THE FIRST LADY OF AGGIELAND
By Joseph A. Puente '14 | Vol. I Issue 2
She’s not a politician, but if she were, she’d be on the ticket for the 2016 presidential election. She stops for photos, travels frequently to special events across campus and Texas and is protected at all times, but most importantly, she is adored by every Aggie she meets.
Known as the highest-ranking member in the Corps of Cadets and serving as the First Lady and official mascot of Texas A&M University, she embodies everything the university stands for. To others she may be another dog, but to Aggies she is known as Reveille or Miss Rev.
"You don't understand how much the student body idolizes Rev until you're walking with her around campus," said Mascot Corporal Parker Smith, Rev's handler during the 2013-2014 school year. "Bryant Gumbel came down in the fall and asked me, 'Who do you think gets more attention walking around campus, Johnny Manziel or Rev?' and I told him it would be pretty close."
The story of Reveille dates back to 1931 when two cadets were driving back to College Station from Navasota, Texas, during the holiday break. They accidentally hit a stray mutt in their Ford Model T and being the good Ags that they were, they decided to take the mutt home and nurse her back to health. The next morning a bugler began playing "Reveille" at sunrise and suddenly the dog began to bark. Soon after, she earned the name Reveille. Cadets fell in love with Reveille and eventually recognized her as the first official mascot of Texas A&M.
Since then, all Reveilles have been female, but Reveille III was the first of the mascots to be a pure-bred collie. Originally Reveille was cared for by the Aggie Band, but after taking notice that she didn't have an official caretaker, cadets in Company E-2 adopted her and titled themselves the Mascot Company.
The Mascot Corporal, a sophomore cadet in E-2, is one of the prime student-leader positions at Texas A&M. It’s a highly selective position that requires time and dedication once the tenure begins. For one year the cadet selflessly serves both the Corps of Cadets and the university as Rev's handler.
"I feed her every morning, give her the medicine she needs to stay healthy, brush her teeth every day, take her to the groomer once a week and never leave her alone," Smith said. "I literally can't leave my room unless someone else is watching her. That's the biggest responsibility as her handler. There's always someone that has to be watching her."
In addition to her safety, Rev is a prominent figure on campus, so it's appropriate that she has two secretaries that update a calendar of events to guide the handler through Rev's chaotic schedule. If the Mascot Corporal is not able to attend an event that Rev was invited to, he'll usually have the next handlers in line, know as the Second Dog and Third Dog, take Reveille instead.
"When your Rev's handler, everything else takes back seat for a year, regardless of who you are," Smith said.
As mentioned, the handler’s supreme responsibility is to always keep Rev safe and supervised. No matter where he goes, whether it's class or back home to visit his family, Rev will always be seen with her handler.
There's no one else on campus that holds as much power as Reveille, with the exception of the President and other prominent leaders, so whatever Rev wants, she gets. For example, Reveille attends every class with her handler, and if she barks while the professor is teaching, tradition says the professor is to immediately dismiss class.
"She [Reveille] becomes so comfortable with you as her handler, but the one time that she did go to class with another handler she barked and the professor actually released the students from class," Smith said. "I used to have professors tell me before class to get her to bark because they wanted to be able to tell the stories themselves of when Rev was in their class and how they got to release their students early."
Looking back at the year spent as the handler for Reveille VIII, Smith said his experience was humbling but also mentioned that some of the best memories he made were when he took her back home to visit his family.
Reveille VIII is now going on her seventh year as the mascot of Texas A&M. After she is retired and is able to enjoy the rest of her days as a regular dog, she will join the other Reveilles who have gone before her at the north entrance of Kyle Field, where she will be buried facing the scoreboard so she can always watch her Aggies outscore their opponents.
"Rev is the definition of the Aggie Spirit," Smith said. "She's always so kind and spreading the Aggie Spirit, and after all the changes the university has undergone she still continues to be the same Reveille Aggies will always remember."