By Alisa Bowell: PNT staff writer
Metaphorically speaking, every day at Eastern New Mexico University is Greyhound day.
The school is making the day official Saturday in conjunction with a visit from New Mexico branch of Greyhound Pets of America, the adoption agency that gave ENMU its mascots, Vic and Tory.
A meet and greet barbecue lunch will be held 11:30 a.m. at the ENMU fountain in the center of campus to honor the university’s guests, giving ENMU students and faculty the opportunity to thank GPA for Vic and Tory.
The organization will also have an information table set up at Greyhound Stadium during the 2 p.m. Saturday game against Abilene Christian. The organization, which finds homes for retired racing dogs, will have several greyhound companions with them.
Vic and Tory were adopted by ENMU in December 2009 and have since made appearances at most ENMU athletic events and other local events. Otherwise, the two mascots spend their days in “doggie daycare” at ENMU’s Agriculture Building, where they have a play room and spend time with their six handlers, who take them to events and for outdoor exercise.
Colby Trujillo, an ENMU sophomore, takes the two canines to Greyhound Soccer Field for a run every day from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. In his freshman year, Trujillo was looking for an on-campus job and heard about the university’s search for handlers through their website.
“I really like taking them around kids,” Trujillo said. “Because kids get so happy when they see them.”
The greyhounds spend their nights in campus housing with their roommates, Shawn Franken and Dallas Ellsworth. Franken said he moved onto campus to become a greyhound roommate when he was asked by Janice Morrow, an advisor who oversees the usage and handling of the dogs.
Franken said like with any animal, Vic and Tory have quirks that take adjusting to. Vic eats baseball caps left within his reach and Tory headbutts anyone not giving her enough attention.
But his overall experience with the dogs has been rewarding.
“It’s definitely been fun,” said Franken. “It gives you an opportunity to interact more on campus.”