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Adorable dog with special needs to be featured in 'Puppy Bowl XIX'

Adorable dog with special needs to be featured in 'Puppy Bowl XIX' (Photo: The National Desk){ }
Adorable dog with special needs to be featured in 'Puppy Bowl XIX' (Photo: The National Desk)
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Joey, an adorable rescue dog who lives in Rhode Island, is gearing up for his appearance in “Puppy Bowl XIX,” an annual television special on Animal Planet.

He’s just an amazing little pup,” Cathy Larson, who adopted Joey when he was 6 months old, told The National Desk.

Joey just celebrated his first birthday on Christmas Day.

While he doesn’t have front legs, he’s a happy and healthy pup.

He’s got no issues,” Larson said. “He’s up to date on everything and has a great appetite. He does require a little additional care and treatment, but he’s totally worth it.

He also loves spending time with Larson, as well as Larson’s squad of rescue dogs: Shady, 14; Chardonnay, 12; Brandy, 8; Bodo, 5; Murphy, 3; and Autumn, a 9-year-old cat.

Joey’s best bud is Murphy, who was hit by a car and lost one of his hind legs.

They are inseparable,” Larson said. “They play like regular dogs. They don’t chase each other as much but it’s fun to watch them.

Larson shares snapshots of their lives on their social media pages called “The Adventures of Joey and Friends.” Videos and photos show them loving life.

“He has no idea that he’s different,” Larson said.

Larson said Joey’s uniqueness is part of what makes him perfect for Puppy Bowl. The event celebrates puppies, animal shelters, and rescues, as well as features inspiring adoption stories.

The first Puppy Bowl was shown Feb. 6, 2005, opposite Super Bowl XXXIX. It was created to raise awareness about adopting pets from shelters and rescuing abandoned animals.

These puppies can't wait to take to the gridiron in the Puppy Bowl Stadium and show off their moves on the field,” according to Animal Planet’s website, with Team Ruff taking on Team Fluff this year.

The website also noted the event “mimics an American football game similar to the Super Bowl, using puppies. Shown each year on Super Bowl Sunday, the show consists of footage of a batch of puppies at play inside a model stadium, with commentary on their actions.”

“Joey can hold his own,” Larson said. “He’s a tough little guy.”

Joey’s rescue and adoption story will also be featured during the event.

The National Desk met Joey in May at Vintage Pet Rescue, a nonprofit organization in Foster, Rhode Island that primarily takes in senior dogs. It was founded by Kristen Peralta and her husband, who place the dogs in loving foster and/or fur-ever homes.

They do amazing work,” Larson said. “Joey wouldn’t have the life he has if it wasn’t for them, so we will do anything to help bring recognition to Vintage Pet Rescue.”

Often, many of the dogs end up at Vintage Pet Rescue because their owner died, got sick, or had to move into an assisted living facility.

The non-profit was established in September 2017 to care for senior dogs. Now, it also helps special needs dogs like Joey.

Peralta took Joey in after he was surrendered to the Connecticut Humane Society in early 2022. A few months later, he was neutered and available for adoption.

I’m just so grateful that we were the ones who were able to get him,” Larson said. “I can’t imagine this house without him. I will forever be grateful for Joey.

In addition to her full-time job and caring for seven pets, Larson volunteers at an animal sanctuary in Tiverton, Rhode Island called “B Free Farm.” It’s operated by a husband and wife, who have five horses, a mini horse, three donkeys, three pigs, 17 goats, and more than 20 chickens.

“They’re all rescues,” Larson said. “That’s their forever home.”

Larson said she’s always surrounded by animals but wouldn’t want it another other way.

We can learn so much from animals,” Larson said. “There’s no judgement. They just accept everybody for who they are. There’s no obstacle too big for them.”

Joey and several other pups will compete in Puppy Bowl XIX for the “Lombarky Trophy” on February 12 at 2 p.m. ET/11 a.m. PT on Animal Planet.

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