The Word: Meet ‘Puppy Bowl’ referee Dan Schachner

Meet "Puppy Bowl" ref Dan Schachner.

Dan Schachner has not been killed by cuteness. Far from it: The actor was all business refereeing “Puppy Bowl IX,” the annual Animal Planet game that pits one adorable team of puppies against another. He talked with us about making sure the pups play a clean game, the newest addition of hedgehog cheerleaders and about looking out for No. 1 (and 2).

What precautions do you have in place to make sure the “Puppy Bowl” doesn’t  become a “Poopy Bowl”?
Even with all the precautions, there really is no way to prevent a “Poopy Bowl.” These pups only have one thing on their mind — playing a great game and scoring as many touchdowns as possible. If an on-field accident should occur (and they do), we need to act fast to clean up the “foul” before it affects the action on the field. Puppies will be puppies, even when they’re playing football in a mini stadium.

Have there been any rumors of off-field puppy doping?
There is a rigorous medical exam and physical for all the pups. We can’t have them disgrace “Puppy Bowl’s” good name after all. They are aware of the strict consequences if any tests should come back positive. The kittens, on the other hand, are addicted to cat nip, but we go easy on them since the are always nervous before the halftime show. I’m joking. Cat nip is a serious problem for kitties in America.

Baby hedgehogs will be the cheerleaders. Can they get the crowd going?

These are tough hedgehogs with a lot of spirit! Personally, I think they out-pep last year’s Piggy Pep Squad but don’t quote me on that. You’ll see the hedgehogs in tutus with miniature footballs rooting for their favorite pups throughout the game on Sunday.

Who will be MVP?
I feel like Chestnut is a shoo-in for MVP (Most Valuable Puppy). Do you have dibs on anyone?
Chestnut definitely plays a great game. That little pup doesn’t stop for anything! Personally, I’m a big fan of Oscar, a 15-week-old Dachshund who’s favorite dish is weiner schnitzel. I would keep an eye on him if I were you.


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