Aria (left) and Ali, two of a litter of six Labrador puppies rescued by Found A Hound Rescue in Godfrey, were chosen from dogs all over the country to appear in the 11th annual Puppy Bowl special, appearing on the cable channel Animal Planet. Last year, 13.5 million viewers caught the Feb. 1 event.
GODFREY — Bringing some furry fame to the area, two lucky labs from a Godfrey rescue organization will appear on Animal Planet’s Puppy Bowl XI.
On Feb. 1, Animal Planet will broadcast the 11-week-old female Labrador retriever mix puppies as they compete with 55 other pups of various breeds during the 11th annual Puppy Bowl. Rescued from St. Louis Animal Control last September by Found A Hound Rescue in Godfrey, Ali and Aria’s 15 minutes of fame will air at 3 p.m. on Super Bowl Sunday.
“Animal Planet sends emails out to rescue shelters, and we submit pictures,” Found A Hound founder and director Lisa Lewis said. “They ask questions regarding size, personality and behaviors. In the end, they picked two of the puppies we submitted from a litter of six.”
The cable channel representatives chose Ali and Aria. Last October, the proud pups were flown to New York City along with volunteers from Found A Hound to participate in the one-day shoot.
“They played their little hearts out all day long and had a ball,” Lewis said. “At the end of the shoot, they went back to the hotel and just passed out.”
Last season, a record 13.5 million viewers tuned in, making the event the most-watched cable telecast. Sponsored by Pedigree, the starting lineup boasts 55 puppies competing for Bissell’s “MVP” (Most Valuable Puppy) award.
Recent additions to the popular show include new scoreboard and competitive scoring, goat cheerleaders, online interaction with viewers, and sideline reporter Meep the Bird. For Super Bowl fans who want to skip Katy Perry’s halftime show, the Puppy Bowl will feature “Katty Furry.”
While the puppies may have to watch themselves from home, Lewis is having a “Puppy Bowl watch party” from 1:30 until 4:30 p.m. at Mac’s Time Out in Alton on Feb. 1. She says anyone is welcome to join and watch the hometown celebrities on the big screen.
All puppies and kittens featured in Puppy Bowl come from shelters and rescue groups across the country. Found A Hound has been licensed since 2012. Before forming the organization, Lewis would take the stray animals she found to have them vetted and then find them good homes. She also volunteered with other rescue organizations.
“I am a huge dog lover,” Lewis said. “I always had a habit of finding and rescuing stray or lost dogs, and it just grew from there. We should always help animals in need.”
Between fostering, transportation and organizing of events, Found A Hound Rescue has approximately 25 volunteers throughout the Alton and Godfrey areas.
Of Ali and Aria’s litter, all six survived and have found a new “leash” on life, adopted out to loving homes. Aria lives with a family in Webster Groves, Mo., while Ali is now a resident of Belleville.
Found A Hound Rescue will hold its second annual trivia night fundraiser on Saturday, March 7. To reserve a table, call (618) 973-2580. For more information about Found A Hound or to learn how to get involved, visit the website at www.foundahoundrescue.com.
More on the Puppy Bowl can be found at www.animalplanet.com.