewers that there are animals across the country who are searching for forever homes. The Puppy Bowl teams (Ruff and Fluff) are always composed of 100% rescue pups, and this year the bowl welcomed 90 puppies from 48 shelters across 26 states.
Not only does the broadcast manage to get all the pup players adopted, but it raises awareness of various shelters across the country and inspires more people to adopt rescue animals. Throughout the game, rescue stories of the players and other dogs are shared, and viewers are encouraged to donate to organizations like ASPCA.
This year, Animal Planet even introduced a Dog Bowl on Saturday to encourage people to adopt older dogs, which are often much harder to find homes for; hopefully it can someday be as successful as the Puppy Bowl.
So, even if you weren’t able to witness this year’s Puppy Bowl, I encourage you to adopt a shelter animal. And if you’re unable to do that, consider volunteering or donating. If you can’t do that, just help spread the word—we need to help give a voice to the voiceless.
To learn more about ways you can help, visit www.aspca.org/