Charles Seiler gestures to the framed photos on the walls of his den, a shrine to the Georgia Bulldogs. Pictures of Georgia legends from Herschel Walker to Nick Chubb form a panorama around the room, encircling the couch in decades of UGA lore.
“What you see on the walls is like a fifth of what I’ve got and I can’t tell you the stuff that my dad’s got,” Seiler said.
The tax bill for the house may say “Seiler” on it, but he is not the master of said house.
That honor belongs to Uga, Georgia’s bulldog mascot that stays on the sidelines for home games and with Seiler when he’s not performing mascot duties.
UGA faithful know him as one of the biggest celebrities on game day; a living, breathing symbol of Georgia football. Seiler knows him as, among other things, something of a pain.
“If he doesn’t want to do anything, if he doesn’t want to eat, doesn’t want to go there, doesn’t want to mess with you, he won’t. And that’s just the way he is.”
The bulldog – which is not actually known as Uga among family and friends – is a Seiler family tradition, going all the way back to 1956, when Charles’ parents Sonny and Cecelia met and married at UGA.
“They were given a white English bulldog as a wedding present,” Seiler said. “At a fraternity house one day after lunch and after drinking a few iced teas, everyone said ‘hey let’s take him to the game, let’s take him to the game.'”
Cecelia crafted a shirt for Uga with a felt “G” on the front. Georgia beat Florida State, 3-0, that day. A photographer took a picture of the bulldog in the stands, prompting then-head coach Wally Butts to ask Sonny if he could bring the dog to every game.
Ever since then, ten different bulldogs have been the Georgia mascot, all of them cared for by the Seiler family. Unlike the dozens of other live college mascots that are kept on the campus of a given college, Uga lives with the Seilers in Savannah as a pet.
On game days, provided that it’s not too hot, Seiler loads Uga into the back of his custom Chevrolet and drives him to Athens, where adoring fans take turns lining up next to his dog house for photos.
“Most people tell me that I’ve got the most famous feet in football because when they take a picture of the dog, my feet are in the shot.”
While everyone else is enjoying the gameday festivities, Seiler is carefully watching his dog.
“One of the biggest problems I have is that I’m always looking down at him. You just never know when a baby is going to poke him in the eye or someone is going to step on his foot,” Seiler said.
Between keeping Uga cool, dressing him and driving him to games, Seiler basically has another full-time job; a responsibility that he largely bears himself.
“He’s got a car that has to be cleaned. I’m always taking care of his shirts, packing him, cleaning him.
Seiler’s reward? The knowledge that Georgia’s most important gameday tradition is only possible because of his efforts.
Oh, and a loving pet.
“I’ve done it all my life. I don’t know any other way,” Seiler said.