Puppy Bowl XIX: Dogs Saved by Jersey Shelters Will Compete

The annual televised event aims to highlight rescue organizations.

Effie the terrier mix rescued by Match Dog Rescue

Effie, the terrier mix who was rescued by South Jersey’s Match Dog Rescue, will be playing on Team Ruff in the Puppy Bowl XIX on February 12. Photo courtesy of Animal Planet

The Puppy Bowl is billed as a feel-good TV sports special—but there’s more to it than meets the eye. All of the daring dogs on the field were given a second chance by rescue organizations, three of which are in New Jersey. 

“It’s cute to watch but then when you actually reflect on where they came from, it means a lot more,” says Nina Marcos, a representative of Match Dog Rescue, a South Jersey nonprofit that rescued three dogs participating in this year’s match.

Celebrating its 16th anniversary this year, the Puppy Bowl XIX is a three-hour-long soppy sports competition that aims to raise awareness about the rescue shelters across the country fighting to save animals’ lives. Around 122 puppies from 67 different shelters across 34 states will be wagging their tails on the field to fight for the Wayfair “Lombarky” trophy. 

While some of the rescued animals are freed from neglectful and abusive homes, others are saved from wandering the streets. However, overpopulation in shelters has contributed to a rise in pets at risk for euthanasia, which is where rescue organizations step in to find forever homes for those animals desperately in need. 

“Thinking about the resiliency of these dogs, it really does make you proud,” Marcos says. 

Take Effie (@yourbfeffie on Instagram) the terrier mix. Her pregnant mother was saved by Match Dog Rescue from Texas, where the homeless animal population is exceedingly high, in part because of its relaxed spay and neuter laws. Effie was born in a foster home on Garden State soil, and shortly after was adopted by a dog-loving couple across the Hudson River.

Wondering which team to root for? Well, New Jersey will have pups playing for both teams. On Team Ruff, Effie will be joined by her Match Dog Rescue mate Barnaby, as well as Poe and Walker from Chatham’s shelter, A Second Chance for Ziva. On Team Fluff, Myrtle of Match Dog Rescue will partner up with Asiago of South Jersey’s Tri-State Basset Hound Rescue. 

Rescue organizations near and far hope that viewers will be inspired to adopt when considering finding a furry friend to join the family. 

“We do a lot of the work in the middle, but then it’s really up to the adopters to take them in and really make them their forever companion,” says Erin Camporin, president of A Second Chance for Ziva.  

The Puppy Bowl XIX will be available to stream February 12 at 2 pm on Animal Planet with Discovery+.

And if you’re looking for some Super Bowl fun and food, check out our roundup of great parties and specials.

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