2 puppies in training to be Citadel mascots
Baby bulldogs G2 and Boo X are learning it’s doggone tough to be a Citadel mascot, but the job comes with a lot of puppy love.
The pups are in training to take over as The Citadel’s new mascots. They live on the military college’s campus with Assistant Athletic Director Mike Groshon and the current mascots General and Boo IX. Both of the older dogs are about 10 years old, which is quite old for bulldogs, and they need to slow down a bit.
G2, short for General II, is 16 weeks old and Boo X, the first female mascot since the 1940s, is just 10 weeks old, Groshon said. The puppies will take over as official mascots at the school’s parade Nov. 15, but the college hasn’t yet decided how it will celebrate the event.
The puppies cost about $3,000 each, Groshon said, because they come from excellent lines. But all of the money to purchase and care for them comes from private sources. G2, is related to the older General, and both of them are related to the University of Georgia’s mascot, Uga. Boo X is related to Boo IX.
Groshon is training the puppies to ride in a golf cart, and he gets them out among people as often as possible so they can get comfortable being touched and petted by many hands at the same time. He’s teaching them not to jump so they won’t knock down little children. And he soon will begin to expose them to the sound of cannon fire, so they aren’t startled by it at Citadel parades.
Bulldogs, by nature, are very friendly, “but when it comes to being a mascot, they have to be extra friendly,” Groshon said. “The main thing for a mascot is being able to work with the public. They need to know everyone is a friend.”
Current mascots General and Boo IX still will live on campus, Groshon said, and they will attend Citadel events every once in a while, but they need to slow down. General struggles with arthritis, although his medication is working well to alleviate the pain, and Boo IX has lost about half of his hearing and eyesight.
The school needs two mascots, Groshon, said because it’s a two-dog job.
The dogs attend football games, special events, some alumni funerals and are involved in charitable fundraising events.
College spokeswoman Denise Ugast said the puppies have been on campus only a few weeks but already they have become a morale booster. And they will get even more attention when cadets return to campus in August, she said. “Cadets always like the dogs,” she said, “it’s their pet away from home.”
Groshon said the bulldog has been The Citadel’s mascot since 1908. And the school got its first live mascot, which was named Mike, in 1928. Mike, however, had an individual owner and didn’t live on campus.
Current mascots General and Boo IX are the first to be owned by the school, he said. The new puppies mark the second generation of school-owned mascots.
Ugast said the new generation is just about ready to step into the job. “We’re getting them ready to participate and be active.”
Reach Diane Knich at 937-5491 or on Twitter @dianeknich.