You might be glued to Dancing with the Stars and America’s Got Talent, but did you watch the best reality show of the year? The American Rescue Dog Show premiered on Wednesday May 25 on ABC and featured rescue dogs doing what they do best – being adorable.
In the two-hour special, rescued dogs from across the country compete in seven categories including Best in Underbite (for dogs who rock that crooked smile), Best in Snoring, Best in Belly Rubs, Couch Potato, Ears, Fetching, Talking.
They’re not playing for cookies, either – the winner of each category gets a $10,000 donation to a local animal welfare organization. Each of the seven winners then vie to become Best in Rescue with an additional $100,000 donation being made in their honor.
Created as a celebration of shelter dogs and the joy they give us, the event was hosted by actor Rob Riggle and sports commentator Joe Tessitore. Dog-loving celebrity judges were Paula Abdul, Lesley Jordan and Yvette Nicole Brown, who had their work cut out choosing between the 50 or so adorable puppers.
- National Rescue Dog Day 2022: What is it and how can you make a difference?
- Are rescue dogs free? 8 useful things to know
The 2022 winner was Pit Bull Capone, who took the top spot for doing what he does best – snoring! Capone, whose donation will go to the San Diego Humane Society, charmed the judges with his friendly personality and ability to snooze.
The show is the brainchild of executive producer Michael Levitt, who was particularly delighted by Capone’s victory. Levitt has three Pit Bull mix pups of his own and says that Capone, who started out living on the streets, is a champion for the breed. Pit Bulls are often overlooked in shelters due to their undeserved bad reputation.
Levitt created the show to help raise the profile of animal shelters across the US and encourage people to adopt rather than buy their next pet. “This show is perfect to watch with your entire family,” he said. It will make you laugh, it'll make you cry in the most beautiful way and it'll warm your heart.”
When the winner was announced, viewers saw Capone looking up in surprise then wagging his tail fit to bust as he was led to the podium by his delighted owner. Well done Capone – we do love a good tail of success!
You can catch up on the show by streaming on demand with Hulu or watch the trailer below.
Get the best advice, tips and top tech for your beloved Pets
Sara is a freelance journalist and copywriter of many years’ experience with a lifelong love of animals. She’s written for a range of magazines and websites on subjects varying from pet care to travel. A horse rider since the age of five, she’s currently a full time pet slave to horse Blue and gorgeous, goofy English Springer Spaniel Olly. Adorable Olly has a huge sense of adventure and no sense of direction, keeping Sara on her toes.