May 23, 2024

Bowlingual Dog

Animal Planet Directory

The Official 2024 Puppy Bowl Lineup (Taylor’s Version) · The Wildest

Forget The Masters, the Puppy Bowl is truly a tradition unlike any other (if you didn’t get the golf reference, it’s fine, and we can move on). Operating as counterprogramming to the Super Bowl, the Puppy Bowl features a collection of shelter pups cuddling it out to raise awareness of animal adoption and help find them homes. 

This year will see the 20th presentation of the game on Animal Planet and includes a record-breaking 131 puppies from 73 rescue organizations. Unlike its NFL counterpart, which will end with either the San Francisco 49ers or Kansas City Chiefs (and countless Swifties as a result) feeling devastated, there are no real losers in the Puppy Bowl due to its 100 percent adoption rate.

But there is still one throughline between the respective battles for the Lombardi and “Lombarky” trophies: the knowledge that the true star of the weekend this year is Taylor Swift. If you’re unconvinced of the connection, longtime Puppy Bowl referee will be officiating his 13th game — Tay’s favorite number, of course. 

Despite performing at the Tokyo Dome in Japan each of the three nights prior, all signs point to Swift making an appearance at Super Bowl LVIII in Las Vegas to support her boyfriend, Travis Kelce. Sure, that’s traditionally a 12-hour flight, but think of this as her opportunity to live out the plot of Trains, Planes, and Automobiles. (Only Taylor’s version would more accurately be titled Private Planes and Advanced Security Clearances.)

So, while that timeline rules out the pop icon from dropping in on the Puppy Bowl, especially considering that it’s prerecorded (sorry!), her presence will still be felt, if we have anything to say about it. Below, 11 pups from Team Ruff and 11 from Team Fluff — starting lineups, if you will — introduced through the music of Taylor Swift. 

Team Ruff

Guy Fureri

One Tail at a Time (Chicago, IL)  — “22”

As someone who’s made a career out of visiting diners, Guy Fieri certainly understands that the perfect evening does call for “breakfast at midnight.” I’d assume that this trait is hereditarily passed down through his pseudo namesake. 

Rebekah

Lucky Dog Refuge (Stamford, CT) — “The Last Great American Dynasty”

Judging by the spelling, I’m going to assume this pup was also inspired by the life of American socialite Rebekah Harkness, who is the subject of the above folklore song and whose former residence Swift has owned since 2013. Look for this Rebekah to ride up “the afternoon train” into the end zone this weekend.

Small Ed

Phoenix Animal Rescue (Chester Springs, PA) — “Everything Has Changed”

I promise this has nothing to do with “Everything Has Changed” being the first song Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran collaborated on, nor the fact that he’s one of the few male celebrities shorter than I am.

Stryker

Green Dogs Unleashed (Troy, VA) — “Superman”

Stryker may be hearing impaired but, as “something in his deep brown eyes has me singing.”

Indigo

Five Acres Animal Shelter (St. Charles, MO) — “Marjorie”

The song honoring Tay’s late grandmother opens with some advice: “Never be so kind, you forget to be clever / Never be so clever, you forget to be kind.” As a Great Pyrenees and German Shepherd mix, two of the most loving and intelligent breeds, Indigo will surely abide. 

Lady Luck

Nevada SPCA (Las Vegas, NV) — “The Lucky One”

As Lady Luck’s fellow Las Vegas residents can attest, sometimes you have to go chalk. It’s as true for gambling as it is for making canine connections to Taylor Swift songs.

Moe

Renee’s Rescues (Hockessin, DE) — “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together”

In what might be the cutest physical representation of a breakup, Moe’s misaligned floppy ears appear committed to never ever be aligning with each other again. 

Bark Purdy

Sacramento SPCA (Sacramento, CA) — “Bad Blood”

Sure, Swift allegedly wrote this song as a diss track about Katy Perry, but she’s dealing with a new feud these days: Brock Purdy and the San Francisco 49ers. And Tay’s going to need to muster all the bad blood energy she can if she wants to see her guy Travis Kelce win his third ring, especially if they’re planning theirown ring ceremony during postgame.

Bob Barker

Jersey Girls Animal Rescue (North Plainfield, NJ) — “ME!”

Thanks to his mismatched eye colors, Bob Barker probably shares a closer resemblance to David Bowie than the late Price Is Right host (and low-key massive animal rights advocate). Regardless, I think you’ll be hard-pressed to ever find another dog like him.

Mr. Bean

Barky Pines Animal Rescue and Sanctuary (West Palm Beach, FL) — “You Need To Calm Down”

The Puppy Bowl is first and foremost an event to promote pet adoption but it is also a competition. And this is the face of a dog whose energy and motor will be unmatched. 

Chili

Humane Society of Pikes Peak Region (Colorado Springs, CO) — “I Forgot That You Existed”

Shooters shoot, as they say, and the restaurant chain Chili’s is shooting for the stars. Three days after this Super Bowl will be the first Valentine’s Day Travis Kelce and Taylor Swift spend together, so the chain recentlytook to X in an attempt to host the famed couple for this substantial milestone. A valiant effort. 

Team Fluff

Francine

Rescue Dogs Rock (New York, NY) — “Welcome to New York”

Hailing from Rescue Dogs Rock NYC, Francine epitomizes the quintessential New York City anthem of the past decade. Not to mention, the name Francine screams cool aunt from Manhattan.

Bailey

Paws Crossed Animal Rescue (Elmsford, NY) — “Exile”

There’s a steady wariness behind Bailey’s eyes. They’re perfectly matched with the melancholy drone of “exile”.

Zeke

Green Dogs Unleashed (Troy, VA) — “Shake It Off”

At the risk of leaning into Poodle stereotypes, Zeke seems as regal as he is self-assured. I can easily see him prancing down the street looking luxurious and being unaffected by those around him.  

Levi

Green Dogs Unleashed (Troy, VA) — “Anti-Hero”

Weighing in at a commanding 72 pounds, Levi is the largest pup in the competition. His size is not the problem, but I’m sure he’s occasionally felt like a “monster on the hill” next to all these baby-sized dogs.

Patrick Mabones

AHeinz57 Pet Rescue (DeSota, IA) — “It’s Nice To Have A Friend”

During the 12 Chiefs games that Swift has attended this season, one thing has become abundantly clear: She has hit it off with every member of the Kelce family and the larger Kansas City crew. Specifically, she’s seemed to form a special bond with Brittany Mahomes, the wife of star KC QB Patrick Mahomes.  

London

Connecticut Humane Society (Newington, CT) — “London Boy”

Let’s not overthink this one. Besides, I’ll take any excuse to listen to Idris Elba’s voice for a few seconds. 

Gunnar

Buddy’s Second Chance Rescue (Amherst, NY) — “Delicate”

As a Pittie, Gunnar shares one similarly unjust fate with Taylor Swift: People will make snap judgments about them based on misinformation and ignorance. Tay’s album Reputation is largely in response to this misplaced scrutiny, and “Delicate” exemplifies her rejection of it. The song is about falling in love despite the media’s perceptions, something that pet parents also feel after adopting a Pit Bull. 

Arthur

One Tail at a Time (Chicago, IL) — “Cardigan”

With fur featuring a beautiful blend of black and white, Arthur could have easily been in the running for folklore’s album cover. Let’s give him “cardigan,” arguably one of the most beloved songs from that album.  

Beemo

Florida Little Dog Rescue Group (St. Cloud, FL) — “Evermore”

Rocking large expressive ears and eyes that pierce your soul, paired with the allusion of an apparent round beard, Beemo can only be described as having extreme Bon Iver face. Evermore’s title track features the second collab between Taylor Swift and the man who invented Wisconsin sad-boy indie-folk.

Fred

Helen Woodward Animal Center (Rancho Santa Fe, CA) — “Enchanted”

Fred is a finalist for “Most Pupular,” competing against Team Ruff’s Bark Purdy, so you could say many were “enchanted to meet” him. 

Good Girl

Paws Across Pittsburgh Animal Rescue (Pittsburgh, PA) — “Bejeweled”

When Good Girl walks on the field, she can make “the whole place shimmer.” Here’s hoping that shine gets her that Puppy Bowl MVP title.


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