JONATHAN XIV: NEW DOG IN TOWN
Published: Tuesday, January 28, 2014
Updated: Wednesday, January 29, 2014 21:01
For the first time since 2008, the University of Connecticut will welcome its new live mascot to the hardwood of Gampel Pavilion and the green grass of Rentschler Field.
After six years of loyal service to the UConn community, Jonathan XIII will hand his duties over to the new husky mascot, three-month-old Jonathan XIV, at today’s board of trustees meeting.
Geno Bologna, Co-Chairman of the committee in charge of caring for UConn’s four-legged companion, said Jonathan XIV would fit right in at university games and events.
“Jonathan XIV is a ball of energy, he has one speed and it’s go,” said Bologna. “He’s super friendly, he’ll run up to anyone, he’s extremely well behaved.”
Having a live mascot has been a UConn tradition since 1935 and adds to the UConn experience, said Bologna.
“We’re one of the few schools that have a live mascot and it gives students and fans something fun to look forward to,” Bologna said. “It’s one of those things that UConn students have on their bucket list.”
The mascot committee, comprised of 10 students, gave their Arkansas breeder Husky Harbour full discretion in choosing which furry friend would become UConn’s next mascot. Bologna said the dog’s coat coloring was not a factor; the only requirement was that the dog have a good temperament.
“We thought that changing the color may be seen as controversial,” said Bologna.
“So after we spoke to the breeder and decided on a particular litter, we decided whichever puppy had the best temperament, according to the breeder, would be UConn’s new mascot.”
As for Jonathan XIII, the committee decided it was time for his reign to come to an end. Bologna said in recent years, the endless events and sporting games Jonathan XIII attended began taking a toll on the seven year-old husky.
“Jonathan XIII has been the mascot for quite a while,” said Bologna. “And although he’s a great dog and very gentle, he has begun experiencing some anxiety from all the basketball games and football games, so we decided it would be best to take him out of the spotlight.”
Both huskies will live with a host family off-campus. Bologna said the mascot committee raises all the money it needs for the mascot through private funding, and provides the host family with all the necessary items and services the university mascot will need while residing with the family.
While Jonathan XIV will continue to reside with the host family when not reporting for duty, the family will be adopting Jonathan XIII as their own, giving him more time to play in the snow and snack on his favorite treat, string cheese.
As for those who are sad to see Jonathan XIII go, Bologna said to keep your eyes out and you may just spot Jonathan XIII and Jonathan XIV going for a walks around campus together.