Meet Growley II (call sign "Tank")

Growley II

Growley II, a 3-year-old yellow Labrador, is the canine ambassador for the Corps of Cadets.

He arrived on campus in fall 2016 from Ciao Bella Retrievers of Troutville, Virginia, where he excelled throughout extensive service dog training. 

Dr. Lara Bartl of the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine is his official veterinarian.

Supported by Virginia Tech President Tim Sands, Vice President of Student Affairs Patty Perillo, and Vice President for Administration Sherwood Wilson, the Corps received permission, under Virginia Tech Policy 5000, for Growley II to reside with his cadet handlers in Pearson Hall. 

Request an appearance

To request an appearance at your event, email Please include the following:

  • Date and time of your event
  • The organization hosting the event
  • The type of event it is
  • The length of time you'd like Growley II to be there
  • Why you'd like Growley II to be there
  • Your contact information

Social Media

Follow Growley II on Instagram. He's @VTGrowley.

Why Growley?

A man by the name of “Growley” Schultz ran the mess hall in the early 1900s. According to folklore, he didn’t have a very sunny disposition. Students called the food he served “growley,” and eventually first-year cadets who announced the time until the morning formation would call “minutes to growley.”

Another piece of folklore centers around a dog that was either owned by a Depression-era commandant or adopted by cadets of that era. Cadets would hold a bit of “growley” back from their meals to ensure that the dog had enough to eat.

Fast-forward to present day. When the cadets’ initiative to add a four-legged ambassador to our ranks took shape, they maintained the connection to Growley and the past.

A History of Service

Service dogs have a long tradition in the military and at senior military colleges.

In the military, a number of four-legged heroes serve alongside men and women around the world. 

Such ambassadors also can be found today at the remaining senior military colleges in the country, including Texas A&M, The Citadel, and Virginia Military Institute.