Andrew Blaskovich will long remember Super Bowl Sunday 2017, not for the championship football game, but for the Puppy Bowl at Sacramento’s Front Street Animal Shelter.
That’s where he met the girl of his dreams, a 4-month-old blue Great Dane puppy.
Blaskovich, owner of Drewski’s Hot Rod Kitchen food truck, lost his beloved blue Great Dane, Rex, in June 2015 when a burglar shot and killed the 2 1/2 -year-old dog at Blaskovich’s house while he was at work.
“After I lost Rex, I searched high and low for another blue Great Dane,” Blaskovich said. He kept checking Facebook and Instagram, but nobody seemed to be breeding them. Finally he found a breeder in Ontario, Canada, but importing a dog from outside the country would have required placing the animal in quarantine.
The Front Street Animal Shelter, which had held an adoption event in memory of Rex, invited Blaskovich to Sunday’s Puppy Bowl, in which puppies predict the outcome of the Super Bowl. Food bowls are inscribed with the names of competing teams and the team whose bowl attracts the most puppies is the projected winner.
“My eye went to the blue Great Dane,” Blaskovich said, but he had been told the woman who fostered the female pup wanted to keep her.
When the Puppy Bowl was over, Blaskovich said, Bobby Mann, the shelter’s public relations coordinator, asked him to stick around. Then, with a Fox40 TV news camera trained on his face, Blaskovich was presented with the puppy.
Mann said Blaskovich is a longtime supporter of the Front Street shelter, providing resources for many of its adoption events and fostering animals.
“Over the past couple of years, I knew he had been looking for another blue Great Dane, which are typically rare,” Mann said.
Two months ago, a blue Great Dane puppy was brought to the shelter as a stray. She had an injured leg and was placed in foster care. Mann said he hadn’t wanted to get Blaskovich’s hopes up in case an owner came forward to claim the dog or it was determined the pup had a permanent injury. In the meantime, he said, Amanda Connors, who was providing foster care, fell in love with the pup and wanted to adopt it.
But Mann said she also knew of Blaskovich’s loss of Rex, so she and Mann decided to invite Blaskovich to the Puppy Bowl and surprise him with the dog.
Blaskovich said he was overwhelmed and delighted.
“She looks just like Rex,” he said in a telephone interview Monday. The pup had just been to the groomer and was sleeping on the seat in his truck, he said. “She has a little different temperament. Rex was a wild child, and she is super, super mellow.”
Blaskovich said the puppy had recovered well from her injury.
He was still mulling over possible names Monday, but was leaning toward Misty.
“She’s blue like the ocean mist ... and she got me misty-eyed,” he said. “I’m very grateful and blessed to have this gift.”
As for the Puppy Bowl, Blaskovich said, the pups were right for about 95 percent of the game, but they failed to foresee the stunning finale. They picked the Falcons over the Patriots.