For anyone who’s not a football fan, the Puppy Bowl offers an afternoon of entertainment. Sure, it involves some talk about sports – grumblings about bone defense, for instance – but it’s vastly different than the Super Bowl. For one thing, it involves a lot more “awing” and a lot less yelling at the refs because of a bad call: “Giving Tom Brady a dirty look. Fifteen yards. Automatic first down.”

What is the Puppy Bowl?

If you’ve never seen it – if you’ve regularly chosen football over furballs – the Puppy Bowl is pretty much exactly as it sounds: aired on Animal Planet, it’s a parody of the Super Bowl that uses puppies in place of human players. The wide receivers are replaced by wide retrievers while the tailbacks stay tailbacks. The puppies play inside a replica NFL stadium while commentators discuss what’s happening: “He’s at the twenty, he’s at the ten. Now he’s back to the twenty. Wait – he’s peeing on the twenty-five.”

The first Puppy Bowl aired in 2005 and it’s been shown every year since. All the puppies featured come from shelters. And it takes as much planning as you’d expect.

Per the New York Times, the show’s production crew involves around thirty people, including animal handlers, veterinarians, and representatives from the American Humane Society. It involves multiple cameras and fifty hours of tape which is edited and condensed to a much smaller show. The final product is scripted with the available footage.

This Year’s Puppy Bowl

This year’s Puppy Bowl, Puppy Bowl XII, airs on February 5th with a kickoff of 3 PM Eastern. For the first time, it’ll air simultaneously on both coasts. Tailgating starts at 2 PM with a pregame show and a special appearance by Punxsutawney Phil (of Groundhog’s Day fame).

The show features seventy-eight adoptable puppies from thirty-four animal shelters and rescue organizations in twenty-two states

And it features three dogs with special needs: one that is deaf, one that is three-legged, and one that is hearing and sight impaired.

shelter kittens, puppy bowl shelter and pet adoption awarenessThough it’s called the Puppy Bowl, cats aren’t left out altogether: the Kitty Halftime Show allows felines to showcase their talents.

If you miss the airing of the game because you’re watching reruns of Friends or, perhaps, the real Super Bowl, don’t worry: Animal Planet airs the show for ten hours on game day and, also, you have a DVR.

Facts About Shelter Dogs

Thanks to the Sarah McLachlan commercial that leaves us all wanting to stick our heads in the oven, most of us know that there are millions of dogs and cats in need of homes in the United States (and other nations, of course). What isn’t as well known is how dire the situation truly is.

According to the ASPCA, approximately 3.9 million dogs and 3.4 million cats enter shelters every year. And, every year, 2.7 million animals are euthanized as a result of this influx. Fortunately, around the same number are adopted too.

Around 30 percent of dogs that enter shelters are euthanized. Around 35 are adopted and the remainder are strays reunited with their owners

Around 41 percent of cats that enter shelters are euthanized. Around 37 percent are adopted and less than five percent are returned to their owners (likely due to cats being much less likely to have tags, collars, or chips that identify them).puppy bowl

On this note, a fun fact: owning pets make you live longer!  How much longer depends where you look: some studies say at least two years; others say more than a decade. But multiple studies tie pet ownership to an increase in physical activity, a decrease in heart disease, and an increase in well-being and sense of purpose. Pet owners recover from hospital stays faster and maintain lower levels of stress as well.

The Strains of the Puppy Bowl

As cute as puppies are, watching them run around on a fake football field isn’t always extraordinarily stimulating. That’s where cannabis helps! So, as you watch Fido and Fluffy fight for the glory of victory they care nothing about, consider trying one of these:

El Nino: El Nino is an Indica-dominant hybrid that’s known for giving you the best of both worlds. It leaves users happy, giggly, and tingling with numbness. It offers great cerebral effects and is known to improve focus in those who are experienced; for others, it induces sleepiness. It’s also a strong pain reliever, something that’s helpful if the puppies you put all your money on end up losing.

Blue Crack: Dominated by Sativa, this strain leaves users energized, soothed, and creative. It contains some Indica, enough to leave you mellow and chilled. But, more than anything, this strain leaves the smoker feeling positive. You’ll cheer for the Puppy Bowl and you’ll do it with glee. Rah-Rah-Rawhide! 

Mako Haze: Very Sativa-dominant, Mako Haze can be too heavy for new users. But experienced users enjoy its powerful high. It leaves the user invigorated, euphoric, and creative. It induces openness as well – you’ll finally tell your roommate that you were the one who ate his leftover burrito and, yes, it was delicious. While a lot of people love Mako Haze, it’s does cause anxiety, something to beware of if you’re already prone to nerves.

Chemdawg: The Chemdawg high hits fast and furious and causes initial disorientation. That gives way to cerebral effects that are introspective and productive. It’s good for social situations because of its tendency to make people chatty. It amplifies the senses too….and you thought puppies were adorable before.

Alaskan Ice: Alaskan Ice is high in THC, Sativa-dominant, and potent…very potent. If you’re not used to potent highs, refrain from this strain until you’ve got a few more buds under your belt. Smokers describe a high that knocks them off their feet and onto the couch cushions. But not everyone experiences the same thing: some people report a relaxing euphoria; others report increased alertness. Others, still, report a lot of get up and go. The type of get up that encourages you to go to your local animal shelter and adopt today.

Jenn Keeler

About the author: Jenn Keeler is a freelance writer and illustrator specializing in humorous lifestyle articles. She is one of the few people on earth actually using an English degree. Her heart belongs to the Denver Broncos and her husband. In that order.