Terrors on the gridiron: Puppy Bowl VIII set for Sunday

While sports fanatics gear up for another ho-hum Super Bowl Sunday, animal lovers will be hunkered down with their pet pals, Milk Bones and dip, for the clash of tiny terrors in "Puppy Bowl VIII" scrambling to your TV screen on Animal Planet this Sunday.

And a Philadelphia pup gets a cameo role in the big smack down.

Josh Baskin, a Jack Russell mix, was dumped along with his litter mates at the city's Animal Control and Care Team facility last August. They were just six or seven weeks old and not yet weaned. The shelter turned them over to Street Tails Animal Rescue, a rescue for special needs dogs, who put them in a foster home together where they could be bottle fed. 

Eight weeks later Josh - named for the Tom Hanks character in "Big' because he was so little - was selected from hundreds of rescue puppies whose head shots were submitted in response to a national casting call on Petfinder.

In October Josh and owner Pat Bigley headed to New York for the filming of Puppy Bowl VIII (you know you've arrived when an anti-Puppy Bowl screed crops up. See Puppy Bowl is a Fraud on SBNation.)

Pat says Josh did great with the opening "tunnel" shot, but was thrown off the field early for, shall we say, showing the competition a little too much love. Pat says he was getting too cozy with the other puppies because he was bored and she said she was sorry he missed out on minutes on the field. "He's a great receiver and could have stolen the ball from anyone," Pat said.

Josh recovered though and was picked by the MC for a sideline interview. He may turn up on a potential opener to the Puppy Bowl too. Pat isn't sure what will make the editing room cuts.

But Josh's celebrity career didn't end with the Puppy Bowl whistle. He was picked by sponsor Subura for an ad that will run during the Puppy Bowl. Pat says: He was great at that filming and bacame the "go to ' guy during the filming - he actually would cry when he was not on set

Read the full story of Josh's Big Apple star turn on Street Tails website here.

Street Tails was founded in 2002 by Lindsay Condefer, owner of Chic Petique in Northern Liberties. The rescue focuses on dogs with medical issues or other special needs.  In December, Street Tails opened an adoption center across from the Chic Petique.  It also runs "Thrift for Tails," a second hand boutique with all proceeds going to the rescue.