Rescue dog now a star

Published 9:44 am Monday, March 30, 2009

By By Kerry Whipple Bean

A bulldog who started out in Brewton is making a new name for himself on a college campus.
Rocky, who came to the Humane Society of Escambia County just over a year ago with his 10 puppies and their mother, is now the mascot for the University of North Carolina-Asheville.
His journey began when the dogs’ and puppies’ owner surrendered them at the shelter, humane society director Renee Jones said.
Although rescue groups often take in only their breed, Jones said the group agreed to take all of the dogs to try to adopt them out as white English bulldogs.
Once all of the dogs were in the care of the Boxer rescue, the next leg of Rocky’s journey took him to a foster home in Georgia.
Meanwhile, UNC Asheville students, alumni and staff were hoping to revive a tradition at the university. The school had four live bulldog mascots from 1948 to the early 1980s, but no live mascot for more than 20 years.
UNC Asheville alumni Alexis and Ed Johnson, who volunteered to be the mascot’s keepers and trainers, began searching for the right dog, first contacting breeders across the Southeast. Having no luck, Ed decided to research bulldog rescue organizations, and in just half an hour, he found the dog that would become known as Rocky. He and his wife drove to Georgia in November to meet the new mascot.
Rocky made his debut as the school mascot in February at halftime of the UNC Asheville homecoming basketball game.
Jones said the humane society likes to keep track of its adoptions through letters, e-mails and photos from new owners.

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