As Featured in the Austin American Statesman
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April 25, 2011
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In Remembrance of Pig
Jim Nicar - January 5, 2009
'em Hounds! As Texas football fans stampede to Pasadena for the BCS
title game decked out in burnt orange and proudly waving the “Hook ‘em”
hand signal, it’s a good day to remember that while a longhorn steer
called Bevo has been a symbol of UT athletics for over eighty years,
the University's first mascot was a scrappy tan and white dog named Pig
in Houston on February 10, 1914, Pig was a seven-week old puppy when he
was brought to Austin by L. Theo Bellmont, a co-founder of the
Southwest Athletic Conference and UT's first Athletic Director. An
adventurous pooch, the dog didn’t want to remain confined to the
Bellmont’s backyard, and followed his owner to work on the Forty Acres.
The campus was full of attentive students, squirrels to chase, fields
of bluebonnets, and plenty of trees. It wasn’t long before Pig was
adopted by the University community, and for the next nine years roamed
the campus as the 'Varsity Mascot.
morning, Pig greeted students and faculty on his daily rounds. He
frequented classrooms, and on cold days even visited the library (now
Battle Hall). Pig regularly attended home and out-of-town athletic
events, and it was said he would snarl at the slightest mention of
was named for Gus "Pig" Dittmar, who played center for the football
team. Gus, an honors history major, was known to slip through the
defensive line "like a greased pig." During a game in 1914, the athlete
and the dog stood next to each other on the sidelines. The students
noticed, of all things, that both were bowlegged, and from that
observation the dog had a namesake.
World War I, Pig looked after the cadets of the School of Military
Aeronautics, which was sponsored by the University and housed on what
is now called the Little Campus, where only Hargis Hall and the Nowotny
Building remain. The school, dubbed the “West point of the Air,” was a
precursor to the Air Force Academy, and introduced cadets to the basics
of flying through a six-week course. At the conclusion of each course,
Pig was always included in the class graduation photo, and twice took
the train ride to Dallas, where the cadets were transferred to continue
their training. He never missed a hike, and was always present for
“Ten-shun!” Pig (on the hill to the right) inspects UT students who enlisted in the army during World War I.
New Year's Day, 1923, Pig Bellmont was accidentally hit by a Model T at
the corner of 24th and Guadalupe Streets. He was only injured, but no
one realized how seriously until his body was found a few days later.
Pig's death was a tragic event on the campus, and the students decided
to pay a final, fitting tribute to their beloved canine friend.
January 5, 1923: A funeral procession for Pig Bellmont on Guadalupe Street.
about two hours on the afternoon of Friday, January 5th, Pig's body lay
in state in front of the University Co-op on Guadalupe Street. More
than a thousand doffed their hats and filed by Pig's black casket,
which was draped with orange and white ribbon. Promptly at 5pm, a
funeral procession was organized. Led by the ‘Varsity Band, the
mourners marched south on Guadalupe to 21st Street, then east to the
old Law Building, where the Graduate School of Business now stands.
Pig's pallbearers were members of a new student group called the Texas
A crowd gathers for Pig’s funeral. The present day Gebauer Building is in the upper left.
Dean Thomas Taylor delivers the eulogy. Some of the onlookers are in the trees.
of the Law Building, under a small grove of three live oak trees, Pig's
eulogy was delivered by Dr. Thomas Taylor, Dean and the founder of the
School of Engineering. "Let no spirit of levity dominate this
occasion," the Dean began, "A landmark has passed away." Pig was
praised for his loyalty to the University, and compared to the
faithful dog of Lord Byron. "I do not know if there is a haven of rest
to which good dogs go, but I know Pig will take his place by the side
of the great dogs of the earth." On cue, following Taylor's speech, a
lone trumpeter played Taps in front of the Old Main Building.
After the funeral, a marker was left to remind the students of their first mascot. His epitaph: "Pig's Dead . . . Dog Gone."