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Bobby gets ready for some gridiron action as part of the upcoming Animal Planet’s Puppy Bowl XVI. Courtesy photo
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Local shelter star goes to Puppy Bowl

RANCHO SANTA FE — Animal Planet’s Puppy Bowl XVI returns Feb. 2 at noon and Helen Woodward Animal Center will have a very special puppy named Bobby in the competition on football’s biggest day.

In fact, Bobby was selected as one of the potential MVPs and will be looking for San Diego’s votes on game day as he takes to the field alongside dozens of other puppies from animal shelters across the country. Helen Woodward Animal Center invites viewers to cheer on Bobby as he enters the GEICO stadium vying for the CHEWY “Lombarky” Trophy.

Poodle-blend Bobby may be familiar to fans of Helen Woodward Animal Center. His story hit the media in 2019 when he and his four littermates were found by a rescue partner without a mother and in a desperate fight for survival. Paired with a Chihuahua mother who was nursing three newborns of her own, the blended family bonded quickly. Nicknamed the ChiFloofer Bunch, they were transferred to Helen Woodward Animal Center for further care and became a social media sensation.

For the last 16 years, Animal Planet’s Puppy Bowl has owned the world’s cutest sporting event on television, opposite the Super Bowl. On football’s biggest day, two teams of the cuddly puppies take to the gridiron for a playful game of terrier touchdown, puppy penalties and furry fumbles. Representing rescues and shelters from across the country, these adoptable four-legged players that make up #TeamRuff and #TeamFluff are serious when it comes to winning the Most Valuable Puppy title and more importantly…their forever homes.

The tail-gating starts with the Puppy Bowl pre-game show at 11 a.m., featuring commentary from sports correspondents, including the one and only Rodt Weiler, James Hound, and Sheena Inu serving as pre-game show analysts. This year’s event features 61 animal shelters and rescue organizations from 25 states and more than 96 adoptable puppies.

Animal Planet audiences will also see the return of The Dog Bowl III at 8 p.m. Feb. 1, the one-hour competition for adult and senior dogs living in rescues and shelters. In past years, 100 percent of the puppies and kittens that have participated in these programs have been adopted.