Forget Super Bowl, Puppy Bowl XI features pit bull found on streets of North Philly [photos]

The Eagles will not be playing (again) in the Super Bowl this weekend, but Philadelphia will be otherwise represented on the gridiron.

Jamison, a three-month pit bull mix from Philadelphia, will be featured in the annual Puppy Bowl.

The Puppy Bowl is unapologetically cute programming from the cable channel Animal Planet.  A pack of puppies is let loose on a miniature football field set, strewn with chew toys, while an announcer calls the play.

Nominally, the dogs are there to play football. In execution they wrestle, nap, drink water, wander around aimlessly, and occasionally pee because…you know, they’re puppies.

“He just wanted to play with all the other dogs,” said Kim Mangione, founder of New Life Animal Rescue of Marlton, N.J., who handled Jamison during the TV shoot in New York last October. “He made two friends of these little boxers from Kentucky. He hung out with them a lot. He made a lot of friends, typical of his personality.”

Jamison did not start life so carefree. He was found last August abandoned on the streets of North Philadelphia at just three weeks old, with worms and cigarette burns, so malnourished he was having seizures.

Mangione fostered Jamison, brought him to health and adopted him out to a couple in Downingtown, Pa. His burns have healed, as has his spirit. Now six months old and filled out to almost 50 pounds, Jamison’s early trauma appears to be forgotten.

“That’s what you’d think, that some of it would be scarring to him, but he is the happiest, sweetest puppy in the entire world,” said Meghan Corey, Jamison’s new mom. “When I was sick yesterday, he curled up on the couch with me the whole day. He’s the sweetest puppy like nothing bad had ever happened to him in his life.”

Last fall, Animal Planet sent out a call to animal rescue organizations asking for puppies 10–15 weeks old for Puppy Bowl XI (to be shot in October then broadcast in February on Super Bowl Sunday). After Jamison was recruited, Corey discovered him online via PetFinder, not knowing it had been selected to be in the Puppy Bowl. She allowed the dog’s foster parent, Mangione, to take Jamison to New York for a day.

This Sunday afternoon, Corey will throw a Puppy Bowl party to celebrate Jamison. The other game, featuring the New England Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks being played in Arizona, will be all but ignored. Corey, who is pregnant and recovering from a head cold, expects to be in bed just as the Super Bowl starts. “It’s not on my priority list right now,” she said.

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