The ref didn’t even have to blow her whistle for the game to start, as the players were already on the field. With one glance at a small, plush football tossed in the air, they were off, running across the field. The players, however, weren't your average NFL pros—they were puppies.

The Meadowlake Pet Resort and Training Center hosted its first Puppy Bowl, similar to the annual Animal Planet competition held on Super Bowl Sunday, this past Wednesday afternoon. The competition featured two energetic teams—Tuff and Ruff—with a roster of five to six puppies each, ranging in age from two to six months.

Though this is the resort’s inaugural year of holding a local Puppy Bowl, organizers hope it’ll be the start to Houston’s own tradition. “We just wanted to do something fun and special being that the Super Bowl is in town,” says Laura Koch, executive manager. “It was not even organized chaos, honestly; it was just the puppies playing everywhere.” 

The field was decorated with taped touchdown zones, a giant scoreboard and an American flag. On the field, dogs of various breeds, including a Labrador Retriever, a Boxer, French Bulldog, and German Shorthaired Pointer, ran, tackled and panted together.

“So many of them ... didn’t have much socialization prior to today, and we really saw them come out of their shells,” Koch says.

The entire event was live streamed on Facebook, featuring four full quarters of the game, a halftime show and a post-game nap. No matter how many touchdowns were scored, each pup went home a winner.

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