LIVE

Who’s ready to roll onto the field and into our hearts? This guy!

By Tracey L. Kelley
January 08, 2021
Advertisement
Jett he dog in two wheeled dog wheelchair
Credit: Discovery+ /Animal Planet / Elias Weiss Friedman

On Sunday, February 7, dog lovers around the world will tune to Animal Planet for "Puppy Bowl XVII"! This frolicking match between Team Ruff and Team Fluff showcases 70 canine athletes and promotes adoption awareness. A primary candidate for MVP (most valuable pup, of course!) on Team Fluff is Jett, a 32-week-old Labrador retriever/German pointer from Pets with Disabilities (PWD) in Prince Frederick, Md. 

We got pupclose and personal with Jett's hoomans, Joyce Darrell and Mike Dickerson. Darrell said Jett was about 8 weeks old when they rescued him, and he doesn't know he's different. "It's absolutely amazing how he figures out his life utilizing two legs!" Jett's missing two front limbs are the result of a birth defect. Once part of a litter, he wasn't thriving because he couldn't compete with the other pups for food. 

The couple outfitted Jett with a custom cart. Darrell said he's adapted well, and now has the attitude and temperament of any other "normal" pup. "He gets to where he needs to be either on wheels or standing on his two back legs and walking! He loves to play with the other pups, his toys, and snuggling, and he loves to eat!" 

According to Animal Planet's parent company, Discovery, the goal of Puppy Bowl is to celebrate adoption and the staffers of shelters and rescues who strive for animal welfare. The 2021 program features 22 different organizations. The event encourages fans to adopt the pup players that take the field, and has a 100 percent adoption rate each year. Darrell said Jett was selected as a participant when Animal Planet discovered PWD while scouting for interesting rescue locations to tape for the program. "We just happened to rescue Jett during this time, which was kind of lucky, since we never really have too many puppies here," she said.

The mission of PWD is to promote the adoption of dogs with disabilities, and the organization relies on "heart connection" donations to support the courageous canines at their shelter. After Jett's big game, Darrell said he'll continue his work as a PWD ambassador, where his duties include going to schools and public events to show people that his life has purpose and he's not a "throwaway dog."

"His zest for life on two legs is awe-inspiring to us!" 

Jett, a differently abled black puppy, sits and smiles for the camera with colorful bandana on
Credit: ProPet Shots – Kris Robinson

Jett has some cool pre-game buzz, too! He's one of 16 pooches you can vote for before gameday to earn the title of "Most Pup-ular!" in the Pupularity Playoffs. Check out his pawsome video! The winning pup from each weekly round advances to the final, so make sure to check back and vote again. Discovery notes the winner will be announced during the Puppy Bowl Pregame Show at 1 p.m. EST/10 a.m. PST on Sunday, February 7.

Then, to see Jett in action, watch Animal Planet's "Puppy Bowl XVII" on the same day at 2 p.m. EST/11 a.m. PST. The game also premiers on discovery+.