|courtesy Google images|
An employee let the dog out to use the bathroom and forgot to let him back in. The 102 degree outside temperature proved too much for Tech XX who succumbed to heatstroke.
The same employee, in an effort to distract authorities from his actions, originally reported the dog as missing. Students searched for the dog and a reward for his safe return was advertised until the truth was discovered. Patrick Sexton, the dog's caretaker, issued the following statement:
"Regretfully, I learned this morning that through negligence of an employee, Tech XX was left outside too long on Sunday evening and passed away from a heat stroke. That employee unfortunately chose to handle it the wrong way and attempted to cover it up. Due to this negligence, the employee is no longer employed by Sexton Animal Health Center."
It has been further reported by CNN that Tech XX's predecessor, Tech XIX, was retired in 2007 for health issues resulting from heat stroke!
The legend of the Louisiana Tech bulldog mascot dates back to 1899 when students found an old stray bulldog and persuaded the owner of their boarding house to let the dog stay. That same night a fire broke out in the boarding house and the bulldog ran through the house alerting the students until all were safely outside. Unfortunately the dog did not survive the fire.
It is right that the noble hero bulldog of 1899 deserves honor and fame. It is, however, critical to also understand the susceptibility of bulldogs to heat stroke and related disorders so that they can be properly cared for.
This would be a good time to think about whether the bulldog of 1899 could be commemorated another way, the bulldog is an appropriate choice in the heat and humidity characteristic of Louisiana, and whether a person in a climate controlled bulldog costume would be a smarter choice.
Human negligence notwithstanding, exposing dogs to such heat seems an odd way to pay homage to a hero.
Article first published as Louisiana Tech University English Bulldog Mascot Dead of Heatstroke on Technorati.