A puppy permanently locked outside his owner’s home in rural North Carolina was voted Most Valuable Pup by viewers of Animal Planet’s 14th annual Puppy Bowl on Sunday.
Bear was rescued at 7 weeks and cared for by the SPCA in Virginia Beach, Va., which nominated him and five other dogs for the competition. Bear and two others from the local SPCA were chosen to compete against 87 other dogs from the United States and Mexico. SPCA officials have not said where exactly in North Carolina Bear was rescued.
“Their path to stardom wasn’t exactly paved in treats,” the Virginia Beach SPCA said on its website. “Luckily, these puppies were all rescued and found their way to the Virginia Beach SPCA.”
Dogs at the Puppy Bowl drag as many toys over the goal line as possible to score touchdowns, according to The Virginian-Pilot. The Puppy Bowl is broadcast each year the afternoon of the Super Bowl, as a pre-game event.
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Bear, now 16 weeks old, was a starter on Team Fluff and scored two touchdowns in the first half, the newspaper reported. For the second year in a row, Team Fluff won the Lombarky Trophy over Team Ruff by a score of 52-47.
Bear is a mix of American Staffordshire terrier, American foxhound, cocker spaniel, Chihuahua and chow chow, The Virginian-Pilot reported.
The Puppy Bowl “helps get that message out there that you can get puppies at a shelter, you can get great, great pets at a shelter,” Mike Lawson of the Virginia Beach SPCA told WTKR, the CBS-TV affiliate in Norfolk, Va. “We’re always trying to get the word out there it’s important to adopt, not shop.”
Bear was adopted before his Puppy Bowl fame by a family in Chesapeake, Va., who weren’t quite sure they were ready for another pet after the loss of their dog, WTKR reported. When they saw Bear, they changed their minds.