Teako has been going to Middie home games since she was a pup. Six seasons may not sound like much in human terms, but in dog years it's 42. Bobbi, 58, and Tweedie, 61, have missed only a handful of games at Navy-Marine Corps Stadium since 1968. The ladies used to take another dachshund named Snoopy, but she died in 1978 after 11 campaigns, which may be all the Navy football a dachsie can stand.
Bobbi is the more adventurous of Teako's companions. She owned a plane before she owned a car, and was the first woman to fly a Navy jet, an F3D Sky-knight. She was also the first Navy nurse to volunteer for Vietnam duty and the first woman elected to the Naval Academy Sailing Squadron. She keeps a 22-foot Catalina moored to the dock behind the house where she and Tweedie live.
These two Navy hellcats met 33 years ago while stationed in California. Bobbi was making medical evacuation runs between Hawaii and the Alameda Naval Air station during the Korean War. Tweedie was a nurse anesthetist at the submarine base on Mare Island.
Bobbi is the bigger football fan. She bicycles to practice two or three times a week, often with Teako bundled up in the basket. She grew up in Edinboro, Pa., wanting to be a flight nurse and listening to Navy games on the radio. She was particularly inspired by the movie Navy Blue and Gold, in which halfback Truck Cross (Jimmy Stewart) radiates the all-American virtues of decency, optimism, idealism and wholesome naiveté.
Tweedie didn't care for football all that much. She saw her first game in 1949, but she doesn't remember a lot about it, except that the opponent was Army. Tweedie got her name from a parakeet named Toby. Toby pronounced Owedia, Searcy's given name "Tweedie." Tweedie joined the Navy to see the world. And she has. Her tours of duty have ranged from Cuba to Alaska to Southeast Asia. She has attended cooking school in Dieppe, France and written a cookbook called Tweedie's Treats. Included in it are recipes for Parfait Peggy Sue, Mocha Mambo and Warm Clyde. Her game-day party meatballs are enlivened by grape jelly.
If every dog has its day, then surely Teako's was the 1979 Oyster Bowl in Norfolk, Va. Navy trailed William and Mary at the half by a TD. "We changed her from her little blue-and-gold T shirt to her blue-and-gold sweater with the anchor," says Bobbi. "The kids came out steaming, and we won handily." Now, whenever Navy is behind at intermission, Teako does a quick change.
Teako hasn't disclosed which of the 48 games she has seen she liked best. It probably wasn't when she came snout-to-snout with the Yale bulldog. She also appeared somewhat chagrined during her lone encounter with Navy's human mascot, a Middie in goat's clothing. "Teako barked and barked at him," says Tweedie. "She's not used to goats who wear boxing gloves."
Teako's favorite player is Joe DiRenzo, '82, a second-string placekicker. "When she sees Joe," says Bobbi, "she just wags and wags and wags and slurpy-slurpies." In fact, Middie players seem to look forward to Teako's visits. As Tweedie points out, Teako smells a lot better than the goat.