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Corps of Cadets ambassador eating up campus life

September 29, 2016

Cadet handers, from left, Jeff Zander, Zack Sever, and Joelle Pond, accompany Growley II on Worsham Field during last weekend’s homecoming football game against East Carolina University.

Cadet handers, from left, Jeff Zander, Zack Sever, and Joelle Pond accompany Growley II on Worsham Field.
Cadet handers, from left, Jeff Zander, Zack Sever, and Joelle Pond, accompany Growley II on Worsham Field during last weekend’s homecoming football game against East Carolina University.

After weeks of training, hundreds of games of fetch, and countless belly rubs, the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets new canine ambassador has made his official debut with the Virginia Tech community.

Growley II (call sign “Tank”) is a 3-year-old yellow Labrador retriever with extensive therapy dog and obedience training who joined the corps through the generous support of its alumni. The dog moved into Pearson Hall on Aug. 28, and his cadet handlers got to work to create and maintain a stress-free and fun environment for him.

They also introduced him to life as a Hokie.

Growley II wears the same uniform of the day as the cadets. He enjoys playing on Upper Quad, attending ROTC classes, watching Hokie football games from the sidelines of Worsham Field, and updating Instagram (he’s @vtgrowley).

“Growley II is loving life in the corps and his new routine,” said Zack Sever, of Poquoson, Virginia, a senior studying political science in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences and the senior handler.

As the highest ranking cadet — Growley II is a brigadier general — the dog often earns salutes from cadets, followed by a pat on the head or a scratch behind the ears.

“Cadets just light up when they see Growley II,” Sever said.

Now that Tank is settled in, he’s ready to mingle, as his schedule allows.

Campus and community groups may request Growley II’s appearance at events. Details are available on his webpage.

Supported by Vice President of Student Affairs Patty Perillo and Vice President for Administration Sherwood Wilson, the corps received permission, under Virginia Tech Policy 5000, for Growley II to reside with his cadet handlers — a team of two seniors, two juniors, and two sophomores — in Pearson Hall.

Inspectors with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) have looked over Growley II's accommodations and care and training plans, and as part of his USDA certification, those inspectors will make unannounced visits to campus to ensure the plans are being followed.

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