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Pets and Mascots

Why do humans keep pets? To answer this question, we could simply think of the reasons why we personally have had pets in our lives. We find them cute, we get a rush of endorphins when interacting with them, a feeling that can be quite addictive. Many of us keep a pet as a form of company, they are something we can love and care for, and they usually love us back. Sometimes we keep a pet for protection, like a guard dog. In some cultures, certain types of pets are kept as a form of status symbol. Historically, this was often the case with exotic animals. Certain breeds of animals, like dog breeds, are quite expensive and often only people with a large amount of disposable income can purchase these animals as pets. There are even competitions for showcasing these special breeds, dog shows are one form of competition that comes to mind, where pet owners can win a monetary prize and public recognition. Considering pets to be a part of the family is not a new phenomenon. There are countless photographs in archives where pets, such as cats, dogs, or ponies, are included in family portraits. Generations upon generations of people have loved their pets like family.

Animals have also been used as mascots, for commercial/advertising purposes, or for boosting morale. Advertisers have been using cute animals to sell products for many years. One example of an animal mascot we have in our archives is photographs of the mascot for the Woodstock Advanced Driving and Maintenance School (Woodstock A.D.M.S.), a dog owned by commanding officer Lt.-Col. R.B. Crouch. The dog was a Great Dane named “Blitz” and along with acting as a mascot, worked as a guard dog for Crouch. The A.D.M.S. was a militia training camp constructed on the Woodstock Fairgrounds during the Second World War, which offered training on driving and repairing military vehicles, as well as provided “battle landscapes” which mimicked the conditions soldiers were facing in Europe. The school also coordinated and hosted a variety of public events in support of civilian recruitment and the Victory Loan Campaign. Crouch’s dog appears in several photographs from the A.D.M.S. photo albums we have in our holdings.