little dogs

When dear Darai, my double classmate (Vicksburg High, U of M) couldn’t remember ‘em, I knew I had to act.  She long ago moved to the land of fruit and nuts, and after Saturday’s joyous spectacle, got her family properly decked out to go to the boardwalk.

Seeing her little Max, I recommended she show him some videos of Whiskey and Brandy, stars of many football afternoons in our college days.  She said she didn’t remember them

If they have descendants with similar ball skills, one of them would be a refreshing addition to today’s Big House afternoons.  If you’ve been paying attention, you’d have recognized that Jimmy’s boys – until last Saturday – were playing pretty boring football: pound the ball then throttle the opposition.  Harkens back to those early 70s teams of Jimmy’s mentor, Bo.  We hippies sitting in the end zone with our bottles of Boone’s Farm used to hoot and holler, sometimes even boo, to have Bo open it up a bit.  Instead, Billy Taylor (now Dr. Taylor (1)) would run it into the line 35 times a game.  Like Jimmy’s squad, they won.  ‘71’s team went undefeated till the Rose Bowl.  So it was into this tedium that Whiskey’s owner, who had snuck the dog into the stadium under a blanket, would release this little terrier onto the field along with a soccer ball.  Whiskey had a nose for the ball and would push the thing length of the field.  Touchdown!  Some fan on that end would throw the ball the other way and there Whiskey would go again.

Whiskey could count on the loudest cheers of the game, other than those for Michigan touchdowns.  I think the authorities looked the other way as the crowd found the shows so entertaining.  Brandy, Whiskey’s pup, succeeded Whiskey and didn’t miss a beat.  For a year or 2 they performed together.

The athletic department accepted them, and fielded requests for more exposure.  The same department had been skittish about live animals on the sidelines ever since Fielding Yost brought 2 live wolverines to the Big House 10/22/27 for the dedication game against Navy.  Plans to bring the leashed wolverines to midfield to meet Navy’s goat were shelved when the animals proved too fierce in their week leading up to the game, and they stayed in their cages (2)

Whiskey got national attention when the TV crew caught her during the ’69 OSU game (3) which became immortal in its own right.  She got press coverage (4) and reminisces since (5,6).

Medical school took me away from the Big House, not to return till ’84.  No more doggies then.

Should Michigan football go to the dogs again?  They couldn’t handle the ‘dogs they met in the semis last year.  But this year’s team has a lot of their own DAWGS, according to their coach: “Dedicated Athletes With Grit”.  They’ve shown those teeth to 12 opponents so far, with us folks in AA hoping for more.  Yeah, I guess Jimmy’s teams play slightly more exciting football than Bo’s did, especially when they unleash that JJ guy.  But it would still be fun to see a little dog on the field again.


1.    Taylor B.  Get Back Up.

2.     Dickson JD.  The wolverine that wasn’t.  Michigan Today 6/16/11.

3.     Dr.Sap. 1969 Michigan Ohio State Whiskey The Dog.  YouTube.

4.     Wright R.  ‘Whiskey’ — World’s Smallest Halftime Show in Football. 9/22/10 (from 10/17/70 football program).

5.     Dooley G.  Watching whiskey go (1969).  MVictors 1/11/15.

6.     Jennings C.  ‘Here comes Whiskey!’ The story of Michigan’s unofficial mascot, her rise to fame and the Ph.D. student behind it.  The Athletic 3/21/19.

Published by rike52

I retired from the Rheumatology division of Michigan Medicine end of June '19 after 36 years there. Upon hitting Ann Arbor for the second time (I went to school here) it took me almost 8 months to meet Kathy, 17 months to buy her a house (on Harbal, where we still live), and 37 months to marry her. Kids never came, but we've been blessed with a crowd of colleagues, friends, neighbors and family that continues to grow. Lots of them are going to show up in this log eventually. Stay tuned.

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