Super Bowl Puppy Bowl 2023: Dog Born With Only Two Legs Warms Hearts

Rhode Island has a unique star playing this weekend, but not at the Super Bowl. Joey, a puppy born with only two legs, became the MVP of Puppy Bowl XIX on Animal Planet. Joey was born on Christmas Day 2021 and was adopted by Larson and Laurie Thibodeau of Tiverton, Rhode Island.

Joey was born in a litter to a couple in Connecticut. They could find homes for the other dogs, but no one adopted Joey. They contacted the Connecticut Humane Society, which then turned to Vintage Pet Rescue in Foster, Rhode Island, reports the Providence Journal. Vintage Pet Rescue is run by Kristen Peralta and her husband, Marc, and specializes in older dogs.

The Thibodeaus adopted Joey last year, and he has been perfect among their five other dogs, most of whom are rescues. Joey became fast friends with Murphy, a three-legged dog. "We weren't wrong," Larson told the Journal. "They're great together."

Joey earned a spot at the Puppy Bowl after Animal Planet contacted Vintage Pet Rescue. "It's not every day you get a call from Animal Planet," Peralta told WPRI. "We have a big social media presence, so I think he made his way to the right people." Joey is also a social media star thanks to The Adventures Of Joey And Friends, a Facebook group with nearly 1,000 members.

Joey was born with only his hind legs and usually likes hopping around on them. He was first named Christmas, but that was changed to Joey because of his hopping. He also uses a custom wheelchair to get around. "He doesn't know he's any different," Peralta told WPRI. "He's just a lovely little dog."

Puppy Bowl XIX was filmed last fall, and Joey had a great time as a member of Team Ruff. "I think he had a good time," Peralta said. He was tired out though and slept for two days when he got home. He was also "sworn to secrecy" and could not share who won.

The show also includes a DNA reveal for Joey! The Thibodeaus have no idea what breed Joey is. Larson suspects his bloodline includes rat terrier, Jack Russell terrier, and chihuahua. "Whatever he is, he's perfect," Larson told the Journal.

Puppy Bowl XIX begins at 2 p.m. ET on Animal Planet, Discovery+, Discovery, TBS, and HBO Max. Joey is one of 122 puppies playing for bragging rights, and 11 of them will be adopted during the broadcast, notes Entertainment Weekly. The broadcast will also introduce viewers to three kittens named Ghee, Moo, and Quokka searching for homes.