Ruff! Ruff! Hike!
Two St. Petersburg pooches will join 120 other rescue dogs taking the field during Sunday’s Puppy Bowl XIX.
Max, a 6-month-old lab/pointer mix saved in Jamaica, and Nancy, a 6-month-old terrier mix from Puerto Rico, will don orange bandanas as part of Team Fluff (their opponents, in blue, are Team Ruff).
Both dogs came from Compassion Kind St. Petersburg, a local rescue that has saved more than 8,000 dogs. Last year’s local Puppy Bowl representatives also came from Compassion Kind.
It’s all fur a good cause.
“We’re so delighted that Animal Planet showcases rescue dogs and really brings attention to the need for people to adopt,” said Compassion Kind volunteer Karen Altieri, who fostered Max. “There’s just thousands and thousands of dogs needing homes nationwide.”
Altieri and her husband have fostered 221 dogs over the last decade. They spent three days driving Max and Nancy to Glen Falls, New York, for the Puppy Bowl taping in the fall. By now, both pups have found forever homes. Nancy’s new name is Nova.
“When we found (Max) an adopter, I did not even tell this family about the Puppy Bowl,” she said. “Not only were we sworn to secrecy. … But I wanted to make sure they were not adopting because he was going to be a celebrity. We were able to tell them after their trial week.”
Even though Max and Nancy have found forever homes, there’s still a chance to meet the stars on Super Bowl Sunday. They’ll be signing “pawtographs” at Dog Bar. And Altieri wants people to know there are plenty of other adorable pups looking for families.
“Google ‘adopted dogs’ on Petfinder and just put in a 10-mile radius in Pinellas County,” she said. “There’s over 500 dogs. It’s incredible.
How to watch
Puppy Bowl XIX will air at 2 p.m. Sunday on Animal Planet. It will also be streaming on Discovery+. Max and Nancy will appear at a viewing party at Dog Bar at 2300 Central Ave., St. Petersburg, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Visit compassionkind.org for more information.