A member of Beaver Lake Middle School will be gone from campus but never forgotten as she is set to be immortalized in bronze.
As the official mascot of the school, Buddy 2.0 the bulldog has been a fixture at the school throughout the 12 years of her lifetime (and before her time, her predecessor Buddy 1.0 reigned supreme for 13 years).
This June, however, Buddy and her owner Patrick Ford, who teache P.E. and industrial education, will both retire from their duties.
Over two dozen years ago, Beaver Lake students voted to name the Bulldogs as the school’s mascot (other options included the Dragons and the Cobras). Ford, thinking his wife wouldn’t agree, joked that he should get a live mascot for the school. To his surprise, she said, “That’s a great idea.”
“I put my foot in it and we got a bulldog,” he laughed.
Since then, Buddy has accompanied her owner to school every day, where she has been the hit of the gym and shop classroom. Although parents need to sign a permission form for Buddy to be allowed throughout the campus (rather than just in Ford’s classrooms), Ford said that over the past dozen years, 100 percent of parents have signed.
“They just buy in, and Buddy is cool,” he said.
Every day before school, Buddy spends time getting petted by her fans in the commons, and she has been known to come out and show her school spirit at events like bingo and trivia nights.
“It’s been therapeutic for me just to be 3 feet from her with all this love pouring on her for decades,” Ford said.
To remember Buddy, Ford commissioned a bronze statue of the beloved pooch to be made by artists Katrina Toft and Ed Kroupa of Two Ravens Studio in Tacoma, the studio that created the bronze “Ivan the Gorilla” statue for Point Defiance Zoo.
However, immortalizing Buddy in bronze does not come cheap. Ford is using fundly.com to raise the $8,000 needed for the statue by mid-June, when it is set to be placed at the school. So far, only $2,500 has been raised.
Several contributors to the cause have expressed their love for Buddy and appreciation of Ford’s efforts in bringing her to the school.
“Beaver Lake is near and dear to my heart … I remember Buddy 1.0 and how he and Patrick Ford brought spirit to our school!” Lynn Pitts commented on the fundraiser web page. “Long live Buddy!”
Mandy Brown commented that Buddy has made “an amazing impact” on the Beaver Lake community.
“We love you Buddy!” Penni Ling wrote on the web page. “You have touched so many children’s lives and given so much love and happy memories to us all. You will forever be our Bu.”
Ford said that he hopes that news of the fundraiser will reach the original students who voted for the mascot in the early 1990s, and who have since moved away from the area.
“I would’ve never been a bulldog person if it wasn’t for Beaver Lake Middle School.”
To contribute, visit fundly.com and search “Legacy bronze statue of Buddy 2.0 the school mascot.”