When Mark Siegmund (right) was a freshman at Texas A&M he wanted to join the Corps of Cadets and the Reveille detail because he thought it would be cool. I call bullstuff to that; he joined for the girls. Good for him.
There may not be a single greater ice breaker than a cute dog on a leash, which Siegmund has used as a part of the unit that takes care of Reveille, Texas A&M's famous Collie mascot.
Even if you're a Longhorn and loathe the Aggies and their traditions, this one is pretty cool.
I spoke with Siegmund today about what it's like to be part of the unit that makes sure Reveille is fed, groomed, walked and well behaved in class.
Mac Engel: What year are you and where are you from?
Mark Siegmund: I'm a junior; class of 2012. And I'm from China Spring. Business finance major.
ME: What exactly is the job of taking care of Reveille?
MS: There is an actual mascot corporal, and he's a sophomore, and he's in charge. Since I'm a junior I'm in the company that takes care of Reveille. The sophomore class makes sure she's groomed, they take care of her, feed her. You take her to class, or to certain places around town. The actual mascot handler's job actually takes care of her and he has a major responsibility.
ME: How much responsibility did you have last year as a sophomore?
MS: I had some. I took her to get her groomed. I would take her to some classes. She stayed with me sometimes. I took her home once. I had her in my apartment here in College Station.
ME: Where does she crash?
MS: She has her own special bed that she can sleep on and no else.
ME: Like a regular dog bed?
MS: It's a full-sized, dorm-room bed. She has her own special blanket on it.
ME: There have to be some benefits to taking care of this dog; what are they?
MS: Every sophomore for one game gets to be on the field with Reveille, and visit all the boxes at Kyle Field. I got to meet former President George H. Bush. He wanted to see her in his private box. I got to meet former defense secretary Robert Gates.
I met President Obama as well. He came to A&M and made a speech and made a special appearance for the Corps. He was shaking everyone's hands and he wanted to meet her and he said, 'Is this Lassie?'
ME: I am guessing Reveille is a target in some sick way; are you aware of that when you take care of her?
MS: Oh yeah. It's in the back of your mind - what would you do if you lost Reveille? You're always so cautious. Like we have to take caution with certain schools. Sometimes we don't take her to away games. We do take her to Austin. Lubbock is definitely a no.
ME: You can take her to class; what is that process like?
MS: You have to leave for class really early because people want to stop and take pictures with her and pet her. We want people to do that. She's really a well trained dog. This Reveille 8 has never barked in class before. If Reveille barks the professor is supposed to let the class go because if he can't keep the dog's attention he can't keep the classes' attention.
ME: What does she eat?
MS: She gets some sort of special food made by the vet school here at A&M.
ME: Is she a babe magnet?
MS: Uh, yes, definitely. The girls like taking pictures with her. We love doing that. We really want Reveille to be very available to the student population. It's everyone's mascot.
ME: Have you used Reveille to score a phone number?
MS: Not exactly in that sense. Some of the guys who have girl friends will take Reveille on a date. We've taken her to a few social events. She can't be around alcohol. Sometimes sororities want her at meetings, and we definitely do that.
- Mac Engel
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