If dogs were mentally capable of envisioning their dream job, mascot of a major university athletics program would have to be right near the top of the list. Not only are you well-fed and cared for, but you get loads of attention from a constant stream of new people. As the current caretaker of two labs, I can confirm the importance of both attention and new people. If the younger one had her druthers, she would meet and play with every person and fellow canine in the world at least once. You call this a job?
Alas, all dogs are not created alike. Most, but not all. Some don't want the celebrity, the fawning, the constant requests for photos. Some dogs don't want to perform. Some dogs just want a full bowl of food, a toy to chew on, a couple of walks, and approximately 22 hours of sleep per day. Some dogs just want the simple life.
Such, it seems, was the case for would-be Georgetown mascot Jack Jr. (J.J.), the Georgetown mascot-in-training at the school since 2012. In a release on its athletics web site today, the Hoyas announced that, after extending time with professional trainers, J.J. never truly embraced the fame and fortune associated with being the next Georgetown mascot. J.J. would prefer to kick it at home:
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.
You other dogs out there might not understand it. Doesn't every dog want to be famous? Wasn't J.J. about to live the dream? How could he turn down all those scratches on the head -- a whole lifetime full of head-scratches! The glitz! The glamour! The staff of handlers! The expensive gift bags full of holistic treats! You threw it all away, J.J.! You threw away the dream!
No, dogs, that's your dream. It wasn't J.J.'s dream. That's not his journey. J.J.'s a simple dog. He doesn't need the flashing lights. He'll take the quiet life, a handshake of crude protein dog treats, and no alarms and no surprises. Silent.
(Oh, and in case you're wondering, Georgetown's former mascot, Jack Sr., will continue to live on campus, and Georgetown promised that the "cherished" bulldog mascot tradition will continue. You may now breathe easy.)
Update: Apparently there is some minor controversy afoot here. Today, the Hoya reported that J.J.'s handlers disagreed with the decision and were critical of its unilateral nature. Meanwhile, Reverend Christopher Steck, who lives and trains with the Georgetown mascots, composed an open letter on the matter: "The university's decision is a surprise and disappointment to me. I genuinely believe that J.J. would thrive as the next university mascot." Georgetown mascot Kremlinology! Is it November yet?