March Madness seeks the 'Final Fur' at the Helen Woodward Center
11:39 AM, Thursday, March 22
When it Comes to Adoptions, Going Home First = Victory!

Sports fans may have too much basketball-on-the-brain to realize that National Puppy Day is this Friday, March 23rd, but the Adoptions Department at Helen Woodward Animal Center has found a sports-worthy way to celebrate both! Adorable and available puppies bear the names of the Final Sixteen Team Mascots and will go head-to-head to find out who goes home first. Helen Woodward Facebook followers can even vote in cuteness one-on-one match-ups that guarantee to be more challenging than any seen throughout college sports arenas in the upcoming week. Here are our tips and predictions for the games ahead.

“With his size alone, ‘Wildcat’ has to be the single-most dominant player in the Center,” said Shannon Bush, Customer Service Lead in Helen Woodward’s Adoption Department. “But I wouldn’t count ‘Gator’ out. He’s far from a powerhouse, but his puppy-face defense has the potential to set Wildcat back on his heels if he doesn’t keep his guard up.”

Bruce Kerschner, Adoption Service Manager, has his sights set on ‘Hoosier.’ “I’ve seen the reaction of Center visitors when ‘Hoosier’ steps it up and dons his A-Game. He’s an awe-inspiring player and he’s going to be hard to beat.”

Be that as it may, Rob Kuty - the official animal trainer at the Helen Woodward Animal Center - is less certain about the final results. “Hoosier will have to be on the lookout for my picks. I think that ‘Buckeye,’ ‘Spartan,’ ‘Cardinal’ and ‘Golden Eagle’ all have the skill set to blow the game wide open,” said Kuty. “I’ve worked with each one of these pups and I wouldn’t discount the impact of any of them in an upcoming match.

Ricki Douglas, of Ricki Douglas Photography, was on-hand to take the puppies’ game-ready profile photos. “I just can’t pick,” stated Douglas. “Today I’ve fallen pretty deeply in love with Bearcat and Tarheel, but they’re all so adorable I can’t imagine how you could choose. The truth is, in the cuteness department, each one of these puppies is a slam-dunk.”

The March Madness Puppies are raring to go and hoping for a championship-win that will take them home. Check them out on Helen Woodward Animal Center’s Facebook page and log in your vote for the first one home. (One lucky participant will be selected to win a free over-night stay at Club Pet.) And no matter how the voting results come in, adopting any one of these “final sixteen” will be a very sweet victory indeed.

If you are interested in adopting, would like to make a donation, or would like more information, please contact Helen Woodward Animal Center Adoption Department at: 858-756-4117 ext. 313, visit or stop by at 6461 El Apajo Road in Rancho Santa Fe.

About Helen Woodward Animal Center

Helen Woodward Animal Center is a private, non-profit organization where “people help animals and animals help people.” Founded in 1972 in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., the Center provides services for more than 57,000 people and thousands of animals annually through adoptions, educational and therapeutic programs both onsite and throughout the community. Helen Woodward Animal Center is also the creator of the international Home 4 the Holidays pet adoption drive and the Animal Center Education Services program, teaching the business of saving lives to animal welfare leaders from around the world.

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