Zags' unofficial mascot gears up for gameday - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Zags' unofficial mascot gears up for gameday

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Gonzaga's unofficial mascot Maddie. Gonzaga's unofficial mascot Maddie.
SPOKANE, Wash. -

No doubt every Gonzaga fan knows Spike, the bulldog mascot who makes an appearance at every Zags basketball game. But true fans know the wiggle of the school's unofficial real-life mascot, Maddie.

Maddie walks Gonzaga's campus more than some students. Her owner, Joann Waite, is part of Gonzaga's faculty, and she brings the six-year-old bulldog to work with her everyday.

Maddie spends much of the day sleeping -- as most bulldogs do -- but she's actually trained to save her owner's life if need be. Joann has diabetes, and Maddie is a service dog trained to sense changes in her owner's blood sugar level. She'll begin licking Joann if she's nearing a dangerous low.

For students on campus, Maddie is also a therapy dog. Students come to pet and play with the pup before tests or just to beat the stress. Maddie also has a companion, two-year-old bulldog Sophie, who Waite got in recent years to expand her family. The three, Waite says, have an open office to the community.

"Maddie does a lot of work for Gonzaga," Waite said. "She just loves this place."

Maddie's appearances include an advertisement campaign organized by the university after the marketing department met Maddie.

"It's tough when you're such a star," Waite said.

A star who has never forgotten the university she loves. Waite says Maddie can sense when March Madness rolls around, and you better believe the bulldog will be watching her Zags when the take the court in the Sweet Sixteen.

"She'll be excited," Waite said.

"I expect she'll be awake for that."

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