This story originally ran in The Bengal in December of 2012. Bristol has since been joined at ISU by his little sister, Pokie.
Students who regularly attend Idaho State University football games have most likely seen Bristol the border collie hard at work.
Bristol the Football-Tee Fetchin’ Dog attends all ISU home football games and fetches the tees. He also does work for local high schools and makes appearances at events he is requested to attend.
Bristol’s “parents,” Caroline and Brent Faure, are both huge football fans and athletic trainers for local high schools. Both are affiliated with ISU.
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“I kind of feel like a parent who has a kid playing soccer,” said Caroline Faure. “We have to travel because the dog has a game. It’s really fun for us.”
Faure recalls growing up watching the New Orleans Saints who had a dog fetch the tees during games.
“I was always thinking ‘Oh, some day I want a dog who can go get the tee at football games,’” said Faure.
Faure said Bristol has been an incredibly intelligent dog since he was a puppy.
“He had, you know, 50 different toys and he knew them all by name as a puppy,” said Faure. “We’d say ‘Bristol, go get this’ and he’d bring back the right toy.”
One day, Faure and her husband were at little league football and decided to try to teach Bristol to fetch a tee.
“We just taught him ‘Bristol, this is a tee,’ and we told him to stay, and I put the tee on the field and came back and said ‘Go get the tee’ and that was literally all it took,” recalled Faure.
Three days later, Faure and her husband took Bristol to a practice at Highland High School where the varsity team was scrimmaging. The coach agreed to let Bristol fetch the tee.
It went well and Faure said that in four days, Bristol went from being a regular dog to a college athlete.
“The next day he did the freshman game at Highland, the day after that he did the JV game at Highland, the day after that he did the varsity game at Highland and the day after that he did the ISU game,” recalled Faure.
Since then, Bristol has become somewhat of a celebrity at ISU and in the Pocatello area as a whole. He as even had a few inquiries from NFL teams who Faure said will remain unnamed for the time being.
“Everybody really embraced it, I think, at ISU and within the school district. It was a fun thing to do and it’s stayed fun,” said Faure. “[Bristol] has a good time, it stimulates him, he’s totally focused on the game, he knows what his job is and he takes his job very seriously.”
Faure said Bristol knows which team he’s rooting for because he cheers by barking really loudly when ISU does something well. He also gets down and growls and “talks some trash” as Faure calls it, when the other team makes a tackle.
When Bristol fetches for high school games, Faure said he is an “equal-opportunity dog” and barks for both teams.
“He knows when people are cheering for him, too,” added Faure.
Faure said Bristol gets “a little bit of extra swagger” when he goes out on the field and people are cheering for him.
According to Faure, Bristol is a sports-junkie.
“Anything with a ball or sports-related, he loves,” said Faure. “When we leave the house everyday, he watches ESPN all day.”
Bristol is actually named after ESPN, based in Bristol, Conn. and Faure’s immediate goal is to get Bristol featured on ESPN.
Recently, Faure bought Bristol a basketball hoop.
“I took him outside with the hoop and started throwing the ball in the air and he knew exactly what to do,” said Faure. “He was using his nose to tip the ball up in the air, Air-Bud style, and on his third attempt he made it.”
When asked if Bristol had any appearances planned for basketball season, Faure said that it’s been talked about but there are still too many logistics to be worked out to say for sure if anything will happen.
“The athletes love him, the students seem to like him. He even has his own little Facebook fan-base, said Faure.”
“The way I see it is it’s not about my dog,” explained Faure. “It’s about creating a cool environment for ISU athletics because those kids play hard out there and maybe our football team doesn’t win every game that they play, but they play just as hard as anyone else does in a uniform.”
Faure continued, “I am such a die-hard ISU Bengal fan and supporter that I just want to do anything that can be done to create that environment and I think Bristol has helped to do that. He makes it fun and it’s just one more tiny piece of the puzzle that makes ISU athletics such a positive thing.”
To follow Bristol on Facebook and to see a video of his basketball skills, visit him on Facebook at www.facebook.com/FetchTheTee.