Damn Good Dogs

UGA 101 REDEAUX: GOD BLESS THE DAWG!

UGA VIII (source: dogbytes.com The Athens Banner-Herald Online)

There has been no additional news regarding UGA VIII since the announcement of him having cancer a few weeks ago. I thought of him yesterday, realizing that there has been no updates, and began searching the web with no results. I hope that “no news is good news” as I am sure we all do.  Just to let UGA VIII and the Seilers know that we are thinking about them and hoping that “Bruce” is responding well to his treatments, I have decided to do a reprint of a blog I did a while back about the history of UGA at the University of Georgia, which some of you may not have had the opportunity to read. The following is an unedited copy of same:

In 1956 a young law student from Savannah, Georgia, named Sonny Seiler, then attending the University of Georgia Law School, and his new wife, the former Cecelia Gunn of Columbus, Georgia, received a belated wedding gift from friends in the form of an Old English Bulldog. The Bulldog of course had been the mascot for the University of Georgia football team for some time. Not from the beginning however, but we will get to that bit of trivia later on in another blog. Coincidentally, the University had been looking for a new mascot, its brindle version having passed on to the big bulldog pasture out yonder. Over lunch one day, Sonny and a fellow law student friend, Billy Young of Columbus, were talking about Sonny’s new pet, and it was Billy who said you should call him Uga. Sonny was listening phonetically to “Uh-guh,” having no clue what Billy was saying, and then realized he was suggesting naming the pooch after their Alma Mater, University of Georgia Athens. And so it was done.

After partying at the Frat House prior to a Saturday game with Uga in toe and making a big hit with everyone, it was decided to take him to the game. The pup was all the talk in the stands. A photo was sent to Dan Magill, sports information director; Magill contacted Coach Wally Butts about it; and Coach Butts arranged a meeting with Sonny, who coincidentally was working in the ticket office. To wind it up, the Uga franchise was born and Sonny and Cecelia Seiler’s wedding present from Frank Heard in Columbus, Georgia became Uga I.

All of the Ugas have had their moments of fame and something special to remember them by. But probably the top “Dawg” with the most notoriety was Uga V. He was named America’s #1 Mascot by Sports Illustrated and his photo embellished the front cover of the prestigious sports magazine, during his tenure. But most importantly, Uga V was a movie star. He and his dad, Sonny Seiler, both co-starred in Clint Eastwood’s movie, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, filmed in Savannah, Georgia, starring John Cusack and Kevin Spacey. As an aside, the story line of the movie was based on a real criminal case, in which Sonny was the defense attorney. In the movie he played the part of the judge and an actor played the part of him in the case. Boy that had to be weird. In my real life I am a practicing trial attorney, and I don’t think I could even try to wrap my brain around that one. Way to go Sonny!

Sonny reports in his and Kent Hannon’s book, DAMN GOOD DAWGS!, that during the filming of the movie, that Clint Eastwood was rolling on the floor of Sonny’s office with Uga V, wrestling with him playfully, and said “Uga, I’m going to make you a celebrity.” To which Cecelia Seiler, who was also in the office, retorted, “Mr. Eastwood, Uga is already a celebrity.”

That my friends, sums up the Uga dynasty. Without a doubt the most famous and well known mascot for years, who has fallen upon hard times lately, with the sudden and unexpected demise of Uga VII; the uncertainty of his replacement for almost a year; and using Russ, the white and brindle bulldog as the interim mascot, who, although truly a bulldog, just doesn’t look right. Just doesn’t look like, well, an Uga.
Are you thinking the same thing I am thinking? The steady decline and misfortune of the Georgia Football team has mirrored the recent misfortune of the Uga dynasty. In fact one could say “tongue in cheek” that the terrible play, record, and the arrests of the 2009 team was the catalyst to poor Uga VII’s heart attack, which led to his untimely demise, November 19, 2009.
Let’s be optimistic! If it is true that in some supernatural fashion that as Uga goes, so goes the BullDawg football team, then we can only hope that this new pup will live a long and SUCCESSFUL life. AMEN.
(historical source: Damn Good Dogs! By Sonny Seiler & Kent Hannon, publishers: Hill Street Press, Athens, Georgia)

*Note: I was fortunate enough to meet Sonny Seiler while he was on tour promoting his book “Damn Good Dogs!” we had a few good laughs talking law; a few words about the movie; and our mutual acquaintance , Billy Young, a practicing attorney in Columbus at the time. What I will treasure for a long time is my autographed copy of the book, in which he simply says “For Gary K., a brother at the Bar! Sonny Seiler. I don’t think either of us had the State “Bar” of Georgia in mind in his sign off.
GO DAWGS! GOD BLESS SONNY SEILER AND GOD BLESS UGA VIII!

Signed Copy of Damn Good Dogs! source: Book owned by blogger; authored and signed by Sonny Seiler and Kent Hannon

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