Wednesday, October 15, 2008

This hurt my heart

This comes from here. I've copied and pasted the article below.

I am a huge Tiger fan. I was born in Memphis and have lived here almost all of my life. I love watching Tiger basketball and football. I've been to football games and seen Tom II up close. Stood by his cage and let my girls see him. Hearing about this makes me so sad. If you check out the link, scroll down and click on the link to see pics of Tom II. He was a beautiful tiger.

University of Memphis Mascot, TOM II, Passes Away Wednesday

Oct. 15, 2008

Memphis, Tenn. - TOM II, the Bengal Tiger mascot of The University of Memphis, passed away this morning surrounded by those who loved him. He was 17 years old.

TOM, which stands for Tigers Of Memphis, was acquired as a kitten by Bobby Wharton and the late Ray Daniels of the Football booster group Highland Hundred in the fall of 1991 and was hand-raised by William P. "Nickie" Nixon at St. Nick's Farm. Wharton led the Tiger Guard, the Highland Hundred committee responsible for caring for TOM, for all 17 years of the Tiger's life.

"TOM was an important part of the University family for a long time, and we are devastated at his loss," Wharton said. "It was a privilege and a true labor of love to head this project. I will miss him dearly."

The Tiger Guard is solely responsible for funding the Tiger project; no University dollars were ever used in TOM's care and maintenance. He outlived all four of his siblings by a number of years, a testament to the level of care and love he received. He also far exceeded the life expectancy of a male tiger.

TOM II was recently diagnosed with cancer during an annual medical examination.

"We had a very close relationship with TOM," added Wharton. "Once it became evident that his quality of life would begin to suffer, and after consulting with our veterinary team, it became obvious that the right thing to do would be to allow him to pass on with dignity and without pain and suffering."

Wharton added that is was among the toughest decisions he has ever had to make. TOM II will be cremated, as was the original TOM in 1992.

The University of Memphis Athletic Department has already made arrangements for a permanent exhibit to honor all previous and future TOMs in the new Athletic Hall of Fame, which will begin construction this fall at the corner of Southern and Normal.

The Tiger Guard is already making arrangements to secure a new Tiger to serve as TOM III.

"The Tiger project is an important tradition and source of pride for The University of Memphis family dating back over 35 years, and we will honor the memory of TOM II by keeping the tradition alive," said Tiger Guard member Scott Forman, who will take over as the project chairman for TOM III. "It's part of what makes our University unique".

A memorial is planned for the Tigers' Homecoming game versus Southern Miss on October 25. The Tiger Guard asks that any memorials be sent to the Highland Hundred via the Tiger Football office at 136 Athletic Office Building, Memphis, TN 38152.


Anonymous said...

How sad :( Sounds like TOM had a wonderful life and was well loved!!

Paige said...

As how sad--I saw him once. RIP Tom II

Memphis Steve said...

17?! Holy cow .. holy cat, that's a good long life for a cat. I didn't know he had died. I'm sorry to hear it.

Sherry said...

Oh how sad huh? And what a beautiful tiger he was. I love the black and white photo of him, well all of them. So sorry !! said...

Oh, it's sad to lose a mascot, isn't it? Will they be able to acquire a new one?

Anonymous said...

Ok seriously, you and Kellie made me cry today.

It sounds like TOM II was well taken care of and as a person who used to work with big cats, it's nice to see a place memorialize him and treat him well.

SJ said...

Oh how sad.

Heather said...

That's so sad ;-(