NEWS
03/02/2018 23:32 SAST | Updated 03/02/2018 23:39 SAST

These Pups Rescued From Puerto Rico Are Part Of This Year's Puppy Bowl

Sunday’s Puppy Bowl XIV will include two extra special canine athletes.

Every year, the event, which involves a bunch of adorable puppies frolicking around, serves as Animal Planet’s counter-programming to the Super Bowl. All of the participating dogs come from animal shelters or rescue groups, and this year, two of the puppies are animals rescued from Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricane Maria.

Kaleb Jr. and Archer, both mixed-breeds, were transported to the U.S. mainland by The Sato Project, a nonprofit focused on helping Puerto Rico’s stray dogs, ABC News reports.

Courtesy of Animal Planet
Archer, now known as Maddox, is slated as a "back-up pup" in Animal Planet's Puppy Bowl XIV.

The Sato Project has sent puppies to the Puppy Bowl for the past seven years, according to Bustle, but this year its participation takes on a new significance as Puerto Rico struggles to recover from the hurricane. As of Wednesday, nearly 30 percent of Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority customers still had no power.

“We’re hoping these little dogs on Sunday are going to fly the flag high and proud and people will once again start to realize that the crisis isn’t over there and we are a part of the USA,” Sato Project founder Chrissy Beckles told ABC 7.

Kaleb Jr. and Archer have already been adopted by families in New York state, and both have been given new names — Murphy and Maddox, respectively, AM New York reports. They’re still called Kaleb Jr. and Archer in Puppy Bowl XIV promotional materials, though, so those are likely the names that will be used when the program airs.

Courtesy of Animal Planet
Kaleb Jr., now known as Murphy, is part of the starting lineup of Animal Planet's Puppy Bowl XIV.

Both pups now appear to have great lives and loving homes, according to what their families told AM New York. Maddox, aka Archer, is a “super loving” puppy who enjoys belly rubs. And Murphy, aka Kaleb Jr., is a friendly, sociable dog whose hobbies include trying to sneak bites of steak and chasing a cat named Milton.

The Sato Project still has other dogs available for adoption, though. The group is also accepting applications for temporary dog foster homes as well as for volunteers in both New York and Puerto Rico.

Puppies!