CARBONDALE - Two of the nation's foremost boosters of Saluki dogs are joining forces to promote and protect the special breed.
Southern Illinois University Carbondale, the only institute of higher learning that has the Saluki as its mascot, and the Saluki Club of America, an all-volunteer organization that advocates for the breed, have formed a partnership to mutually engage in communication, education and social activities.
SIUC Chancellor Walter V. Wendler and Jay Kappmeier, a member of the Saluki Club, signed an agreement Saturday after the SIUC homecoming parade.
Wendler said the partnership would be a natural fit. University officials hope the five-year agreement would increase awareness of the Saluki breed among faculty, students and alumni as well as bring an increased presence of Saluki dogs at SIUC events.
"We're very pleased to team up with the Saluki Club of America in this effort to bring greater awareness and reverence for the Saluki," Wendler said. "We anticipate a great many benefits to flow from this arrangement, which can only bring good things for the university."
The university adopted the Saluki as its mascot in 1951 after students voted to replace the previous name, "Maroons." Support for the switch stemmed from the Southern Illinois region being referred to as "Egypt" and the dog's well-documented place in ancient Egyptian society.
Kappmeier said the pact would help the Saluki Club of America place the dogs with responsible owners while increasing its profile at SIUC.
"The Saluki Club of America is interested in making sure these dogs are not over bred and go to good homes," Kappmeier said. "As more interest grows in the breed because of the national success of SIUC, both academically and athletically, we're interested in providing information about the dogs and good breeders to students, faculty and alumni."
Story by by Jason Lee, The Southern
To reach the Saluki Club of America:http://www.salukiclub.org/