Most Valuable Pups: 5 Central Florida rescue dogs to star in Animal Planet’s Puppy Bowl

ORLANDO, Fla. — Norman the corgi is ready for his close-up. After a casting process including headshots and action videos, he’ll have his big break cheering on the sideline of the 18th annual Puppy Bowl airing on Animal Planet this month.

He’s got an underdog backstory made for the silver screen, coming upon his newfound fame alongside his brother, Nugget, after they were both confiscated as part of a hoarding/cruelty case.


Norman and Nugget are two of five puppies rescued by Florida Little Dog Rescue who will make their primetime debuts during the Puppy Bowl, which will be streaming on discovery+ and airing on  Animal Planet on Sunday, Feb. 13, at 2 p.m.

When Jessica Frick Mason and her family filled out an application to adopt through Florida Little Dog Rescue, they didn’t know they’d be adopting a Puppy Bowl contestant.

PHOTOS: Meet the local rescue pups starring in Animal Planet’s Puppy Bowl

“He just happened to be a superstar,” she said with a laugh.

Every year, the Puppy Bowl chooses adoptable pups from shelters and rescues across the country to battle it out for the “Lombarky” trophy on Team Ruff and Team Fluff.

READ: Meet your match: Lake County Animal Shelter waiving adoption fees for February

This year 67 shelters and rescues from 33 states brought 118 puppy players to the game, including Florida Little Dog Rescue, a 501(c)3 charitable organization that serves the Central Florida area.

“The great thing about Animal Planet’s Puppy Bowl is that they do feature such a wide variety of dogs,” said Jordan Johnson with Florida Little Dog Rescue. “It proves that no matter what type of dog you’re looking for you can always find it in rescue.”

All of Florida Little Dog Rescue’s participating pups have already found their forever homes.

READ: ‘Mystery animal’ escapes from Pennsylvania wildlife rescue

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Sarah Wilson

Sarah Wilson, WFTV.com

Sarah Wilson joined WFTV Channel 9 in 2018 as a digital producer after working as an award-winning newspaper reporter for nearly a decade in various communities across Central Florida.