By Paula Hendrickson
Everyone who knows me knows I love dogs. Cats are cute and fine – for cat people, anyway – but cats make me sneeze, wheeze, and frankly they always seem about three steps ahead of their humans. But come Sunday, I’d much rather watch Hallmark Channel’s Kitten Bowl III than Super Bowl 50.
Luckily for me, Animal Planet is back this year with Puppy Bowl XII. (My favorite part? The water bowl cam.)
This year the Puppy Bowl is even closer to my heart, since we have three new puppies in the family. In September, little Stanley (probably a Yellow Lab/Beagle mix) joined my sister’s household. He played so well with my brother and sister-in-law’s giant dog Duke (Redbone Coonhound/Great Pyrenees mix) that when I spotted a litter of Redbone Coonhound mix pups being fostered in Rockford by a volunteer from Homeless Hounds Rescue, my sister-in-law fell in love with the pups. I got to go along to the meet and greet and also when they picked up the then 8-week old puppy Daisy (an adorable Redbone Coonhound/Treeing Walker Coonhound/Husky/Chow mix) to bring her home in early January.
In August my dog, Lily, died at 15 years, eight months, but I didn’t want to rush into adopting another puppy. I’d been checking Petfinder.com and AdoptAPet.com several times a week for months, helping my sister look for the puppy who turned out to be Stanley. But by the time I was seriously looking I wasn’t finding many puppies within 50 miles. A couple shelters said it was no longer “puppy season” so I might have to wait for spring. Duke and Stanley both came from Wright-Way Rescue in Morton Grove, which has a lot of rescue animals from southern states, so I started thinking I might need to look there.
Then two weeks something strange happened.
I was looking at Petfinder.com and a photo of one puppy practically jumped off the screen at me. “This is my puppy,” I thought. That hadn’t happened to me with any of the hundreds of puppy pictures I’d seen in recent months.
It was about 1 a.m., but I filled in the online adoption form with Illinois Animal Rescue (IAR) and requested a meet and greet with the puppy at her foster home. I got nervous after a couple days passed, then the foster mom called. I was the first applicant she contacted.
Good thing I didn’t wait a day to send my application! It turns out the puppy – who they were calling Sara – garnered more than 60 adoption applications. According to the IAR Facebook page she broke their all-time record of adoption requests for any one pet. As of January 20, Sara – now called Sadie – is my sweet, goofy, lovable puppy. No one knows what mix she is or exactly how old she is, but with a little detective work we’ll soon narrow it down.
Sadie’s a lucky one. According to her records, she was a stray picked up in southern Illinois on December 21. The county shelter she was brought to (a kill shelter) guessed her to be a 6-9 week old Beagle mix. But when the IAR rescued her from the shelter on January 2, they thought she might be a Burnese Mountain Dog mix on the younger side of that age estimate. (I’m told they assess a puppy’s age by checking their teeth.) Right now, they think she’s about 12 weeks old.
It doesn’t matter to me what mix she is, but I ordered a doggie DNA test because larger dogs can have different nutritional or veterinary requirements. Her results should be ready in a couple of weeks. Feel free to guess along. (One friend’s mom is from the same part of Illinois where Sadie was found and said there are a lot of hunting dogs around there.)
When watching the Puppy Bowl or the Kitten Bowl, please remember they’re more than an excuse to watch baby animals at play. The programs provide information about rescue groups, animal shelters, and the great jobs they do. Best of all, both events support the “Adopt Don’t Shop” philosophy. That’s something that can’t be said about the other bowl game being played Sunday.
If you’re thinking of adopting a new pet, remember that adoption fees cover the veterinary care, transportation, feeding, vaccinations and often spay/neuter and microchipping of the animals they rescue. It’s worth it. I got a bonus with Sadie. Her foster family potty trained her!
Puppy Bowl XII airs Sunday, February 7 at 2 p.m., and repeats throughout the day.
Kitten Bowl III has an earlier start time on the same day: 11 a.m., and also repeats.