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Rutland pooch-celebrity featured in ‘Puppy Bowl’

Published: Feb. 5, 2021 at 3:33 PM EST
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MANCHESTER, Vt. (WCAX) - While football players are competing for a trophy on Sunday, some pups will be vying for your heart at home. The “Puppy Bowl” is an annual televised tradition, and this year there’s a pup from Vermont. Olivia Lyons introduces us to Rutland County’s very own, Stitch.

“We hadn’t really thought too much about it -- that a puppy was missing from our life -- but it turns out that was exactly what was missing from our life,” said Oliver Levis, who along with his wife, Bonnie, adopted Stitch.

Stitch is a member of team Levis at home, and Team Ruff in this year’s ”Puppy Bowl.” This is the first year his new family will be watching the annual event that’s shown on Super Bowl Sunday. “We are going to watch the “Puppy Bowl.” We are rooting for Stitch and his teammates,” Levis said. “It’s funny that we have a celebrity dog.”

Stitch arrived at the Rutland County Humane Society from Tennessee as a 12-week-old stray this past summer. “Once we decided that Stitch was the puppy that was going to be the one, then we wanted to make sure that he was still our puppy throughout the whole process, so we put him in foster care,” said the RCHS’ Beth Saradarian.

The Wilburton Inn in Manchester was actually where part of the “Puppy Bowl” was filmed and where Stitch’s new family heard about him. “I got a call from my brother who said there is an awesome dog here that’s being filmed for this thing and you should come meet him,” Levis said.

His family owns the Inn so they visited during filming and talked to Saradarian to see about adopting Stitch as soon as the Puppy Bowl shoot was over. “It was kind of meant to be from there,” Saradarian said. “It was kind of neat to know that he’s still part of the inn’s family and we can stay in touch with them over his lifetime.”

“We are having a good time having a puppy in our life and he’s a great time. We’ve had him a couple of months and he’s already doubled in size and he’s super sweet,” Levis said.

Because of COVID, the humane society can’t have a large viewing party, but Saradarian says it brings awareness to shelters across the country and she would take part in the event again. “I think there’s a lot of really good that can come from all of this, but most important is Stitch gets a home and he’s doing great,” she said.

That home is a farm with Bonnie, Oliver, and their four kids. “Harvesting spinach with him once was not the best, but I think we need to get him comfortable in greenhouses and such,” Bonnie said.

“He’s found some sort of carcass in the woods and he brings back deer bones and hides them places. It’s like a dog’s dream,” Levis said.

You can cheer on Vermont’s canine celebrity this Sunday at 2 p.m. on Animal Planet.

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