Wyndmoor pup gets a ‘Super’ showing

by Len Lear
Posted 2/8/24

The Super Bowl is approaching, and we have an area resident competing for a championship.

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Wyndmoor pup gets a ‘Super’ showing


As most of us know from the nonstop publicity machine, the San Francisco 49ers and the Kansas City Chiefs will fight it out in the Super Bowl, Sunday, Feb. 11, in Las Vegas. But even though the Eagles were a bust late in the season, there will be another area resident competing for a championship on Super Bowl Sunday.

Linus, of Wyndmoor, a foxhound-beagle-pit bull-Alaskan malamute mix also known as Dave, will be taking the field as one of 131 players in the annual “Puppy Bowl,” a popular canine version of the big game aired annually on the cable network, Animal Planet.

The Puppy Bowl, which will be at 2 p.m. on Super Bowl Sunday, will feature more fluffy puppies than ever before. They will represent Team Ruff or Team Fluff, puppies who will make their way up and down a mini “football field” to score on turf chocked full of toys. Included in these fur-ocious teams are the all-time smallest pup, Sweetpea, at 1.7 pounds, and the biggest ever, Levi the Great Dane, at 70 pounds.

Linus, our Wyndmoor representative at Sunday’s big game, happens to have distinguished himself as more than just a player. He was one of four finalists in the Puppy Bowl’s popularity contest, the winner of which will be crowned “Most Pupular,” following a vote by visitors to the Puppy Bowl website.

Linus, however, will not walk away with that title. He was defeated in the contest’s semi finals by Fred, a terrier mix from Rancho Santa Fe, who will go up against Bark Purdy, a chihuahua mix from Sacramento, in an all-California final. The winner will be announced at 1 p.m. during the Puppy Bowl pregame show.

In addition to the ear pulls, tail tugs, sloppy kisses and puppy penalties, this feel-good sports competition will highlight the work of rescue and shelter workers who dedicate their lives to helping animals find their permanent homes.

Linus is one of 131 rescued puppies selected for the game from more than 75 shelters around the country. The Springfield Township pup represents the Ronnie Stanley Foundation in Baltimore, where Alicia Harantschuk, of Wyndmoor, discovered him. Her household includes not only Linus, a soon-to-be therapy dog, but also two mini dachshunds named Lola and Dillon and a coonhound named Liberty Belle.

“Over the years, I’ve taken dogs to nursing homes, assisted living facilities, schools and hospitals,” said Harantschuk, who has donated more than 600 volunteer hours to the Main Line Animal Rescue. “It's uplifting to show kindness, especially at the end of life. I have been with another dog, Vegas, and two people in hospice care the moment when they died. Supporting people through this very difficult time is super worthwhile.” 

Harantschuk adopted Linus last September from the foundation named for Ronnie Stanley, an offensive tackle for the Baltimore Ravens who founded the shelter and just missed a spot in the Super Bowl with his team’s loss to the Chiefs. Two other shelters previously cared for Linus – ‘Unchain America in Longmeadow, Massachusetts, and Renee's Rescue in Hockessin, Delaware - before Harantschuk found him in Baltimore.

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Harantschuk eventually moved to the East Coast where attended Delaware County Community College, lived in Mt. Airy for eight years and in Wyndmoor for the last 27. She has been married for 35 years. 

She has worked for Cloverlay, a small private equity firm in Conshohocken, and for the Morgan Stanley investment firm, but her passion for many years has been also working as a certified dog trainer and canine behaviorist. She is an American Kennel Club “Good Citizen Evaluator,” a certified “Fear-Free Professional” and served for 10 years as president of Comfort Caring Canines, which trains therapy dogs.

“I started pet therapy when my dad passed away 14 years ago,” said Harantschuk. “I didn't want to just cry. We both shared a love of animals. My tears cleared up when I started working in pet therapy … The Puppy Bowl Popularity Playoffs are a great way to let the public know about the need to adopt shelter dogs while sharing a great story of teamwork and dedication. Three rescue organizations played a part in Linus' journey before reaching my home, for example. In the few months I have had him, he has already earned six titles for good behavior and various tricks. He can be seen walking around Chestnut Hill and visiting Bone Appetite. He is kind, friendly and loves to learn.”

You can follow Linus, also known as Dave, on Instagram @raising_dave_the_hound. Harantschuk's website is doggonegooddogtraining.com. Len Lear can be reached at lenlear@chestnuthilllocal.com