(photo courtesy of Donn Rodenroth***)
I think the most important thing to remember at this juncture is that Uga VII wasn't just a mascot who we see on Saturdays. He was a family pet who lived in the home of Sonny and Cecelia Seiler 365 days a year. Losing a pet is always difficult, and I would imagine losing another pet after losing Uga VI so recently is doubly tough. Our thoughts go out to the Seilers. Anyone who's ever been owned by a really good dog knows the heartache of their loss.
And anyone who's lived with or raised bulldogs, English Bulldogs in particular, knows they are prone to a variety of ailments. They have eye problems, hearing problems, kidney problems, joint problems, and (as was apparently the case with Uga VII) heart problems. That doesn't make them any less lovable though, does it? While Mike the Tiger and Bevo are certainly fine mascots, and the passing of those emblematic quadrupeds may cause great sadness in Louisiana and Texas, there's just something about a good dog.
Granted, the Georgia fanbase did not have as long to bond with Uga VII as we have had with other mascots. Uga VII was the shortest tenured bulldog in the line so far, and one would hope the shortest tenured ever. Because doing this more than once every 5-7 years is no fun.
He had a reputation for being a little reserved, maybe even a bit lazy. But as the photo above shows, the kid was not without personality. I prefer to think that he was like any redshirt freshman working through his second year on campus. He would have made All-SEC eventually if time had not expired on him.
There's been some call for a blackout in honor of Uga VII. No offense to anyone championing that idea, but I think the proper tribute would be to sweep Kentucky and Georgia Tech, wearing the silver britches and red helmets that God intended.
The word from the Seilers is that the UGA dawghouse will remain empty this weekend. Perhaps that's appropriate. One could make a case for sticking Bryan Evans in the dawghouse, but he'd probably just get all turned around in it and have to be extracted with the jaws of life. ****
No cocktails tonight, gang. Just doesn't seem right under the circumstances. Until tomorrow . . .
** Kyle beat me in posting his own exceptionally appropriate thoughts on the death of UGA VII. Be sure to scroll down and read his take on the subject, and leave your own thoughts in the comment sections of his post, this post, or Mr. Sanchez's initial announcement.
***The above photo of UGA VII was taken by Macon photographer Donn Rodenroth and is used with his kind permission. Please respect his intellectual property. Don't steal it. Donn has a great eye and does exceptional work, including some of the best action photos of UGA football you'll see anywhere. Visit his website here and contact him if you find yourself in need of photography services.
**** While this is clearly a sad evening, a little humor to lighten the mood is not necessarily a bad thing in these situations. That's why, for example, I told Darius Dawgberry this afternoon that, "The important thing for us to ask right now is 'how can we blame Willie Martinez for this?'"