Continuing the Mission legacy with Mission III


Sean Reed

Mission III, the newest addition to the Huskie pack, walking around and meeting the NIU community for the first time on Friday at the Holmes Student Center. (Sean Reed | Northern Star)

DeKALB – Say hello to the newest member of our pack, Mission III. Mission III’s introduction was met with awe from the crowd as he said hello with some energetic barks. 

This three-month-old pup was introduced to the public at noon Friday in the Holmes Student Center Gallery Lounge. 

Mission III is from British Columbia, Canada, from breeder Debra Debalys. Mission III was chosen from a litter of snowdog parents. Lisa Boland, NIU’s live mascot trainer, said she knew he was the perfect choice when she met him in Toronto.

“We met in an airport in Toronto, and he was just smiling taking it all in,” Boland said. “I knew he was a perfect fit in every way.”

Mission III’s predecessor, Mission II, dialed back public appearances due to environmental allergies. It was decided care for him would be better in a private setting, so he will be retiring from his role as NIU’s live mascot.

“His (Mission II) health and happiness are everyone’s top priority, and we want to make sure he is happy,” Boland said.

Mission II will continue his role as NIU’s mascot in a mentor fashion to Mission III. Boland said Mission III’s training will be similar to that of other service animals, such as getting them used to large crowds and events. Mission III will step into his role as NIU’s live mascot after he’s completed this training and undergoes a changing of the collars ceremony.

“Having a live mascot is so unique to NIU,” said Amanda Haugk, an early childhood education junior. “Something that makes it great is the Huskie pride it gives. It’s a good way to bring the community together. After all, who doesn’t love a puppy?”

The NIU mascot program started in 2012, thanks to support from alumni John and Cassandra McKearn. NIU President Lisa Freeman expressed the morale boost the NIU Huskies bring. 

“I see the smiles he (Mission II) brings to students, his ability to lift spirits and spread joy,” Freeman said.

Members of NIU’s pack can expect to see their newest member during his training period as he gets used to his new settings. Due to his age and the winter weather, Mission III won’t be able to make many appearances around campus, but will make rounds Mondays at the Holmes Student Center.

To see NIU student opinions on the new live mascot being named Mission III, click here.