Volume 43 | Number 2 | Fall 2013
Fall 2013 Issue | By Samantha Chaffin
The Bengal Newspaper
It's a brisk fall evening as fans file into Holt Arena on the campus of Idaho State University. The crowd's cheers grow louder and louder until they become almost deafening as the bright lights glare down onto the field. The game has begun.
Minutes later, the announcer cries, "First down, Bengals!" and the crowd goes wild, but some aren't entirely sure whether the wild cheers are for the Bengals' first down, or for the agile black and white border collie sprinting onto the field from the sidelines to fetch the tee—or maybe a bit of both.
People who regularly attend ISU 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 as requested.
Bristol's "parents," Caroline and Brent Fauré, are both huge football fans and athletic trainers for local high schools. Both are affiliated with ISU, where Caroline is an associate professor.
"I kind of feel like a parent who has a kid playing soccer," said Caroline Fauré. "We have to travel because the dog has a game. It's really fun for us."
Fauré 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."
Fauré 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 Fauré. "We'd say 'Bristol, go get this' and he'd bring back the right toy."
One day, Fauré 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 Fauré.
Three days later, Fauré 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 Fauré 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 Fauré.
"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 Fauré. "[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."
Fauré said Bristol knows which team he's rooting for because he cheers by barking really loudly when ISU does something well.
When Bristol fetches for high school games, Fauré said he is an "equal-opportunity dog" and barks for both teams.
Fauré said Bristol gets "a little bit of extra swagger" when he goes out on the field and people are cheering for him.
According to Fauré, Bristol is a sports-junkie.
"Anything with a ball or sports-related, he loves," said Fauré. "When we leave the house everyday, he watches ESPN all day."
Bristol is actually named after ESPN, based in Bristol, Conn. and Fauré's immediate goal is to get Bristol featured on ESPN.
"The athletes love him, the students seem to like him. He even has his own little Facebook fan base," said Fauré.
"The way I see it is it's not about my dog," explained Fauré. "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."
Fauré 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.