Abandoned puppy shoots to 'Bowl' fame

It's a rescue dog’s dream come true.

Keno, a 6-month-old smart and spunky wire-hair terrier, was left abandoned in a box with his brother at the Nevada animal shelter in Las Vegas.

“It was beautiful. As soon as we opened the box, we knew these guys were the ones,” said Kathy Jung, Nevada S.P.C.A president

Jung and the shelter volunteers placed Keno and his brother in a temporary foster home, but they also sent in applications for Keno to appear in the popular “Puppy Bowl” on Animal Planet.

After rounds of interviews, Keno won a spot on the show.

“It’s like a little Cinderella story,” said Jung.

Keno’s caretakers say he might have a competitive advantage on the field because not only was he raised with another dog and another cat, but also with a potbelly pig.

“They actually had pigs and goats and rabbits so that made him play well with others,” Jung said.

The Puppy Bowl is a win-win game. All the dogs selected are rescue animals that will most likely be adopted after they appear.

Shelter volunteers say that’s why Keno’s tale is a feel-good story. But it’s also a reminder of the darker side of animal neglect.

“With the economy we had a lot of people that were abandoning their dogs, a lot of neglect cases,” said volunteer Claire Ramsey. “I leave here feeling like I just had the best day and chills -- or I drive home crying.”

Dozens of other animals in the shelter still need a home, but volunteers say Keno’s story can ultimately serve as a reminder that shelter animals come in all shapes and sizes, including white, fuzzy and friendly.

“It shows that homelessness doesn’t discriminate,” Jung said “There’s some great, great dogs in the animal shelters all over the country.”

The annual “Puppy Bowl” airs this Sunday, Feb. 1, on Animal Planet.