The sixth-annual is cute and competitive – and complete with bunny cheerleaders

By Kate Hogan
Updated February 25, 2010 09:36 PM

Sunday’s Puppy Bowl pitted the underdogs against the top dogs in a showdown of skill and semblance. But in a paw-biting tail-wagger that kept us glued to our seats, it was a Chug (half-Chihuahua, half-pug) named Jake who ran circles around the 42 other furballs on the field at Animal Planet Stadium in Silver Springs, Md.

Though he never scored a touchdown (but really, who did?), Jake’s ability to “break the sound barrier” with his speed earned him the title of Most Valuable Puppy.

The first quarter kicked off with a rush to the water bowl in the end zone, where a camera gave viewers at home an upshot of all the cute tongue action. Once everyone’s thirst was quenched the game really got rolling as Fava, a 16-week-old cattle dog mix, scored two touchdowns within a matter of minutes. Later, she earned props for having the “drive of the game.”

The second quarter was all about beagle Duncan, who completed a 30-yard run and scored – that is, until crazy-fast MVP Jake shot across the field (never mind that he didn’t have a football in his mouth). No one could stop the little chug except for growing golden retriever Eenu, whose sheer size – and unfortunate ability to drip agua from the water bowl all over the field – put Jake on pause more than once.

Halftime couldn’t come quick enough for the fuzzy felines who showed off what they do best – grooming themselves! The 20 kittens arrived on the field atop a mega-sized scratching post, taking over a playground of feathered toys where they rolled around in confetti, licked their paws or just, well, cat-napped.

By the third quarter, a few pups were just doggone tired, and took a cue from the kitties, sleeping on the sidelines. Pooch Tigger was called out for illegal grasping of the tail, while little Tonka received a foul for illegal use of paws. But all the dogs showed no love was lost when they shared a mandatory hydration break – and ended up in a three-way sloppy kiss. Aww!

The outstanding four-legged athletes returned to the field with the rush of a second wind. Yet things went downhill fast in the fourth quarter – a few pooches were booted for snoozing on the job (in front of the goal post, no less!). It all came down to a last-second touchdown, tying the genial game.

Still, some of the best action was off the field: Hyper hamsters watched the game from a blimp floating above the stadium; tailgating dogs barked for their favorites between brews and barbecues; and bunny cheerleaders twitched their noses with each touchdown.

The best part of the event? Knowing that all these shelter pups have found forever homes in recent weeks. That makes them all winners to us!