Puppy Bowl players in action

Sunday’s Puppy Bowl on Animal Planet was an exciting event with some fierce competition for whom to call cutest. The crowd went wild over the touchdowns scored by puppy MVP Fumble, while the Piggy Pep Squad really hammed it up. And the kitty halftime show? Simply dazzling, as always.

Though the animal champions looked like they were born ready for the small screen, they actually all had humble beginnings. All of the pets came from shelters across the United States listed on Petfinder.com. Of the many eligible young pets, Animal Planet producers whittled the participants down to 58 puppies, 20 cats and five pigs. 

The Puppy Bowl not only gave these pets a moment in the limelight, it helped them find the best prize a pet could ever ask for — forever homes. 

Almost all of the Puppy Bowl players have been adopted and we spoke with the lucky parents of four different participants to find out whether these stars enjoyed their time on national television, and whether newfound fame is going to their pets’ heads. 


Salem Goes From Shelter Pup to Hometown Hero

Puppy Bowl viewers will remember that in the last half of the big game, Australian Shepherd mix Aberdeen stole the show with his aggressive offense and numerous touchdowns. But he wasn't the only noteworthy player of the half. When Salem entered the field near the end of the fourth quarter, he brought some mad defense and nearly blocked an Aberdeen touchdown, causing commentator Meep the Bird to tweet: “Salem might be a surprise pick for MVP!” Though he wasn’t picked for Most Valuable Puppy, he still gave a rousing performance.

Salem was rescued by the Columbiana County Humane Society in Ohio last October, and Johanna Page jumped at the chance to adopt this Boxer when she saw a picture of him on the Humane Society’s Facebook page.

Page had lost a dog the year before and was ready for a new one, saying, “I knew that I had to have him.”

Since the Puppy Bowl began taping in October, Salem’s gotten quite a bit of hometown attention. Several local events have been held where people come just to meet him. On Saturday, the Columbiana County Humane Society even hosted a tailgate party for him at Petco. The attendees received an official Puppy Bowl starting lineup T-shirt and "pawtograph" poster. Talk about star treatment!

What’s Salem doing now that his TV time is over? His proud mother says he’s working on the shake command, and just being “a real good dog.”

Cute Isn't an Act for Brothers Samson and Simon

There might be a future in acting for Shih-TzuPoodle mixes Samson and Simon. Before the game started, referee Dan Schachner gave a group of the little competitors a pep talk that was sponsored by Subaru. The brothers appeared in the spot, showing off their talents by performing football drills and riding in the back of a car.

Before making their small-screen debut, Samson and Simon were rescue pups at Animal Alliance in Lambertville, N.J. 

Samson and Simon

Angela Colva found the pups on Petfinder and took her family to see them at the rescue center when they were six weeks old. She knew they were a great fit for her family because the brothers climbed all over her two kids and were very engaging and playful.

Although they are siblings, the two brothers actually have very different personalities, says Colva. Simon is “a little docile” and likes to snuggle on the couch, while Samson is “determined and playful.” Their differing demeanors were quite apparent during her family’s Puppy Bowl viewing party on Sunday. Samson, who had just gotten a new haircut, was “concerned how he would look for the party,” and Simon just wanted someone to rub his tummy.

The brothers are now focusing their attention on training classes, running around the neighborhood and making new friends. They are also looking forward to making a special appearance at the Animal Alliance when the shelter opens its new location.

Karly Brooklyn

Karly Brooklyn the Kitten Knows She’s Cute

Madonna’s halftime show wasn’t the only sensational performance on television last Sunday. The fabulous felines in the Bissell Halftime Show lit up the stage with their toy-chasing and confetti-catching antics. One of the adorable halftime performers was a young kitten named Karly Brooklyn.

When Karly Brooklyn was 10 weeks old she weighed a startling 1.5 pounds. A Brooklyn shelter found her on the street with her sister, took the young kittens in and put them on Petfinder.

Abby Nadrchal saw the tiny kitten’s picture on the shelter’s page and immediately noticed that she looked just like her childhood cat. The rest is history.

A party was held on Sunday to view her time on the gridiron, and Karly Brooklyn got lots of attention and treats during the game. With all the shoutouts from friends and family, her proud owner jokes that she’s Karly’s “agent,” and the little feline “knows she’s cute.”

Now that the Puppy Bowl is over, Karly Brooklyn will continue hanging out with her best friend — a six-year-old Beagle.

These champions are happy in their new forever homes, but you can adopt one of their many friends by visiting Petfinder. They might not have entertained millions on TV, but there's no doubt they'd love to play a starring role in your home!