What is Addie’s favorite snack? Who does she live with? Does she still skateboard? On April 20, University of Redlands students, alumni, administrators, and friends gathered virtually to hear the answers to these questions and learn more about the University’s seventh live Bulldog mascot, Adelaide Victoria, by way of her handler, Assistant Director of Alumni and Community Relations Mary Littlejohn ’03, ’12.
The conversation was moderated by Director of Alumni and Community Relations Shelli Stockton and was the final installment of the department’s What’s The Scoop? campus update series. In the past, the series has featured speakers such as University Dean of Student Affairs Donna Eddleman and Vice President for Finance Kevin Dyerly.
As Addie’s handler, Littlejohn’s job involves some of the more unusual duties on campus and provides the opportunity to take part in one of the University’s most beloved traditions. Prior to Addie’s tenure, Professor Beth Dolittle had the honor of handling mascots Thurber and Duke.
During the virtual event, Littlejohn explained that, when she was initially asked to be the next mascot handler, she thought the next Bulldog should be female and spent months searching for one she could rescue. In addition to being healthy, the potential mascot needed to be able to tolerate loud noises, children, and large crowds of people at events. While Addie was eventually discovered in a litter living with a family, Addie’s platform emphasizes the importance of pet adoption and she hosts at least one adoption fair each year.
“She’s not just my dog, she’s the University’s dog,” said Littlejohn, who spent time answering questions about Addie’s work, home, and love life. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Addie spent weekdays in the Admissions department, greeting prospective students before or after their campus tours. In addition to pressing her paw onto an inkpad to autograph birthday cards and coloring books, her calendar is usually filled with a plethora of obligations, from sporting events to alumni mixers.
Littlejohn says that the most popular question she gets from people who meet Addie is where she lives—fans often assume she resides on-campus at the Alumni House. But at the end of the day, Addie goes home with Littlejohn, where she lives with two human brothers, a K-9 brother and sister, and a bearded dragon, of whom, Littlejohn says, Addie is terrified. Her favorite treat is steak, and she hates fruit and raw vegetables.
The mascot also maintains a long-distance relationship—“a fauxmance,” as Littlejohn calls it—with Butler University’s live Bulldog mascot, Trip. The two have released collaborative merchandise, such as stickers and other graphics, much to the delight of both dogs’ social media followers.
Over the past four years, Addie has made quite a name for herself on social media platforms—she has profiles on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok. When she was younger, Addie used to push herself on a skateboard, but has since lost interest in the activity. Littlejohn also regularly dresses Addie in costumes that correspond with national holidays: “She has five or six buckets of clothes and, like any celebrity, doesn’t wear the same thing twice,” Littlejohn joked.
One video of Addie rolling through grass and into fans on the sidelines of a lacrosse game has been watched nearly 6 million times. In addition to spreading awareness of the U of R—Littlejohn noted that Addie’s internet presence is one of the ways many prospective students learn about Redlands—social media has allowed students, alumni, and friends to bond virtually with a furry friend during the pandemic.
Each person sees Addie in a uniquely special way, and this, Littlejohn says, is the best part of being her handler. “I love it when people tell me that Addie made their day,” she says. “My favorite thing about her is that she makes people happy.”
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