Uplifting | Animals | Entertainment

This Year's Puppy Bowl Will Feature Some Very Special Dogs

For the past 13 years, the Puppy Bowl on Animal Planet has provided a much needed alternative for viewers who don't feel like watching the Superbowl.

While there are winners and losers (and even a halftime show, with kittens) the most important part of the Puppy Bowl is finding homes for all of the competitors. Every dog that appears on the show is from a shelter, and the event's organizers hope the national exposure will help the pups find good homes.

This year, more than 78 puppies from 34 rescue organizations in 22 states will compete, including a handful of dogs with special needs.

Among the dozens of dogs trying to find a good home are Doobert, Winston, and Ricky: three dogs who aren't letting their disabilities hold them back. Doobert, a hearing impaired English Pointer, was lucky enough to be adopted before the event.

He was brought to New York to compete by his new owners, who are teaching him to understand hand signals.

Winston, an Australian Shepherd, needed special supervision while he taped the show, because he's both deaf and blind.

"We think he's going to hit the field hard, take a nap right in the middle, and perhaps get tumbled over a few times by the bigger pups," his owner Christene Justus told USA Today.

By making it to the Puppy Bowl, Lucky, a mixed breed dog from Tennessee, proved he really was lucky. He was found huddled under a deck in sweltering weather with his brother Ricky, and lost a leg while staying in his foster home.

"Just the fact that Lucky was on the field was a success," says Dan Schachner, who will be "refereeing" the competition for the sixth time this year.

All three of these special dogs have already been adopted by new, loving owners, and the show's producers hope that the other 75 dogs on the roster will be too, once the special airs on February 5th.

Are you going to tune in to the Puppy Bowl this year?

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