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It takes a village: Raising a University mascot

21 Apr

You may have seen my recent post that I received the 2015 Bryant University Spirit Award. Or, rather, my moms did.

“The Spirit Award is presented to a team that enhances the quality of life at Bryant by preserving, promoting, and carrying out positive and quantifiable values and traits. They go above and beyond what’s expected in serving Bryant University.”

They got the award for taking care of me because I am an integral part of the Bryant community now! And they do it as volunteers – they don’t get paid to do so…they just love me because I’m family. I remember May 2010 like it was yesterday…I was a little, 20-lb nugget being introduced during Commencement and carried across the stage to receive my degree in “Character and Obedience,” honoris causa (that means “honorary degree!”)

It took a couple of years before people knew about me. But thank Dog for social media!

I couldn’t have received this Spirit Award without my Uncle Ron and Auntie Kati Machtley, who had the vision to understand that a college needs a proper, live mascot. They searched until they found my moms – Claire and Tina Senecal, mother and daughter and long-time Bryant employees – who agreed to give me a home (or two).

Thank you to those who work in Academic Records for helping to watch me, entertain me, scratch me, and fetch me when students come in the office to get pet therapy before class or after tough exams. And thanks to those in University Relations who scratch my bum when I come in for a visit.

Auntie Kristin helping the tailor with my fitting

Auntie Kristin helping the tailor with my fitting

Special thanks go out to my Auntie Kristin and Uncle “DP” Penta. When she first started working here, Auntie Kristin fell in love with my squishy face. Over the years, the Pentas have supported me in many ways. They donated my stroller to me, they watch me when Ma has to do something “real quick,” they asked their tailor to make my official jersey, and Uncle DP built a “throne” for me to use in the basketball stands so I don’t have to sit on Ma’s lap. She’s not super comfortable. I know Ma appreciates all they’ve done, too!

And, of course, thank you to the students, alumni, parents, staff, and faculty who find me “irresistabull.” The ones who invite me to their events and appreciate my representing this fabulous university. I’m thankful that you appreciate me and that you understand when I can’t attend absolutely everything I’m invited to (even though I’d love to be able to go to everything). Gratitude to all my friends on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Vine who have no connection to Bryant but who continue to support me and share my posts. It means the world to me!

With so many wonderful people here, I’m honored to call Bryant University my home. Woof!

Hanging out on my throne in the stands at the half, waiting for some scratchies.

Hanging out on my throne in the stands at the half, waiting for some scratchies.

Tupper’s Take on Five Human-Animal Interactions

4 Nov
TupperTidbits_Fall2014-4

These are my people. With or without bacon. With is preferable, but I love you guys anyway.

This article originally appeared in the October 16 issue of The Archway, Bryant’s student newspaper.

There’s a Twitter account called @cuteemergency, and it’s all pictures of adorable baby animals. You don’t have to have a Twitter account to see them. Go ahead and check out “@cuteemergency”… I’ll wait. And wait. Did you SEE that fluffy baby duck?

It’s no big mystery why it’s got 1.3 million followers – humans are under so much stress and pressure constantly that they need a break from everything bad.

Okay, okay, I understand that not everyone gets to see me every day, so stress relief may be needed…BOL (Bark Out Loud for my newbie readers).  I’ve got an opinion on stuff, so I present to you “Tupper’s Take on Five Human-Animal Interactions”:

  1. HUMAN-ANIMAL BONDING. From elephant and tiger caretaker reunions (who hasn’t cried over those?) to those suffering from PTSD who feel better with their animals, we have an indisputable bond. We’re all on this planet together. You help me, I’ll bark and wake you up if the house is on fire…deal? Okay, I’m not being starved or anything, but I think this constant withholding of the bacon is mean, don’t you agree?
  1. POLICE/MILITARY ANIMALS. Drug-sniffing, bomb-sniffing, searching for lost children, searching for suspects, detecting mines, tunnels. These dudes are amazeballs! What? No, mom, “amazeballs” is a word…seriously. It’s on Dictionary.com as a slang meaning “enthusiastic approval.” I enthusiastically approve of these hard-working dogs. I mean, I couldn’t do it. Now, BACON-sniffing on the other paw…
  1. CIRCLE OF LIFE. A lot of humans freak out when they see bats. Mine doesn’t. She’s got bats that fly back and forth over her house all summer, from dusk on. She loves them because they eat mosquitoes. Of which, we got plenty. And I’m allergic to them. You know what I’m NOT allergic to? Bacon.
  1. SERVICE ANIMALS. There are dogs for the deaf, for the blind, for the wheelchair-bound. Dogs can detect cancer, insulin levels, and know when a human is about to have a seizure and protect them from harm. This elite group, true service dogs, are allowed anywhere except private homes. Emotional Support dogs help humans have a will to live, especially those suffering depression. Therapy dogs visit hospitals and such to give everyone a smile. All three groups must pass certifications and be registered. I’m a therapy dog. Obvi.

And the number one human-animal interaction I want to talk about is:

  1.  COLLEGE MASCOTS. Listen, college sports isn’t a big deal in New England – except for three places: UCONN, Yale, and Bryant University. Know why it’s a big deal here? Because these three schools have totally cool mascots beloved by many. Why do I stand out among such noble company? Because any student can come and pet me at most sporting events. I’m a dog of the people! Especially people with bacon.

So there you have it. Tupper’s Take on Five Human-Animal Interactions. Don’t forget – I’m on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and Vine. Get at me! ’Til next time…WOOF!

P.S. DON’T FORGET TO VOTE!

 

I mascot in honor of Falco

6 Oct

I met @FalcoTheBullie on Twitter when I first joined. His bio said, “I want to be a mascot when I grow up.” I guess that’s why I felt a special connection to him.

Though he didn’t have the official mascot gig that I have, I found his photos and videos to be inspirational – what a great sense of humor on that bullie!

Last week, I received some very sad news.

Falco died on September 29. It was unexpected and not unexpected at the same time.

You see, the last year of his life, Falco was battling cancer. He had just turned three on August 27.

I mean, bulldogs have a pretty short shelf life, but our humans expect at least eight years. I find that most people who take in bullies are special people in the way they consider us family. I mean, check this out…you know a lot of people who would let us sit at the table like this with the humans?

Please pass the T-Bone this way…the rare one…

A couple of months ago, another one of my friends @BulldogDaddy12 lost his second bullie, Beaudy. It’s hard on the humans when we go. (Special thanks again to David for sending me some of Beaudy’s things!) And far too many of my friends or my friends’ pets have crossed Over the Rainbow Bridge recently, including my cousin, Pitou, who left us July 23. As I write this, I found out Mugsy, my friend @TrooperMoo’s bullie, crossed today.

They are all my friends, and they have all been there for me at different times for support. But Falco didn’t get to be a mascot. I mean, I guess we all have dreams that don’t happen for us… But Falco didn’t even get to grow up. That makes me and Momma very sad.

And so, I dedicate the rest of my mascoting season to Falco, with remembrances to all my friends who have crossed OTRB.

Take a look at some of Falco’s photos and videos below, and I think you’ll see why I found him so inspirational.

Falco, enjoying some of the everyday things life had to offer.

This is one of my fave videos of his…he was campaigning for votes for a bulldog calendar:

And in this collage, you see the many faces of Falco…all of them super-excited. Well, I can tell he’s super-excited…it’s a bulldog thing!

From puppy to welcoming his baby sister, Collins, into the family, Falco was a true gentleman.

Now THIS is a video every human should watch…it’s about “embracing the nap.”

And, so, I think you all have a better idea of the kind of bulldog my friend Falco was. I honor Falco by wearing a black band with his name on it when I’m doing my mascot thing. Rest in peace, dear friend, and I wish you pain-free days while you wait for your family to join you.