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Yet he's no Fancy Dan. In fact, he's a bit of a hot dog. He has chased Princeton cheerleaders into the stands and was once kicked out of a Harvard game for assaulting a mounted policeman.
The UGAs tend to be more submissive. UGA IV was slapped down by the Baylor bear and bayed at by Smokey, the blue tick coonhound of the Tennessee Volunteers. UGAs are also more circumspect. IV once showed his distaste for South Carolina by leaving a memento in the Gamecock end zone during the national anthem.
Both dynasties have been dogged by injuries. Dan XIII nearly wound up as road-kill a few years back when he narrowly escaped assassination by a car he may or may not have been chasing. UGA IV tore a ligament in his left hind leg after jumping off a hotel bed. What a bulldog was doing in a hotel bed is anybody's guess.
John Saunders finds that episode distasteful, much like bulldogs themselves. "They don't live long, are difficult to breed and have lots of potential genetic defects," he snaps. "Salukis have none."
Saunders ought to know. He ministers to Thunder and TUT II, the saluki mascots of Southern Illinois. The Afghan-like Thunder, 14, and the newcomer TUT II both live in a veritable shrine of saluki-ness: Saunders' home is crammed with saluki sculptures, saluki paintings, even saluki switch plates. Thunder sleeps on a water bed and watches TV with a three-legged poodle named Muffy.
Thunder, Saunders asserts, has a nobler lineage than either Dan or UGA. Salukis were the royal dogs of Egypt. Southern Illinois's first saluki. King Tut, is entombed under a concrete pyramid at McAndrew Stadium, about 50 yards from the north goalpost in the north east corner of the stadium.
No doubt Tut and several generations of Dans and UGAs now frolic at the gate to the underworld with Cerberus, the multiheaded mutt of a god named Pluto.
HOLD THAT TIGER
In his classic work of burlesque zoology, How to Tell Your Friends from the Apes, Will Cuppy wrote: "Young normal tigers do not eat people. If eaten by a tiger you may rest assured that he was abnormal. Once in a while a normal tiger will eat somebody, but he doesn't mean anything by it."
Mike V, the 2-year-old fat cat of LSU, hasn't eaten anybody yet. But he's a big hunk and always hungry. He requires a total of 10 pounds of beef, chicken and fish every day. He was downright friendly when he was just a little cub, but now that he weighs 450 pounds and has claws like Freddy Krueger's, nobody steps into his cage to see if he wants to shake hands.