Atlanta will have four representatives on Animal Planet’s 2024 Puppy Bowl on Sunday, Feb. 11 courtesy of Bosley’s Place in Smyrna.
Bosley’s Place since its inception in 2015 has been a nursery and sanctuary for homeless and orphaned neonatal puppies, providing bottle feeding and 24-hour care.
This is the third year Bosley’s Place has participated in the Puppy Bowl and owner and founder Jennifer Siegel said four of the six puppies she brought to the show producers during “tryouts” last summer made the cut for Puppy Bowl XX.
“Puppy Bowl has truly been a blessing for us with all the relationships and partnerships we’ve made,” she said. “I love doing it.”
In all, Puppy Bowl XX will feature 131 puppies, the most in the show’s history, from 73 different shelter groups in 36 states. The competition will air at 11 a.m., seven hours before the Super Bowl on CBS.
One of Bosley’s Place’s puppies was truly special: at just 1.7 pounds, Sweetpea was the smallest puppy ever to take part in the games over its 20-year history.
Sweetpea was a Cavapoo, a cross between a poodle and a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. She was just 20% of the weight of her siblings and she had both congenital defects in her heart and hydrocephalus, a buildup of fluid in cavities called ventricles deep within the brain.
Sadly, a few weeks after Puppy Bowl was taped in upstate New York in an ice hockey arena, Sweetpea died. “We tried to fix her,” Siegel said. “She was so tiny and adorable. She only lived four months but she flew first class and sat in the captain’s lap. She had a great life.”
The other three include two siblings who are Pekingese-chihuahua mixes Lille and Charlotte from north Georgia whose mom rejected them.
The fourth is named Wheaties but the show isn’t allowed to use that name so they dubbed him Theodore.
Those three other dogs are all adopted and doing well, Siegel said.
She said her adoption process is rigorous and includes an interview and a home visit. Healthy puppies sometimes get hundreds of applicants, she said.
Her group began a decade ago when she found Bosley in a trash can in Grant Park. Bosley was going to be euthanized so she took him home and bottle fed him. Ten years later, she still has Bosley, who inspired her to start Bosley’s Place.
She now rescues about 200 dogs a year. Almost all are four weeks old or younger when she gets them.
One benefit of Bosley’s Place’s exposure on the Puppy Bowl: The Farmer’s Dog provides her food for free. “They bring us frozen food every couple of months,” she said.
IF YOU WATCH
“Puppy Bowl XX”
2 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 11 on Animal Planet