Friday, August 14, 2015

Dogs on Campus: Celebrating Tigers' love for dogs

A new exhibition at the MU Student Center celebrates Mizzou's long term love for our canine companions (and one cat, too!) See the story of every Tiger's dog, Tripod! Explore the lasting relationship between fraternities and their mascots.

"Mutts of Mizzou" is on display until October in the square display cases by the first floor Information Center in the MU Student Center.

Here are a few of my favorites!

Waldo: BIG Dog on Campus

Waldo the St. Bernard lived with the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity from 1954 to 1958 when he succumbed to wounds sustained in a scrap with another dog. Waldo was known to “throw his weight around” with dogs and people alike. 

 (Missouri Showme, Dec. 1955, Courtesy of Ellis Library Special Collections)

The Missouri Showme reported a tussle between Waldo the St. Bernard and Benchley the Basset.

“It seems that Waldo, the dog kingdom’s answer to King Kong, and Benchley, the mobile hot-dog, had a little set-to and were growling and walking around stiff-legged and smelling each other and got worked up to the point where they felt they had to bite each other to keep their self-esteem. Well, Waldo did pretty good, but Benchley, who –if we can slip by a sickening pun– was definitely the underdog, and was having a hard time. Because of his very low gravity, the only thing that he could bite was Waldo’s knees, and so while Waldo the Terrible was staggering around trying to get his jaws open wide enough to swallow him, poor Benchley was raising holy Ned with Waldo’s shinbones. Well, you can picture the situation.” (Missouri Showme, December, 1955)

A Savitar photographer caught Waldo napping in the library. (Savitar, 1958)

KAP on the Lawn 

KAP was named the BDOC (Big Dog on Campus) in 1964.  George W. Gardner, BA ’64, is an American photographer with works in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum of Modern Art and the Smithsonian American Art Museum. He visited Mizzou in the spring of 1966 and captured KAP, a frat house mascot, lounging in the yard of Phi Kappa Theta hanging out with the brothers. 

(Missouri Alumnus, June 1966, Courtesy of University Archives)

 Tripod: Everybody's Favorite

According to campus legend, Tripod the three-legged dog came to Mizzou in 1943, but no source recounts his arrival with any certainty.  The Showme related that Tripod had been brought to MU by “some Navy boys from Florida who came up here to go to radar school.” Another report from the Missouri Alumnus says that a woman who ran a boarding home for students fed Tripod, or maybe just another pooch with a missing foot, starting in 1939. Wherever he came from, Tripod made his home at Mizzou. In 1948, he was picked up by the dog catcher and taken to the pound. An anonymous student purchased Tripod’s license and tags and was officially adopted as the unofficial campus mascot.

Tripod’s missing leg was attributed to his loss in battle with a taxi cab. His primary residence was the lawn outside of Read Hall, which served as the student union in the 1940’s and 1950’s. The January 1980 edition of the Missouri Alumnus, in a spotlight article about Tripod, quoted one alumna as saying, “Tripod was everybody’s dog. He was very democratic.”

(MIZZOU Magazine, Summer 2003, Courtesy of University Archives)
Be sure to visit the MU Student Center soon to find out more about Mizzou's favorite canines.

Blog authored by Sarah S. Jones, PhD. Candidate and Curator of Public Arts, MU Student Unions.