Mascot-in-Training J.J. Out at Georgetown; Volunteers to Step In

Jack the Bulldog's handler, Rev. Christopher Steck, S.J., welcomed J.J. to Georgetown in April 2012.
Photo Courtesy of Georgetown University
Jack the Bulldog's handler, Rev. Christopher Steck, S.J., welcomed J.J. to Georgetown in April 2012.

Georgetown University's mascot bulldog will not return for the fall semester, the school announced July 31. The unexpected news surprised students and campus observers and was the talk of the town during these dog days of summer.

After 15 months, mascot-in-training Jack, Jr., is out as the live bulldog to represent Hoya mania at sports and other events. It appears that the young J.J. could not put up with large crowds and loud noises. J.J. was to succeed Jack the Bulldog, who still lives on the main campus and who underwent surgery for a torn ACL. Jack retired in March.

Students were upset about the sudden nature of J.J.'s departure and not being consulted on the decision.

“I did not see this coming,” Neve Schadler, head of the Jack Crew, told the student newspaper, the Hoya. “If a student were to have been consulted, it would have been me. If it’s specifically about J.J., I’m not sure why this is happening.” Schadler has cared for J.J. since the dog showed up on campus in April 2012 as a gift from Janice and Marcus Hochstetler, whose children attend the university.

J.J. lived with the older bulldog Jack and Rev. Christopher Steck, S.J., in New South dormitory. Steck did not comment to the campus media on J.J.'s departure.

With J.J. gone and Jack retired, the university will have no live bulldog as its mascot when school starts within a month. Nevertheless, already some Georgetown residents are happy to assist with any substitutions.

One such neighbor is Thomas Gerber, who has owned bulldogs and previously subbed his dog for the mascot a few years ago. Gerber said his bulldog Reuben is up to the task and happy to help with any events. "Reuben is a calm, people dog," he said.

Here is Georgetown University's statement on the matter from spokesperson Rachel Pugh:

In April of 2012, our community welcomed Jack, Jr. (J.J.) to Georgetown as mascot-in-training. We housed the young puppy while consulting with trainers and experts to ensure that he was adjusting to life on campus.

Since that time, J.J.’s caretaker and walkers have worked to orient him to campus and train him for mascot duties. We also worked with professional trainers to help J.J. learn about life on a busy college campus. Recognizing that the lifestyle of a mascot is exciting and hectic, involving many people, thousands of screaming fans, and regular appearances at events both on and off-campus, we wanted to ensure that our puppy would be happy with this unique lifestyle.

After 15 months of monitoring and training, in consultation with these experts and the breeder, we determined that returning to a home environment is what is best for J.J.

We cannot express enough our gratitude to the Hochstetler family for their gift to our community. We are also grateful to Rev. Christopher Steck, S.J., and the Jack Crew for providing care and training for J.J. and Jack the Bulldog (Jack, Sr.). We look forward to working with them and members of our community as we make plans for our next live mascot.

While Jack, Sr.’s official mascot duties ended last year, he will continue to live on campus. The tradition of a bulldog mascot at Georgetown is a cherished one, and it will continue.

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Thu, 18 Sep 2014 13:40:57 -0400

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