Rescued local pup set for Puppy Bowl XI star turn

Sworn to secrecy, Kathy Jung got the green light to share the news on Tuesday: The Nevada Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has hit the jackpot with an adorable white mixed terrier puppy named Keno.

For the first time, Las Vegas will have one of its own in Animal Planet’s two-hour Puppy Bowl XI on Feb. 1, Super Bowl Sunday.

“It’s a Cinderella story for this little guy,” said Jung, president of the NSPCA since 2010.

Jung was working at the shelter, 4800 W. Dewey Drive, on a Saturday in September when a “belligerent” man walked in holding a small box.

“He said something like, ‘If you don’t take these I’m going to throw ’em away.’ We didn’t even know what was in the box,” Jung said.

Inside the box were “these two little faces,” she said.

Their arrival came about four days before the deadline to send in video.

“The puppy gods sent him to us,” Jung said, explaining that she was informed in July that the NSPCA was invited for the first time to send in a video.

Shelter dogs were invited to the Puppy Bowl for the first time last year.

An audition video of the two puppies was sent to Animal Planet in September. “We had to give him a Las Vegas-appropriate name,” Jung said.

A couple weeks later, Jung was informed the selection panel was keen on Keno, who beat some big odds. Only 55 puppies were chosen among hundreds of candidates.

“He arrived in a box, and now he’s going to be on national television February first. (The show will air at noon on the West Coast.)

As Keno’s escort, Jung was treated to a memorable perk: “It was my very first trip to New York City, and I got to play with the 55 puppies.”

A record 13.5 million viewers watched Puppy Bowl X, she said. “I have watched every single, solitary one.”

Jung has every confidence that Keno’s personality will stand out.

“He was brought up with my dogs, Reese, a miniature Pinscher and Skinner, a poodle. Keno loves playmates. All he wants to do is kiss and play.”

Keno has a little Kardashian in him.

“If you pull out a camera, he will stop and pose,” Jung said.

THE SCENE AND HEARD

The Page Six column of the New York Post is reporting Mariah Carey is finalizing a headliner deal that would put her in the Colosseum at Caesars Palace for more money and more dates than Britney Spears’ two-year contract. Less money and fewer dates is what I’m hearing. Word is Carey leaped at this deal after a recent run of negative headlines. …

There has been a shake-up at Light nightclub, the Cirque du Soleil-inspired experiment at Mandalay Bay. About two dozen Cirque employees, including creative director, acrobats and artists, were laid off recently. The move comes less than a month after nightlife giant Hakkasan Group purchased controlling interest of The Light Group for $36 million. The partnership with Cirque will continue, I’m told, but in “a new direction.” …

KXMB radio host Mercedes Martinez, in a Facebook post on Tuesday, revealed a few more details on what went down leading up to the departure of her longtime on-air partner Mark DiCiero. She wrote: “CBS Radio met with me when we knew Mark was exiting and said they want to do something that very few stations in the country do and this is to have a female led morning show.” She and J.C. Fernandez, the show’s producer for a decade, kicked off their show Monday on The Mix 94.1.

SIGHTINGS

Actress Amy Adams, with her family at Delano (Mandalay Bay) over the weekend. She was in town for Justin Timberlake’s concert at the MGM Grand. … Shaquille O’Neal, with girlfriend Laticia Rolle at the Jabbawockeez (Luxor) on Monday. Also there was Adrien Brody, with girlfriend Lara Lieto, celebrating her birthday. … Renee Graziano of VH1’s “Mob Wives” reality show, dining at N9ne Steakhouse (Palms) on Sunday.

THE PUNCH LINE

“Russia has named Vladimir Putin its man of the year for the 15th year in a row. Putin got 143 million votes, and the guy he was up against got killed in a mysterious boating accident. The boat was in a warehouse.” — Conan O’Brien

Norm Clarke’s column appears Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday. He can be reached at 702-383-0244 or email him at norm@reviewjournal.com. Find more online at www.normclarke.com. Follow Norm on Twitter @Norm_Clarke.

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