Last October, when the Philadelphia Eagles and the New England Patriots were winning their way to the Super Bowl, three local puppies were getting their own taste of football fame. Bear, Macchiato, and Queen Sheba, three Virginia Beach SPCA pups, were selected by Animal Planet to compete in the famed Puppy Bowl, the four-legged sports event that airs right before the Super Bowl.
This type of furry fame is no small thing, so a training session was essential. Queen Sheba, being the cerebral type, preferred to study the playbook, however she was quickly overcome with the urge to lick Coach Mike’s face. Bear and Macchiato were feeling feisty, so they chose to run drills instead. However, the drills quickly turned into tackles, which ultimately led to more puppy kisses.
When the training session was over, it was time for the big game. The puppies were loaded into the team SUV and they headed straight to the Puppy Bowl arena in the heart of New York City. They were accompanied by VBSPCA President and CEO, Dia DuVernet, and VBSPCA Transfer and Placement Liaison, Suzy Swims.
Ninety puppies from shelters all across the country were selected to play in the Animal Planet Puppy Bowl XIV. The four-legged athletes came together under one roof for two days of filming, photoshoots, interviews, and naps. There were green screens, lights, treats, and camera flashes. There were publicists, groomers, and even cuddly kittens preparing for their moment of half-time glory. It was a once in a lifetime experience, and Bear, Macchiato, and Queen Sheba represented Hampton Roads in All-Star fashion.
However, their path to stardom wasn’t exactly paved in treats. Bear was only 7 weeks old when he was found in an impoverished area in North Carolina locked outside of his owner’s house. Macchiato’s story is similar. His mother belonged to a backyard breeder in Newport News. She was neglected and chained outside, with only a doghouse to protect her from the elements. Queen Sheba was just 10 weeks old when she and her sister were found abandoned in the woods in Russell County, Virginia. Luckily these puppies were all rescued and found their way to the Virginia Beach SPCA
While they were in the safekeeping of the VBSPCA, the staff submitted their photos and stories to Animal Planet in hopes that they would be selected for the big game. Six players were submitted for consideration, and these three lucky pups made the final cut. They survived rough beginnings, they bonded in the shelter, and they shared a once in a lifetime journey to NYC.
These three special puppies will reunite one more time as we gather together on February 4th at Smartmouth Pilot House to watch and see how the game unfolds. We’re pretty sure they won’t be watching, they’ll be kissing.