Family learns 'tenacious' Virginia rescue puppy's awesome secret: 'We had no idea'

Owner: 'She is just so tenacious and what she wants she will work for. We’re just excited to see how well she did.'
Flea Flicker Puppy Bowl
Posted at 5:03 PM, Feb 09, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-09 21:49:28-05

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. -- When a Virginia Beach woman and her mother adopted a shelter dog in the fall, they had no idea their pup had competed in this year's Puppy Bowl.

Wrigley, a mini-pin Chihuahua mix formerly known as Flea Flicker during her time at the Southside SPCA, was one of several dogs found abandoned in a box in Farmville.


The family fell in love with Flea Flicker through a connection to rural Central Virginia’s Southside SPCA.

"She kept saying, 'She’s such a special dog, she is such a special dog. Trust us,'” Ireland Miller recalled.

The family soon learned their now 9-month-old pup was picked, along with 129 other shelter dogs around the country, to compete in Animal Planet’s annual event.

Southside SPCA’s own Flea Flicker
Flea Flicker

The competition, which was recorded in the fall, is a chance for pups to compete for the Lombarky Trophy while also calling attention to the need for shelter adoptions nationwide.

“We had no idea what any of that meant," Miller said. "We said, 'That’s cool.' And now all of this is coming to fruition.”

Francee Schuma, assistant director at the Southside SPCA, found Flea Flicker abandoned in a box in Farmville.

Southside SPCA’s own Flea Flicker
Flea Flicker

So when Schuma got the call from Animal Planet to select a pup, she knew Flea Flicker would be perfect to compete.

"She was a true abandoned and rescue story and we are proud she is the one to represent us,” Schuma said.

As a result, Flea Flicker then went through rigorous training with a volunteer from the Southside SPCA to prep for the big game.

“We did nothing but throw toys up and down the hallway and try to get her used to being out and about,” Schuma recalled.

Southside SPCA Assistant Director Francee Schuma
Southside SPCA Assistant Director Francee Schuma

Happy with the pup's pregame performance, Schuma drove to upstate New York and said they spent a full day filming for the Puppy Bowl.

“I can’t divulge any of the results, but I was very proud of her,” Schuma said. “Flea Flicker is definitely a personality, so I want you to notice her and how she gets all up in with the referee.”

Additionally, Schuma said the publicity has led to a "great uptick in adoptions which we are completely thrilled about.”

Southside SPCA’s own Flea Flicker
Flea Flicker

While her family doesn’t know how she performed, they are ready to root her on in Richmond at a watch party with Southside SPCA at O'Toole's Restaurant & Pub in Midlothian Sunday at 2 p.m.

Miller is excited to see her pup compete.

"She is just so tenacious and what she wants she will work for," Miller said. "We’re just excited to see how well she did and see if she can get highlighted in some highlights.”

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Southside SPCA Flea Flicker

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