Georgia bulldog fans still smarting from Monday's national championship loss to Alabama can cheer on a new dog on Super Bowl Sunday.
Even if the Falcons fail to make the NFL's biggest game, Macon will have a dog to root for Feb. 4.
Juniper, a 7-month-old American bulldog mix who was likely conceived in Macon's Lynmore Estates neighborhood, has been drafted for the Animal Planet's Puppy Bowl.
The road to television stardom was a long one for Juniper, whose deadbeat dog daddy might still live in Middle Georgia, although the rest of the family has moved north.
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The black and white puppy who stars in advertisements for the canine contest is one of a litter of 10 that was born near Portland, Maine, to former Macon dog Annabelle, said Tracey Belew, acting manager of Macon-Bibb County Animal Welfare.
"We transported the mother dog to Portland and she had the puppies there," Belew said.
The Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland takes dogs from Bibb County's often-overflowing shelter.
Jeana Roth, of the Maine rescue group, said their organization fosters pets at local businesses where they live until they are adopted.
Juniper landed at the luxurious 5-star oceanfront resort Inn by Sea in Cape Elizabeth where she was treated to puppy massages and received the royal treatment.
Puppy Bowl organizers wanted to feature the rescue group's community outreach program and tapped Juniper for the contest that pits the Ruff Team against the Tuff Team.
"It's kind of a fun way to showcase how special they are," Roth said in a phone interview with The Telegraph.
In the Puppy Bowl, which airs on Animal Planet at 3 p.m. Feb. 4, the dogs must carry toys to the end zone to score in the contest now in its 14th year.
"It's more entertainment than it is a real competition," Roth said.
Juniper is on Team Ruff, but no matter who scores the most points she is already a winner.
Through the Animal Refuge League's efforts Juniper and her 9 siblings have been adopted, as well as mother Annabelle.
"She was a great dog," Roth said.