DES MOINES, Iowa — Drake University announced a replacement for bulldog mascot Griff, who will retire this summer.
The new mascot is formally named Griff II, but he also goes by the nickname George. He has been living with Drake mascot handler Erin Bell since November.
“He is from Wisconsin. He’s a year old, born in July of 2018,” said Bell. “He’s just a wonderful dog with the perfect disposition for this job.”
Bell brought Griff II into the Olmsted Center in a bike trailer like you would use for a small child. The new Griff was greeted by an enthusiastic group of students who took a mid-afternoon pause from studies.
“I’m a transfer student here. This is my first year at Drake and Griff was kind of part of the reason I transferred here,” said Annie Hirschfeld, a Drake student from Wisconsin. “It’s nice to know the school has a live mascot and they really invest in the program. Hearing that Griff was retiring, it really broke my heart.”
George also likes to get treats from his handler.
“He worked hard. The dogs worked hard, so we definitely reward them,” said Bell.
“We are proud to continue the tradition of our live mascot program and welcome Griff II to the Drake community,” said Drake University President Marty Martin in a news release. “I am confident that he will spark even greater school spirit and help bring us all closer together, just as Griff has done for years.”