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Our Canine Ambassador

Growley III

Meet Growley III (call sign "Stryker")

Growley III, a Labrador retriever, is the canine ambassador for the Corps of Cadets.

After a year of excelling at his training with his breeder, Ciao Bella Retrievers of Troutville, Virginia, he arrived on Upper Quad in fall 2021. 

Growley is cared for 24/7 by a team of cadets. Dr. Lara Bartl of the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine is his veterinarian.

The Corps received permission, under Virginia Tech Policy 5000, for Growley III to reside with his cadet handlers on Upper Quad. 

Request an appearance

To request an appearance at your event, email Please include the following:

  • Date and time of your event
  • Location of your event
  • The organization hosting the event
  • The type of event it is
  • The length of time you'd like Growley to be there
  • Why you'd like Growley to be there
  • Your contact information

Social media

Follow Growley on Instagram (he's @vtgrowley) and on Facebook.

Growley II (call sign "Tank") retired in December 2021

Growley II retired at the end of the fall 2021 semester after five years of working with the Corps of Cadets. He was adopted by a former handler and is now a happy pet.

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Why Growley?

A man by the name of “Growley” Schultz ran the mess hall in the early 1900s. According to folklore, he didn’t have a very sunny disposition. Students called the food he served “growley,” and eventually first-year cadets who announced the time until the morning formation would call “minutes to growley.”

Another piece of folklore centers around a dog that was either owned by a Depression-era commandant or adopted by cadets of that era. Cadets would hold a bit of “growley” back from their meals to ensure that the dog had enough to eat.

Fast-forward to present day. When the cadets’ initiative to add a four-legged ambassador to our ranks took shape, they maintained the connection to Growley and the past.