Puppy Love: Jill Biden kept it crowd-pleasing in first FLOTUS PSA

Jill Biden joined actress Kristen Bell, Snoop Dogg and Martha Stewart for the 17th annual Puppy Bowl, which broadcasted on Animal Planet.


From a lifesize cardboard arena to a halftime show annually themed with dancing felines, the traditional dogs-only Super Bowl pre-show is nothing short of fantastical. And this year, Animal Planet hit all the right spots.

The 17th annual Puppy Bowl aired on Feb. 7 featuring the American triad: football, puppies and White House representatives.

Hosted by rapper Snoop Dogg and interior designer Martha Stewart, the special also sported a special appearance from “Frozen” actress Kristen Bell. But it was America’s new first lady who got a star turn.

Jill Biden sat with her two rescue German Shepherds, Champ and Major, before addressing animal and football fans alike in her 30-second public service announcement on mask-wearing outdoors.

Biden began her guest appearance with plenty of quarantine-themed jokes.

“For a lot of us during this pandemic, our pets have been such a source for joy and comfort,” she said. “And maybe a bark or two on the video conference.”

But the real emotional appeal came after her lighthearted preamble.

“The unconditional love from a dog is one of the most beautiful things on Earth, and we owe it to them to keep ourselves healthy,” Biden said. “So, please keep wearing your masks even when you’re out walking your dog.” 

Masking up outdoors is often a topic filled with mixed perspectives. Fourteen states do not or no longer have statewide orders on mask mandates. However, Alabama does impose a statewide mask mandate, with its latest amendment amended on Jan. 21.

Gov. Kay Ivey has issued exceptions for wearing masks during exercise. 

The updated Safer At Home Order includes working out at a gym if socially distanced, participating in athletic activities in compliance with the section titled “Athletic Activities” or in bodies of water like a swimming pool or lake.

Hackensack Meridian Health mentions situations when wearing a mask outdoors is not necessary – on your own property, in a secluded location where the likelihood of contact is low and when eating or drinking outdoors. 

While this was one of Biden’s first televised appearances as first lady, she has also made a point to settle into her national-grade hosting duties in Washington, notably welcoming National Guard members to the Capitol in January.

Biden’s appearance on the program was not the only draw. The stars were the 70 puppies, introduced via a starting lineup of touching backstories, who frolicked up and down the field.

The pups also competed prior to the field in a fan-driven tally of the year’s cutest player. 

The dog who won America’s vote for this year’s “Pupularity Playoffs” was Marshall, a 15-month-old Boston Terrier that hails from The Green Dogs Unleashed Organization in Troy, Virginia.

While Marshall was not on the winning team, he nevertheless prevailed as the annual show’s underdog. He scored Team Fluff’s first and second touchdowns and was given the biggest gift of all: the fan favorite.

Team Ruff triumphed over its challenger by a mere four points, wrapping up with a score of 73-69. 

But numbers are only superficial; the real winners were all the pups adopted before the show aired. Aside from those featured in the program, more kittens and puppies across the country appeared on Animal Planet’s website. Many are still up for adoption.

If you missed The Puppy Bowl, or wish to watch it again, Animal Planet has the program available for streaming. It is also accessible through the subscription service Discovery Plus.