It’s football season again and few people are more excited about this college season than my family. We are die-hard University of Georgia fans! This passion was originally instilled by my husband who is a UGA alumnus. But, once I saw the Bulldog mascot, Uga, I was hooked. Uga appears on many articles of clothing and coffee mugs in my house. We even have a stuffed Uga that plays the UGA fight song when you give him a squeeze.
The tradition of Uga is a fascinating one. The original Uga was owned by Sonny Seiler, an attorney based out of Savannah, GA who was featured in the book and movie Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. He was given the bulldog in 1956 by his wife’s previous boyfriend who intended the gift as an insult. However, the ex-boyfriend’s plan backfired as the Seilers fell in love with Uga and began taking him everywhere including a University of Georgia home game. The Director of the UGA Athletic Association noticed the dog at the game and invited him to attend subsequent games as the official team mascot. Thus began the tradition of Uga attending every University of Georgia football game. He can always be seen outfitted in a spiked collar and red jersey with varsity letter relaxing in his custom-built, air-conditioned dog house. He typically sits on bags of ice to minimize the risk of heat stroke which Bulldogs are susceptible to. I’ve often noticed that he appears to be dozing off whenever the camera pans over to him during a game.
The current Uga is number 10 descended in a direct line from the original Uga. There is always a “passing of the collar” ceremony whenever one Uga retires and passes the legacy onto the next descendent. Deceased Ugas are interred near the main entrance of the football stadium in a mausoleum marked with a bronze, life-sized Bulldog statue.
The Bulldog has served to represent many things throughout history: Winston Churchill’s campaign against Nazi Germany, namesake to the professional WWF wrestler Davey Boy Smith, mascot to almost 40 universities.
But at my house, the Bulldog represents only one thing….Go DAWGS!