Emma Shin, founder of Rocky Mountain Puppy Rescue in Berthoud, is no stranger to playful dogs.
But when Animal Planet reached out to their organization to find the best-suited dog for their 16th annual Puppy Bowl, they knew the then 13-week-old Australian Cattle Dog / Cocker Spaniel / Staffordshire Terrier mix was the perfect puppy for the job. .
“She’s still a punk, she loves to play and she plays so hard, but she’s a good girl. She’s going to catch things that she’s not supposed to do or she’s running out of the house and she’s so excited, ”Shin said of the very energetic puppy. This grab-and-go nature is great for soccer, and a skill she’s learned to practice well during her time on the pitch.
The Puppy Bowl pits two teams, Ruff and Fluff, against each other for the most “touchdowns” scored in the two-hour game. Points are scored when one of the dogs takes a chew toy and brings it to one of the end areas, with penalties for “premature watering”, “terrorizing the referee”, “tackling with collar. dog ”and other puns.
Playing for Team Ruff, Aspen will take the field with 96 other dogs (although only a fraction of them will play at a time) to compete for the Lombarky Trophy.
Her trip to the limelight was almost unsuccessful, as executive producer Simon Morris had his eye on his sister Alpine, whose “satellite ears” and chocolate brown coloring were more suited to her aesthetic eye.
“We submitted all of the litter photos to the producer and he picked three that weren’t her,” Shin said. “And I said, ‘I’m telling you I had these dogs because they didn’t have their eyes open, and this one, Aspen, is the most outgoing. You have to choose it. But they said no.
But when Alpine was diagnosed with a (now cured) case of demodectic mange – an allergic-type reaction common in young dogs – Shin was ready to show off the outgoing, energetic and social nature of future football star Aspen.
She is one of seven dogs selected for a biopic to show off during play, and as soon as she set foot on the runway for her “Pup Close and Personal” shoot, Morris and everyone involved knew they were had made the right choice.
“As soon as they put her on this track, she grabbed a pine cone, she grabbed a stick. She was 3 months old. She was only so big, ”Shin said, gesturing to show how small the puppy was at the time. “She was a rock star. At the end of the shoot, Simon looks at me and he says ‘you know your dogs’.
The Puppy Bowl has been a pre-Super Bowl tradition for Animal Planet since 2005, when it started as a small event that placed puppies on a fake soccer field and left them fighting over toys without comment or sponsorship. Today, the event is one of the largest adoption events in the country, with 100% of attendees having been adopted, most before the announcement of the final score.
Team Ruff and Team Fluff took the field to New York City in mid-October for the pre-screening game which was filmed in two days. There, Aspen’s confident nature shone, as she was able to shine on the pitch despite the large crowd of people, the boisterous atmosphere of a soundstage, and the bright lights of celebrity.
While the Western-born puppy adapted well to big city life, she came from humble beginnings. She and her family were found in a dugout canoe next to the railroad tracks in Gallup, New Mexico.
She, her mother and her seven littermates were transferred to Rocky Mountain Puppy Rescue at the age of one week, where each of their foster families helped them grow and become strong before they were adopted.
The rest of her littermates have all found their forever home, and Aspen will be available to do the same after the Puppy Bowl.
“I decided to keep her away (from adoption events until broadcast). We went around in circles with it, and we decided to keep her out of the way until after the Super Bowl and after her segment aired because we’re going to have a broadcast party with our band, and I just wanted to be able to see it. ‘have,’ Shin said.
Ideally, she would love to adopt him into a Colorado family, but knows that demand will likely be high once the country gets a chance to take a look at Aspen.
The rescue currently does not have a centralized location. Instead, they place the dogs in various pre-approved foster homes and potential families are invited to see them at various adoption events. This allows the animals to be more closely trained and cared for, with more than 8,000 animals having been saved to date.
When asked what excites her most about airing the show, Shin said, “Just more exposure to the amount of really cool dogs you can find in a shelter.”
To see which team wins the Top Dog title and to see rookie player Aspen take the field to represent Colorado, log on to Animal Planet before the Super Bowl.
If you look
What: Bowl for puppies XVI.
When: 1:00 p.m. MT Super Bowl Sunday, February 2.
Or: Animal Planet, check your local listings for channel information.
More information: animalplanet.com