WASHINGTON -- It was unlike most Washington receptions: senators and congressmen were there, but the celebrity most in demand Tuesday was a panting short guy who flew up from Georgia in a private jet to be with his admirers.
Uga VI, the bulldog with a fan base that tops any other representative of the University of Georgia, was in his element.
"I've always been upstaged," gushed Vince Dooley, now in his 39th year working for the university, first as football coach, then as athletic director.
"That was part of the contract when I arrived. I was always behind Uga. When Herschel (Walker) won the Heisman Trophy, Uga was there. Each generation of Uga has its special moments."
Tuesday's star is the sixth-generation white bulldog to wear the red-and-black jacket celebrating Georgia's athletic teams, known as the Bulldogs.
Upon arriving at the reception for Washington area Georgia alumni in a Senate office building, Uga spent several minutes panting and drinking water in the hallway, attracting quite a crowd even without his specially tailored football jersey with the block-letter G.
"He's just a little hot," said Savannah owner Cecelia Selier, whose family has raised all six Ugas, spanning more than 40 years. "We thought we'd let him cool off before we put his sweater on."
Once dressed, Uga was ready to meet the masses - about 200 alums were there - or let the masses meet him.
"He was probably the best looking one in the picture," Texas Sen. Phil Gramm said after being photographed alongside Uga and Georgia Sen. Zell Miller, a fellow Bulldog alumnus.
Although university president Michael Adams has been in town for some other things, such as pressuring lawmakers to support research projects sought by the school, he said he is well aware of who the university's most bullish lobbyist is. Adams wasn't the only attendee to note that Uga VI has a somewhat more impressive build than Uga V.
"He's bigger and stronger than his predecessors already," Adams said.
Although only 3 1/2 years old, Uga VI is already in his fourth University of Georgia season.
"When you need 'em, they're there," Selier said.
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