Indiana’s Very Own: Rescue dog heads to Puppy Bowl XV

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – A small dog with a big attitude is headed to Puppy Bowl XV.

Pistachio was born with a liver shunt, a congenital defect. He had to get surgery to survive.

“It was pretty stressful at the beginning,” Dr. Tara Harris said. “But he recovered like a champ.”

Dr. Harris, who works at Riley Hospital for Children, helps run a dog rescue called Every Dog Counts. She promptly found Pistachio a foster home.

“He’s living the life now,” she laughed.

Christina Bellerdo already had other maltese dogs in her home. Pistachio was a natural fit.

“He is just a champ in every single way,” she said. “He is incredibly playful. We can spend hours at night playing fetch.”

Bellerdo decided instead of just fostering, she would adopt the four-pound, eight-month-old puppy. When Harris asked whether they would be willing to apply for the Puppy Bowl, Bellerdo couldn’t resist.

“I said, ‘Absolutely. Let’s do this,” she laughed.

Pistachio became a celebrity shortly after he was picked. He met with Indy Car driver Simon Pagenaud, Colts cheerleaders and Blue, and Governor Eric Holcomb’s dog, Henry.

“He loves to play and meet new people,” Harris said. “We’re really proud of him.”

Animal Planet taped the Puppy Bowl ahead of time.

“He did really well especially for being so small,” Bellerdo said. “He was doing puppy play for a majority of the filming. He played the entire time for his group.”

Bellerdo said Pistachio scored several touch downs.

“I’m hoping they’ll show those when it airs,” she told CBS4.

Alongside 92 other puppies, Pistachio played for Team Ruff. He is now a candidate for “MVP,” most valuable puppy.

Every Dog Counts will host a Puppy Bowl watch party at Metazoa Brewing Company Sunday, February 3rd. Pistachio plans to attend.

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