Marines recruit mascot from South Texas

04:27 PM CDT on Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Deborah Knapp

An 11 week old English bulldog bred in Castroville is getting ready to be shipped out for basic training. She was handpicked to be the next official mascot for the U.S. Marines. The Marines contacted breeder Michelle Rodriguez last year. The puppy was bred for the Marines. "I used two of my more mellow dogs because temperate is so important since she's going to be involved with a lot of people," said Rodriguez who's been breeding bulldogs in Castroville for 12 years. She's had a number of champions including the father of the next Marine mascot. "As a good of a feeling as when our dogs won, it's nothing like when the Marines selected me. It's such an honor, It's probably the greatest feeling I've ever felt."

The puppy will be going through every step of basic training.

"The mascot will be a Marine. Just like all marines the journey will begin when she steps on the yellow footprints," said Sgt. Heidi Lordeo from Recruiting Station San Antonio.

The bulldog will be named next week by the Marines. She was loaded up today and delivered to a Marine Recruitment Center in San Antonio where she will assume a role that dates back to World War One. The Germans named the Marines "Devil Dogs" for their tenacious fighting in France.

One of three official mascots, the Texas bulldog will be issued a uniform and start out as a private. She will have to work for promotions. As mascot, she will preside over graduations and perform duties the Corps sees fit, including community outreach efforts. She will ship off in the morning for San Diego where she will have to earn the title United States Marine.