A New Breed of TV is Here with This First Ever Game for Senior Dogs


Since 2005, puppies looking for homes have been gathered for a fun-filled annual game airing on Animal Planet.

The game has seen a 100% adoption rate each year as American’s nationwide call in to adopt the adorable pups and indulge in their true love for puppies.

Year after year, the adorable “Puppy Bowl” has mimicked the ever-popular Super Bowl, albeit with much cuter — if not furrier — players.

Appropriately labeled the world’s cutest sporting event, the doggie football game has become a national adoption extravaganza.

Yet, amid every usual regulation and puppy penalty, such as “unnecessary ruffness,” the company tries to provide something new for its viewers with each coming year. And this year, they certainly delivered.

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Aptly titled “Puppy Bowl Presents: The Dog Bowl,” Animal Planet has devised a way to get older dogs in on the fun, even if it means a little more napping in between playtime. It is set to air Saturday, Feb. 3, 2018.

This change aims to raise awareness of senior dogs that often live out their last days in a shelter. The game will encourage viewers to adopt older dogs and will show them that they can be just as much fun and loving as their younger peers.

“These dogs have their wonderful playful moments and they have their siesta moments,” said animal advocate Jill Rappaport, who also works as the “Dog Bowl” consulting producer. “People’s hearts are going to melt,” she added.

The “Dog Bowl” starts out with two teams — Team Paws and Team Tails, respectively — using 50 dogs from 10 different states whose ages range from feisty 2-year-olds to the ever-experienced 15-year-old pooches.

The games themselves are called by professional “rufferee” Dan Schachner, who watches carefully for every “furry fumble” or “pass inter-fur-ence.”

Rappaport has been the main host for the adorable set-up throughout the years, hosting a “Pup Close” view and other personal segments to help the viewer get to know each pooch’s backstory.

Will you be watching the Dog Bowl?

Among those who will be attempting to get the winning touchdown — and a new home — will also be special-needs dogs such as a sight-impaired Husky named Ryder, and a deaf Dalmatian named Chance.

It is a moment, admits Rappaport, when inclusivity is vital to the life of the dogs, as she herself had been a major proprietor in the idea of including every type, from seniors to those with disabilities, and not just puppies.

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“I’ve always made it my mission to focus on the underdogs of the shelter world — the seniors, the bully breeds and the special-needs pets,” Rappaport said. “Because those three are the toughest to get out.”

“Senior pets are often the last ones left languishing at shelters. These dogs have been dumped in the twilight of their lives through no fault of their own,” she added. “They’re not damaged goods. They’re the most special, beautiful animals in the world, but people keep walking past their cages.”

With this year’s “Dog Bowl,” Rappaport — who herself is a mom to six adorable rescue dogs — is among many who hope to change all of that. She has even aptly called four of her dogs, who are seniors, “super seniors.”

“When you give them the love and care they need, they thrive and really exceed your expectations,” Rappaport praised. “They live much longer than you might think because they know they’re loved and safe.”

May the best team win this weekend’s paw-some game, and may every dog out on the field find their forever home.

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ASU grad who loves all things reading and writing.
Becky is an ASU grad who uses her spare time to read, write and play with her dog, Tasha. Her interests include politics, religion, and all things science. Her work has been published with ASU's Normal Noise, Phoenix Sister Cities, and "Dramatica," a university-run publication in Romania.
Bachelor of Arts in English/Creative Writing
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Science/Tech, Faith, History, Gender Equality