It wasn't immediately clear why an impossibly cute dog lost his position as successor to Jack, Georgetown's longtime bulldog representative, who in 2012 retired with a torn ACL -- no, not from a sports injury; he is thought to have hurt himself jumping on a couch.
At the end of July, the university announced in a press release that its mascot-in-training -- Jack Jr., otherwise known as J.J., who'd arrived on campus as a puppy in April 2012 -- was retiring, before his career had even really begun.
"After 15 months of monitoring and training," and in light of the hectic, noisy and people-filled life of a campus mascot, the school wrote in a press release, "we determined that returning to a home environment is what is best for J.J."
“If it’s specifically about J.J., I’m not sure why this is happening,” Neve Schadler, one of the puppy's walkers, told the school newspaper at the time. “If a student were to have been consulted, it would have been me.”
The reasons soon emerged. J.J. had, the previous fall, bitten a child who "sustained non-critical injuries," according to The Hoya, which reported that the puppy's withdrawal from public life was part of a settlement with the injured child's parents.
A search began for the bulldog's new home. Theology professor Christopher Steck, Jack and Jack Jr.'s handler, tweeted out a list of requirements which included having a home in the D.C. area, "experience raising disciplined, well-behaved dogs" and "stability." And "if children," Steck wrote, "would need to discuss."
On Aug. 10, Steck told The Huffington Post he'd been "swamped with requests" -- one of which has now been granted.
DCist has the details:
"J.J. has found a new home," J.J.'s former caretaker, Father Christopher Steck, said in an email to DCist. "We are keeping the details of the family home private, so as to preserve their confidentiality. The family meets all of the ideals we had looked for. In addition, they live within 3 miles from campus and have lots of experience with the bulldog breed. We did a test run with the family and J.J., and it worked wonderfully. They are in love with JJ and, I believe, vice versa."
Who will next wear that hard-to-fill grey-and-blue harness? Maybe no one, according to Deadspin:
Georgetown's tradition of a live mascot dates to around 1900, and was kept up in fits and starts until a 1999 student campaign permanently installed Jack's predecessor. Though the university says the tradition will continue, students aren't so sure—recent years have seen increasing criticism of live mascots, and of Bulldog mascots in general.
Bulldogs are wrong by nature. Selective breeding for their flat faces and stout bodies have led to all sorts of genetic defects, including breathing problems and knee issues (evident by Jack's torn ACL last year). More than 80 percent of Bulldogs are born via C-section, because their unnaturally large heads make normal births difficult.
"As far as I know," Steck told HuffPost, "there has not been a decision about the next mascot in training."
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