It looks like a case of puppy love.
“I got to walk them this morning, and I love them, they’re so cute,” said Eastern New Mexico University junior Yvonne Tillman of a pair of greyhound puppies being groomed to be school mascots.
Nicknamed Deuce and Trey, the puppies will replace the male half of Vic and Tory, a pair of rescued racing greyhounds who were brought on as the school mascots in 2009.
The new Tory is expected to be born later this spring. “Of course I will miss them, and I think they will enjoy retirement. I like that we have live mascots, most universities don’t have them, so I think we stand out a little,” said Tillman, a member of a group of students called Hound Handlers who take care of the school’s mascots.
The original Vic has been struggling with arthritis and vision difficulties while Tory never took to the mascot role.
Vice President of Student Affairs Judith Haislett thinks receiving the dogs as puppies will be helpful.
“We felt that by getting the mascots as puppies we could train them to be familiar with ENMU events, the students, faculty and staff,” Haislett said.
The puppies were purchased with private donations.
Having two Vics will allow the school to expand the mascots’ participation in events.
The mascots live in a house on Cherry Street, and have two student roommates who look after them while they are home. During the day, the hounds will be on campus, and Hound Handlers will handle them from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. everyday.
“It is nice to be recognized with the dogs, and you get to tell the community about the dogs. Everyone thinks it is super cool,” Tillman said.
Deuce and Trey will make their first official appearance Feb. 5 during halftime of the men’s basketball game versus Texas A&M-Kingsville.