Canine competition

Denver-area pooches join lineup for Puppy Bowl XII

Dumb Friends League sends three to join event


Three puppies from the Dumb Friends League were drafted to star in Puppy Bowl XII to complete Animal Planet's roster of adoptable players.

The Dumb Friends League is among 44 shelters and rescue groups representing 25 states across the U.S. and Puerto Rico participating in Puppy Bowl XII. All three of the Dumb Friends League's puppies were adopted following the event.

The Puppy Bowl is recorded each year and then is aired on Animal Planet on Super Bowl Sunday. Puppies play in a model stadium as commentators weigh in about their actions.

“The Puppy Bowl is more than entertainment,” said Megan Rees, public relations manager for the Dumb Friends League. “It encourages adoption, a message that is ingrained in every aspect of the event. We are proud to partner with Animal Planet to help drive that message into millions of homes across the country that will be watching.”

Meet the players


Weighing in at 2.54 pounds, Moose, a 3-month-old poodle mix, will be representing Team Fluff. He first entered the Dumb Friends League as part of a large neglect case from southeastern Colorado. The day that he returned from taping the bowl in New York, Moose's adoption contract was permanently signed with a loving new family in Parker.

“He's been wonderful,” said Jenny Kuist, who adopted Moose, now renamed Rico. “He's really rambunctious but also a cuddler.”

Moose continues his training at home by going for three-mile walks and playing with his brother, Bob the poodle.

“He's gonna kill it in the puppy bowl,” Kuist said, adding that even though it was taped in October, it's going to be a surprise to her what happens in the game.

The pup will be wearing his Broncos sweatshirt for the Super Bowl Feb. 7 and the family plans to watch Moose's big debut following the football game.


Curious Ollie had a rough start to life after being rescued from a neglect case in southeastern Colorado, but that turned around after he arrived at the Dumb Friends League. Eventually, his talents in playing and generally looking adorable were discovered by scouts at the Dumb Friends League, and he was drafted as a first-round pick for Puppy Bowl XII. Weighing in at 2.75 pound, he joins Moose on Team Fluff.

Upon returning from New York for his filming debut, Ollie was adopted by the Ives family in Centennial. There, he is known as Baxter.

Mike Ives admitted that they were a little annoyed when they first found out the puppy they wanted to adopt was drafted. It meant waiting until Oct. 20 — after filming was complete — to sign the official papers.

“Now, it's really cool showing friends and family,” Ives said.

Ollie's football career was short-lived due to his preference for cuddling rather than running plays, but he gets plenty of play time in with his sister, Lucy, who was adopted from the same litter. The Ives children also help facilitate playtime.

The Ives family members are big Broncos fans — Baxter even has a Manning jersey he wears on game day. The family plan is to dedicate one TV for the Puppy Bowl so Baxter can watch himself, while the rest of the family cheers on the Broncos in the Super Bowl.


Riley, a 7.2-pound dachshund, was drafted for Puppy Bowl XII as a last-minute substitution for Team Ruff. He was the first puppy to poop on the field this year, giving him a successful “number-two” point conversion and endearing him to fans nationwide. Riley went from shelter to chic when he was adopted by a smitten New Yorker, with whom he now lives on the Upper West Side.

He enjoys going for walks in Central Park. After Puppy Bowl XII, Riley hung up his cleats, trading football glory for Instagram fame — you can follow this little dachshund and his big city adventures at @RileytheDoxie.

On the air

In addition to watching puppies compete for the famed title of Puppy Bowl MVP (Most Valuable Puppy), viewers can also enjoy the Kitty Half-Time show, adoption success stories and lots of fun animal antics during the two-hour program. Viewers are invited to vote online for this year's MVP on game day.

Animal Planet's Puppy Bowl XII premiers 1-3 p.m. MST Sunday, Feb. 7, and repeats all day and night until 1 a.m. Game-day coverage starts at 12:30 p.m. with the Puppy Bowl Pre-Game Show, featuring analysis and commentary from a team of sports correspondents.


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