Road to the Puppy Bowl Draft
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The NFL Draft is taking place in downtown Chicago for the first time in more than 51 years this week, but the cutest competition already happened Wednesday afternoon on the North Side.
PAWS Chicago hosted the first Road to the Puppy Bowl Draft along with “Animal Planet” and the NFL Players Association, ahead of the NFL Draft.
Former Bear Alex Brown, Eric Winston of the Cincinnati Bengals, Carolina Panther Thomas Davis, and 14-year NFL veteran Jay Feely first toured the facility and met the pups available for the draft, including Julianne Peppers, Robbie Golden, Walter Playton and Troy Pawlamalu.
During the tour, the players snapped pictures of available dogs with their cellphones. Feely met a 3-month-old kitten the shelter named after him, Jay Fishly.
Tom Gimler, official puppy bowl referee for “Animal Planet,” snickered when he spotted the puppy named Brett Favre.
“They took the smallest dog possible and named him after Favre!” Gimler said.
The coveted first pick of the draft went to Winston and Davis — nicknamed “Team Ruff” — and they chose Charles “Peanut Butter” Tillman.
The players’ competitiveness kicked in when it came time to make their selections.
“He has some off-the-field issues, but we believe in him,” Alex Brown joked of his team’s selection of 1-month-old boxer Ronnie Lots of Treats.
Brown brought along his wife and two young daughters. The family already has two pets, one big dog and a little dog, his wife said.
Brown’s oldest daughter helped him make the final selection of the draft and chose Lick Butkus, a 3-month-old boxer mix.
Former Bear Anthony “Spice” Adams arrived a few minutes late to the draft, but selected Barkus Allen — arguably one of the tiniest pups at the shelter. When the ref chided Adams for his late arrival, Adams said he had come from an appearance at Lurie Children’s Hospital.
Thirty-nine pets were adopted Wednesday at Paws Chicago because of the draft, according to spokeswoman Sarah Ahlberg.
“The kind folks at Animal Planet and ASPCA will continue to cover the MVP animal adoption fees through the weekend as well. We are thrilled,” Ahlberg said.