Jack the Bulldog retired this spring after 10 years of representing Georgetown as its mascot. Last year, the school brought in Jack Jr., or J.J.—a precious little Bulldog pup who would be the "mascot-in-training," and take over for the start of basketball season in the fall. But today it was announced that J.J. will not be coming back to campus, and no one seems to know why.
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.
The Reverend Christopher Steck, who lives with and trains both J.J. and Jack, simply doesn't understand what happened. "The university's decision is a surprise and disappointment to me," he wrote. "I genuinely believe that J.J. would thrive as the next university mascot."
What has fans and students most up in arms is that the move appears to have been made unilaterally.
“I did not see this coming,” said Neve Schadler (COL ’15), head of the Jack Crew. “If a student were to have been consulted, it would have been me.”
“If it’s specifically about J.J., I’m not sure why this is happening,” added Schadler, who has cared for J.J. since the dog first arrived on the Hilltop in April 2012.
Schadler said she was unaware of any incidents that could have prompted the decision to remove the year-and-a-half-old dog from campus.
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 (Jack tore his ACL last year). More than 80 percent of Bulldogs are born via C-section, because their unnaturally large heads make normal births difficult.
Bulldogs are freaking adorable; no one denies this. The question seems to be whether they're worth the attendant troubles. The student body seems to think so—but will the university bother to listen?
Update: A Georgetown spokesperson offers one reason to City Paper:
Pugh tells City Desk an incident this fall in which J.J. injured a small child was one of the reasons for the bulldog's early retirement, though not the only one.
That might do it.