HONOLULU (KHON2) — Hoku is an 8-month-old pup — one of seven Staffordshire Terrier puppies born at the Maui Humane Society in May 2021.

Marketing manager Katie Shannon became her foster parent soon after.

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“Hoku is very cuddly and she is extremely kind,” Shannon said, “she is just an unbelievable dog. You know, she didn’t want to be alone, she would wake up in the middle of the night just to make sure that we were there.”

So when Animal Planet asked for a Puppy Bowl candidate for 2022, Shannon already had a picture of Hoku in mind to send over.

“She’s got this cute white marking on her face and we just, we knew that that was going to be the pup that had to go, and that happened to be Hoku as well.”

Katie Shannon, Maui Humane Society marketing manager

Katie said, Hoku’s participation — aside from showcasing the aloha spirit — shines a spotlight on how stigmas around certain breeds can be broken.

“Pitbulls and Catahoulas don’t necessarily have the best reputation — that they’re aggressive or that they’re hunting dogs,” Shannon said. “And that is really the opposite of what Hoku is, she is this cuddle bug.”

Hoku did not have to wait long to find a permanent home. Shannon asked her own parents to adopt Hoku for good.

“I said, ‘this is a big decision, I want you to think about it,'” Shannon said. “My mom immediately said, ‘yes!’ And my dad said, ‘why not?'”

Shannon said the stars certainly aligned when Hoku found a home.

“As you know, Hoku means ‘star’ in Hawaiian, so she really is our Hawaiian star,” she said.

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The Puppy Bowl airs on the Animal Planet on Sunday, Feb. 13.