SALEM, Va. – Southwest Virginia may not have a local team going to the Super Bowl this year, but it does have a local dog competing on the gridiron. Hailing from Salem, 8-month-old Marshall, a Boston terrier, is on the starting roster for Team Fluff at Puppy Bowl 17.
Marshall’s owners are Chris and Christina Lee, the head of local nonprofit Deaf Dogs Rock based in Salem. They are thrilled that their pup is headed to the big game.
“It’s all about grabbing toys and running into the end zone,” said Chris. “And he loves his toys so I think there was a decent shot he was pretty active.”
The taping of the Animal Planet program happened in the Fall of 2020 in New York.
Marshall is a wiggly, energetic puppy, and although it’s not noticeable when you first meet him, Marshall is fully deaf. That’s what connected him with his new owners. The Lee’s originally sponsored Marshall into a partner rescue group Green Dogs Unleashed in Troy, Virginia.
“He was purchased by a woman for her elderly mother, thought it would be great to get a puppy for her mother to keep her company. And as you can imagine a young energetic Boston terrier was just too much, and when they discovered it was deaf they decided they needed a bit more help with this,” Chris Lee said. “Getting him into a rescue like green dog unleashed ensures that he is going to get the proper care, they’ll fully vet a home for him and he’s going to end up in a really good long-term place. With him it just happened to be us.”
Marshall quickly won over their hearts.
“We followed his story. One adoption fell through. We had lost a dog. The time was just perfect so we thought ok, Marshall is going to join our clan,” Chris said.
Marshall will be representing green dogs unleashed in the Puppy Bowl. His owners hope he showcases how special, and very adoptable deaf dogs really are.
“The deafness is just an attribute. We don’t even like to use the word disability,” Chris said. “There’s no stereotypes that hold as far as deaf dogs are that, or deaf dogs are this. They are just dogs. They are a product of the love they receive in their home.”
Marshall is definitely in a home where he receives a lot of love along with his five dog siblings.
There is a competition where you can show your love by voting for your favorite Puppy Bowl pup. Marshall continues to advance week after week. If Marshall wins, Green Dogs Unleashed will take home a cash prize.
Fans can vote here. One lucky winner will have the ability to select a non-profit animal shelter (from the pre-approved list) to receive a donation of $5,000 from the Pedigree Foundation and a 1-year subscription to DOGTV, the first and only television network for dogs.
Plus, every entry receives a free trial to DOGTV with give back! For every free trial redeemed, DOGTV will donate $5 to the selected non-profit animal shelter.
The Puppy Bowl kicks off February 7 at 2 p.m on Animal Planet and Discovery Channel.