Where is Caesar Dawgustus? This is the most important question you will hear today in downtown Athens. The famous Bulldog statue all decked out in his resplendent Roman imperial trappings is no longer solidly occupying the corner of College Avenue and Broad Street in beautiful downtown Athens.
Where has he gone? Did some of those nutty kids from Alabama, Florida, South Carolina or Auburn abscond with him?
Do you know how many thousands of fine upstanding rock-like students and fans of the University of Georgia have posed with Caesar Dawgustus? You can’t just toss off losing Georgia’s favorite bulldog statue with total silence. Don’t you know he was a bigger attraction for Georgia fans than the sacred arches? Athens had no greater visitor attraction than Caesar Dawgustus.
Rumor had it that the big Dog had to go. There were too many people falling over him. Even sober people were getting tripped up in the masses who rushed to his side for the ultimate UGA photo op. Then there are the big drinkers. There’s no telling how many boys and girls wound up with bad sprains after having one too many and then posing for pictures while unsteadily wobbling on the poor Dog’s back.
Another rumor that surfaced concerns the liability the City of Athens might have for creating what Uncle Ben said used to be called an “attractive nuisance” right in the middle of one of the town’s busiest corners. If you create the attraction that causes injuries to others even though they were the ones acting the fool, you might have to pay for the damages.
Uncle Ben says you could alleviate that problem by stationing a large policeman on the corner with the Bulldog and have him lightly tap the drunks with a billy club. Then the cop could always claim the drunk attacked him. Uncle Ben says a little clubbing never hurt a drunk and it teaches them how to better comport themselves when out in public.
Uncle Ben has strange ideas and talks funny like that sometimes. That’s why Aunt Kay and I did not take him with us when we went to town looking for the Bulldog statues.
Uncle Ben did share with us the story that is probably the closest to the truth about the thinning out of the Bulldog statues. He said the statues were actually put in place about ten years ago by The Athens-Oconee Junior Woman’s Club. It was a big fund raising effort for the club and they called it, “Who Let the Dawgs Out.”
They ended the project in 2010 and some of the statues were sold to the highest bidders. Their auction raised in excess of $20,000.00 for AIDS Athens.
Uncle Ben said he read that 36 Bulldogs were originally placed in spots around Athens and when they were moved about 40 dogs were relocated but quite a few are still around Athens. You have to go looking for them.
And that is exactly what Aunt Kay and I did. We rode around town until we had found 14 of the big boys and she took my picture with every one of them.
The great news is Caesar Dawgustus is still with us. You can find him out on the Atlanta Highway in the showroom of Phil Hughes Honda and boy is he pampered. I’ll bet not one drunk has fallen over him since he has been in his new home.
Now if Uncle Ben can figure out how to get Caesar’s picture (with me of course) on this blog, you too can see him.