It happens around the same time every year: Friend and families gather together, load up on nachos and cold beer, and get ready to spend a day in front of the TV yelling for their favorite contenders.
Yep, it’s the Puppy Bowl, Animal Planet’s annual competition of cute that features shelter pups from around the country trying to make touchdowns with stuffed toys.
But what happens to the dogs after they’ve participated? All of them get adopted, and live happily ever after with their forever families, of course. This year, Animal Planet will revisit several former puppy players in a one-hour special (airing Friday, Jan. 27th. at 9 p.m. ET) to see how far they’ve come since their glory days on TV, and PEOPLE got a sneak peak at a few of them in advance.
Jake, 2010 Puppy Bowl
Some dogs get name changes after they’re on the show, but Jake, a Chihuahua-pug mix (and fan favorite!) still goes by Jake. “He’s tiny,” says his owner Lauren Chrust, who adopted him before he was on the show. “People never understand how small he is until they meet him.” Chrust says on the Puppy Bowl, Jake was running around like a maniac, and he still has his moments of wildness. “I live with it,” she says. “He’ll run around like crazy, but then sleep for four hours.” Chrust also says Jake is a lover, not a fighter. “He loves everyone,” she says. “He’s the happiest dog and goes insane over everyone, giving them kisses. Except for big dogs. He doesn’t love those!”
Bubba, 2015 Puppy Bowl
“People always stop and ask me about him because he’s so cute,” says Michelle Maskaly of New York, who officially adopted “Maddux” after helping out at the Puppy Bowl and falling in love with him. “It was terrible timing. I had just started a new job and had these trips planned, but was just like, ‘Should I take him home?’ And I had to.” Maddux is now an official therapy dog, certified to go to hospitals and nursing homes to spread the love. “He’s very clever,” says Maslasky. “But he’s also very calm and chill. He’s dignified!”
Rudy, 2014 Puppy Bowl
“He’s so lovable,” says Suellen Irwin of Iowa, who adopted Rudy (now called Kinnick) in 2013, a month before he was in the Bowl. “People know he’s a Puppy Bowl star, but to us he’s just our dog.” Still, after his star turn on TV, he did go through a slight chewing stage. “He went through about nine pairs of shoes,” Irwin says, with a laugh. And, he also got to meet a celebrity: Michelle Obama, and the first daughters Sasha and Malia: “The woman from the adoption agency called us, and said, ‘I didn’t mention this before, but he’s going to the White House to meet the President’s dogs. Is that a problem?’ “