University of Tulsa adds puppy to sports roster

The University of Tulsa Golden Hurricanes and its fierce football lineup just got a whole lot cuter.

Prior to hitting the football field, Goldie will be conditioned by respected dog trainer Susan Owen.

TU officials have decided to add a four-legged player to their program — a spunky and lovable Golden Retriever appropriately named Goldie.

Goldie was born March 21 in Pecan Gap, Texas, and isn’t set to start her Hurricane duties fulltime until she completes her training regiment. This season the official TU Golden Retriever will lead players onto the football field from inside of a golf cart. Next spring, Goldie is set to live with a TU employee who is experienced with dogs and dog training.

TU Vice President of Institutional Advancement Kayla Acebo thinks Goldie will be a hit at both the Oklahoma school and the surrounding community it serves.

“I can’t imagine anything more adorable than seeing a Golden Retriever with a Hurricane flag draped around her neck running with the cheerleaders and leading the mighty Golden Hurricane out onto the field on game day,” Acebo gushes.

Goldie’s role will be less of a mascot and more of an ambassador, Tulsa World reports, as the school’s current big-blue-and-gold mascot Captain Cane will continue his work as the symbol of TU school spirit, leading cheers with the fans and dancing across Skelly Field during home games.

For now, Goldie is currently learning the ropes at a basic training class in nearby Oklahoma City, where she is answering to the expectations of her trainer, Susan Owen, owner of Scout Film Company. Owen is the best of the best, having trained numerous dogs for movies, therapy work, and rehabilitation programs in shelters and prisons. Owen was even part of the TU furry ambassador selection process, Acebo explains.

“[Owen] provided a wealth of information in terms of what the best dog would be and how he or she would be trained,” Acebo says, “and we became partners with her and she helped us find Goldie.”

Of the seven dogs in her litter, Goldie immediately stood out, says Owen.

“She just kept jumping out to me as the one who was very nicely middle-of-the-road,” the experienced trainer explains. “She wasn’t the one going around jumping on everybody all the time.

“There weren’t any that were shrinking violets or very shy. She wanted to play all the time, but then when you picked her up, she just melted in your arms and was just very soft, and that’s what we need. That’s what we’re looking for specifically for this job.”

A big part of Goldie’s early training involves her getting used to loud noises and crowds, so Owen has brought the future face of the Hurricanes to little league baseball games, band camps, and other loud and busy events to help condition the pooch to the sights and sounds she can expect at a typical TU football game. Goldie has also had her first encounter with Captain Cane, the boisterous TU mascot she will interact with during her time at the Oklahoma school.

Because Goldie will also perform duties in the community, such as visiting nursing homes, elementary schools, and hospitals, she’s also learning how to be gentle with people on an individual basis. Owen says Goldie’s training has been so far, so good.

“They kind of needed it all in one package, and I think we’ve done that,” Owen adds of Goldie. “She’s good.”

Looking for a chance to meet Goldie in person? The newest addition to the Hurricane family is set to make her official debut at “Bark in the Park,” a minor league baseball event with the Tulsa Drillers to be held August 21 at ONEOK Field. She will also be on hand for the Golden Hurricanes’ home opener versus the Colorado State Rams September 7.

Source: Tulsa World, The University of Tulsa, Yahoo! Sports