One Long Island puppy is living up to his famous name — on a field of his own.
Jeter Dutch, an 8½-month-old shepherd, pit bull and hound mix, will make his debut in the nationally televised “Puppy Bowl,” airing at 3 p.m. Feb. 7 on Animal Planet. He was recently adopted by a Bayport couple and named after their favorite baseball player, New York Yankees great Derek Jeter.
“Puppy Bowl” features a batch of puppies playing inside a model stadium with commentary on their moves.
The annual event is broadcast on Super Bowl Sunday and features rescue dogs or those available for adoption from agencies and shelters.
Originally named Coney Dutch, Jeter was starving and weighed only 2 pounds when his litter was rescued from an illegal breeder in Coney Island by Mr. Bones & Co., a Manhattan-based rescue group.
“I fostered Jeter from when we pulled him and the entire litter at about 3 weeks of age until he was adopted at 4 months,” says Elizabeth Frank, founder of the all-volunteer nonprofit. “I nursed him back to health after he was discharged from ICU and syringe-fed him. I was pretty attached to that little one.”
Frank was not alone in her attachment. Like his namesake, Jeter apparently has a way with the ladies. His adoptive parents, Frank Guiliano and Nicole Schuller of Bayport met Jeter at Macari Vineyards in Cutchogue on Labor Day weekend while he was with one of his foster families.
“He seemed to immediately fall in love with Nicole and the feeling was completely mutual,” says Guiliano, 29.
Schuller, a registered nurse at Huntington Hospital, says she found Jeter particularly loving, gentle and “amazingly handsome” — just like the former Yankees shortstop.
Guiliano, a mortgage consultant, wasted no time in attempting to strike a deal: He quickly asked Jeter’s foster parents if he could buy the dog.
“His foster parents kind of laughed at Frank and said, ‘Get in line,’ ” says Schuller, 25. “So we did.”
On their way home that evening, the couple filled out an application to adopt Jeter. Within days, their references were contacted by Mr. Bones & Co. Soon, Elizabeth Frank visited their house to see if they were a good fit for Jeter.
“When I met them for the initial meet-and-greet and home visit, the fact that their extended family was at their home, eagerly waiting to meet Jeter, spoke volumes,” says Frank, 38. “Their excitement and love for a puppy they had not yet met was genuine.”
Guiliano and Schuller were looking to adopt a “child” of the four-legged variety since moving into their 2,000-square-foot expanded Cape home last summer.
“We are both dog lovers and have been our whole lives,” Guiliano says. “We both grew up with chocolate Labrador retrievers as our family dogs and knew immediately when we bought our new home that we would want a dog to complete our family.”
Timing turned out to be on their side.
Unlike the famous shortstop, Long Island’s Jeter was not in the starting lineup for the “Puppy Bowl” — but Animal Planet staffers say he did shine in the prerecorded game.