A School Is Training Its New Team Mascot. It’s a Puppy.

Mar 16, 2020 · 41 comments
Scott (Arlington, VA)
It's unfortunate that they're supporting breeding unhealthy animals by getting a bulldog from a breeder. If you want a bulldog, adopt one that needs a home. If you want to get a dog from a breeder, start your search with breeds that are bred for good health rather than looks.
Alys (Montana)
Such a cute piece, I've always loved seeing Butler's mascots!
Paulie (Earth)
With the number of dogs living short, brutal lives on the street or being killed by animal control, the idea of dog breeders is disgusting. Every dog ( and cat) I’ve had the pleasure to live with in my 64 years has been a stray. Only one, a Great Pyrenees, was from a rescue group. Yes there are purebred dogs that were abandoned and I’m sure there’s a rescue group that specializes in Bull Dogs. You want a truly great dog, get one that has experienced the cruelty of irresponsible humans, they are forever grateful for their salvation. Currently I have a purebred Great Pyrenees, a purebred Yorkie, a purebred German shorthair pointer, a Pit mix and three cats. Yes, they’re purebred, they’ve had DNA testing.
Miss Dovey (Oregon Coast)
I love dogs, and all puppies are irresistible, but this is a breed that has been bred into all sorts of genetic problems. Their short little snouts make it hard for them to breathe and to regulate their body temperature. Those cute little skin folds frequently become infected if not properly cleaned each day. Most are born via Caesarean section because their big heads make it hard for the female to deliver her puppies naturally. They have one of the highest rates (up to 80%) of hips dysplasia of all the breeds. Give me a good old mutt any day! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bulldog
Jonathan (Clinton, NJ)
Since the 19th century, bulldogs have been bred for looks but suffer skeletal and breathing problems. It is unethical to bred these dogs. I think they are cute too--but they suffer unnecessarily. This is a really poor example that the university is teaching its students--all's fine when you exploit a helpless creature.
Astrid (Canada)
Blue is likely doing his very best to oblige his human masters - and he's probably stressed. I feel bad for him.
Paulie (Earth)
Dogs are not props.
charlie (CT)
Dogs have been domesticated for thousands of years. So okay. But what about a more unusual mascot like LSU's tiger? What can it feel as it's dragged into a stadium in a cage with thousands and thousands of screaming fans? And this happens at a university?
gailweis (new jersey)
I'm sure they could have found a dog in a shelter who would meet their needs. And they could have saved a life.
Kelly (MD)
Institutional brand.....blech. The use of the marketing term "brand" seems to infiltrate every aspects of our lives now - personal and professional. That skirt you are wearing is "on brand" and Meghan and Harry must remove the term Royal from their "brand" etc. It all seems so genuine and forced. I really hope Blue is a happy dog representing his "brand".
sjs (Bridgeport, CT)
I really, really need a nice story about a nice dog right about now.
Chicago Guy (Chicago, Il)
Carol Wood (Sarasota)
Sad. What dog would choose this life. Put a college kid in a dog suit and end this abusive practice. The circuses did.
Kris (Valencia, Spain)
Poor thing... he's so cute... and so terrified...
Heather (H)
Can you please share at least one uber cute/happy story like this on the front page every day? We need it in these times!
DJ (Washington D C)
If animals are to be used for people’s entertainment, at least learn how to hold them. That picture of that poor dog dangling is horrid.
Carrie (Pittsburgh PA)
Is this dog going to be paraded, abused and forced to do all sort of stupid, scary, confusing, stressful things? Shame on this university. Get a stuffed toy instead.
DC (New York, NY)
Animals are not here to entertain us.
mormor (USA)
Puppies can give us a sweet snuffle in this time of social distancing.
Hootin Annie (Planet Earth)
Cool! We are also training our mascot, although he is no longer a puppy and has been on the job for three years, he still is learning. He sometimes misbehaves in public and can't sit still and focus and sometimes leaves messes behind him. Hopefully with more training and tough love, President Trump will make us proud!
Mary Owens (Boston MA)
@Hootin Annie Didn't see this one coming! I was wondering what dopey breed of dog couldn't be trained in 3 years on the job...oh. Thanks for the laugh.
Marge Keller (Midwest)
A very cool article. But it's the pictures, especially the one where "Krauss and his wife, Kennedy, visited Blue in Greenwood, Ind." that made me smiled and melted my heart. He just LOVES being scratched under his chin. Simply adorable and sweet photos. Thanks Alan Blinder for a fun, cute, and positive story, especially now. The distraction sure helps, if even for only a few moments. I need all the breaks, pauses, and distractions from what's going on that I can get.
Joel (NYC)
So sad to use animals this way. It's hard to believe that in 2020, they would still support bulldog breeding. The health issues of bulldogs are well documented. They had an opportunity to do the right thing, but they didn't.
Silia Sequeira (Oregon)
Oh just shush it!!
Robyn (Houston)
I have no skin in the game, but there are plenty of healthy bulldogs out there (and a large FB group devoted to just that, to name one example). It’s tarring all bulldogs with the same tired brush to say they’re categorically unsound. Just like any other major life decision, the one to get a dog—any dog—should be researched carefully. People who make impulse purchases from poor breeders (or sketchy “rescues”) tend to regret it. Plenty of good breeders are out there and worth finding and waiting for.
Shannon (MN)
Makes me think of the beloved tradition of Handsome Dan (the OG university bulldog). I loved seeing him around campus and he always seemed to be enjoying himself.
Costello (Fairfax VA)
@Shannon Thanks. The original Handsome Dan was from 1889 and the current Handsome Dan is number XVIII. The training certainly is as robust and videos of him playing on the field show he is a very happy dog. Let's hope Butler can keep this great tradition from number 4 that far into the future.
April Nowak (Denver, Colorado)
When will we stop supporting live animal mascots? From tigers, to falcons, to dogs, it is absurd. We hear about rival schools stealing mascots. A human can wear a costume to get fans excited. We have wild and sometimes endangered animals on sports fields for no reason.
Costello (Fairfax VA)
@April Nowak Dogs are already so attuned to people that it is not like talking about wolves or other live canines. They are an integral part of our society and wouldn't have it any other way.
Jeri P (California)
@April Nowak I wonder if there will ever be a time when we become civilized and no longer use animals for our amusement and entertainment.
Kevbo (CA)
@April Nowak This dog will be more pampered and loved than the majority of humans.
Susan (Eastern WA)
The local high school mascot is also the bulldog, and one time, when my kids were young, they had a live mascot. He was a great pup who appeared at all the games, although I don't think he stayed to watch. He even learned to skateboard across the gym floor.
Rich B (Nashville)
Can someone explain why a canine-allergic individual who had never had a dog is selected as the handler? Based on the picture it looks like he's learned how to pick up a dog from Disney's Lion King and not from any reputable trainer. Sorry, but that doesn't look like an especially happy dog to me...
Amy (Ohio)
@Rich B Agreed. As a former dog trainer who also used to handle Bulldogs in the show ring, it is INSANE that a dog-allergic, first-time dog owner is the handler...and the stress is clear on that puppy's face as he's held aloft like Simba. A lot of poor choices, all around, by this university.
Jeri P (California)
@Rich B My thinking exactly. Whose bright idea was it to hire this guy? I kept reading on for an explanation but there was none. I know to many it may sound silly, but if this handler is allergic to dogs yet training one anyway, how much up close and personal attention does this puppy get from him. If the handler was competent, he wouldn't need to put poor Blue in school for so many hours per day (and night too! ) He could teach him everything he needs to know himself. A puppy needs to spend time with it's human family, while being trained. I wonder how much "cuddle time" he gets with his canine allergic handler.
Lycurgus (Edwardsville)
It’s a dog. It can be trained to behave. Humans are less reliable.
Shiv (New York)
I write this comment as our beloved bulldog nuzzles up to me hearing my coos about Blue. My experience is that bulldogs get used early to a lot of attention. I can’t walk my dog without being stopped by people wanting to pet him, and he almost always indulges them. When it gets too much, both he and I avoid making eye contact with people so as to avoid being stopped by someone who wants to meet him. Like humans, dogs have distinctive personalities, but most bulldogs I’ve met have been sweet tempered gentle souls. And that seems to be why they attract so much attention. People don’t expect gentleness, friendliness and ludicrous amounts of charm from dogs that look tough and forbidding.
ms (ca)
@Shiv My neighbor's bulldog looks aggressive but is the most mellow dog I have ever encountered. More people know him from his walks around the neighborhood than know his owner.
worldaccord (oxford)
@Shiv It doesn't help that they're freakishly adorable :)
Emily (Indianapolis)
Mr. Blinder may not have fully understood the humor behind the name of Blue's training school, Bark Tutor. The most exclusive private schoool in Indianapolis is Park Tudor. I'm glad they chose the best for Blue!
Miss Dovey (Oregon Coast)
@Emily Thanks for that insight! I never would have guessed ;-)
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