On Sunday, people walking through Times Square and around the Santa Monica Pier were treated to a surprise: a gaggle of adorable, adoptable puppies!
The puppies were part of Hallmark Channel’s “Adoption Ever After” events in New York and California. These adoption events were made possible thanks to partnerships with shelters and rescue animal organizations from across the country, including North Shore Animal League America, AdoptAPet.com and Paw Works.
Rashad Jennings, former NFL running back and host of Hallmark’s Project Christmas Joy show, greeted passersby at the California event.
Jennings shares a special bond with his dog, Loopy.
“He has licked tears out of my eyes,” Jennings tells PEOPLE. “He was with me when I went through a hard break-up in a relationship. I was in a transition in the NFL, I was going through some times and my dog was right there beside me the entire time.”
He continues: “I personally know the benefits of having a forever-loving dog in the house, because they’re forgetful. I love dogs because they are forgetful, as long as they are potty-trained, but you leave the room and then you come back and every time that they greet you it is like it is the first time that they met you in forever, like, ‘Where have you been, my long lost friend?!’ “
“I just walked by and it was meant to be, it was meant to be for her to adopt her,” Elena Perez, who adopted a Lab mix at the New York event — where 2020 American Rescue Dog co-host Rodney Peete also stopped by — shares in the “Adoption Ever After” event video above.
On Feb. 16 and 17, the Hallmark Channel aired their 2020 American Rescue Dog Show presented by Pedigree. This is the third year that the Hallmark Channel has hosted their dog show that focuses on pooches adopted from rescues and shelters across the country.
Dogs compete for quirky titles including “Best in Snoring” and “Best in Wrinkles.”
The network’s current pet programming, including the 2020 American Rescue Dog Show, Hallmark Channel’s Tails of Joy, and their annual Kitten Bowl, has encouraged more than 40,000 pet adoptions since 2014.
Reporting by REAGAN ALEXANDER