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Dubs II is the University of Washington's live mascot. (Photo: Dubs)

It's a Dawg's Life: Catching up with Dubs, the UW mascot

There are so many famous UW grads - from KOMO's Steve Pool, to musician Kenny G. But there's one dog who's truly Top Dawg'! Dubs II aka "Dubs" is the University of Washington's live mascot. In addition to his official duties, Dubs is also a social media sensation, with his own Instagram account (where he has over 25,000 followers) as well as a Facebook page and website. The pooch divides his time between "regular" life with his family and time with his trainer (and friend) Anne-Lisa Nilsen. Refined chatted [virtually] with the pair to see what Dubs is up to these days.

Seattle Refined: Anne-Lisa and Dubs thanks for joining us - 'who' is Dubs?
Anne-Lisa Nilsen: Dubs is the University of Washington’s live mascot. He is the 14th live mascot for the University of Washington. And he is Dubs number two.

Can you tell us what his personality is like?
He’s a very fun dog. He’s very happy go lucky, he’s fairly laid back. Prime example - fourth quarter in the football game, he tends to be on his back getting belly rubs from the student handlers!

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Tell us about your work with Dubs?
I got the opportunity to be a student handler for Dubs I. This was in my sophomore year, went through the application process, got hired here, started working in the program. My degree from UW is in Animal Behavior, so I have a psych degree emphasizing in animal behavior and I’d been in contact with Dubs I's family that raised him. As they were getting ready to retire Dubs I, they then kind of reintroduced me to the athletic department - "We’re retiring Dubs I, but here’s somebody who can help get you round 2!"

So that’s where I really came on board, helped select him, select the family that then raises him, as well as pick and train the student handlers and just kind of advise Athletics on all things Dubs. And then of course, not to mention, prepare him for the job at hand.

What does Dubs’s normal event calendar kind of look like?
We do a lot of different events! Primarily we do athletics and on-campus events, a lot of photo ops, a lot of meet and greets where he can just share his charm and make people’s days a little bit better.

What kind of training do you and Dubs do on a weekly basis?
It’s a lot of socializing, so we want him very comfortable in all the different environments. Most dogs are not going to be comfortable in a stadium of 70,00 people - he loves it! But then also it is making sure he has those foundations commands. So he definitely is that highly trained dog but we also want him to have that personality. That’s what makes him so lovable and so fun to interact with where he will verbally tell me no where I ask him to do certain things sometimes.

Does he have any special tricks that he likes to do?
He does he has one fun one where he - he’s a pretty smart dog here and he knows which fans to take treats from... (spoiler alert: Dubs prefers Husky fans over Cougar or Duck fans)!

I follow him on Instagram and he’s been a pretty busy dog during this lockdown. What are some of the things he’s been up to?
We like to keep him busy, keep him doing things. He had a fun story time to all the huskies stuffed animals reading a story about Harry.

We learned how to skateboard, we got a bath cause it’s springtime and we’re a malamute. Just doing other adventures going out for fun walks helping the family doing yard work - he deems as helping I don’t know if they deem as helping!

I could have sworn I saw him having a ZOOM meeting with his colleagues?
So we’ve done a few things with the other canine mascots. We just did a good meeting with all of them, let them share their thoughts and opinions and then Adam Amin [from ESPN] also joined in and did an interview with all the canine mascots.

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As we all know, the Oregon Ducks are a big rival to University of Washington, and I find it interesting that Dubs actually eats duck every day?
We like to make sure that he has some duck snacks these are one of the things that are frequently in our pack so you can see!

That’s making Husky fans all over the state so happy right now.
Yes, it's one of those things too that the Coug fans and Husky fans can agree on.

Does Dubs have a message for the graduating class of 2020?
Nilson: Can you say - you can say congratulations?
Dubs: Ruff
Nilson: Really?
Dubs: Ruff
Nilson: You’re excited for them?
Dubs: Ruff
Nilson: Do you think you can graduate one day?
Dubs: Ruff!