A Dog’s Life

By on June 30, 2010
RoadKing Mag

Cameras flashed and people jostled to get a little closer, maybe even touch the star in their midst. Mack was unfazed. He stood right at his mark, never wavering in his pose as hundreds of fans took photos. When one of the many children in the crowd came in close, he never snapped at them. In fact, he enjoyed the attention, as they patted his head and shook his paw.

Mack, the bulldog mascot for Mack Trucks, is a natural when it comes to showbiz. But when the cameras turn off, his work collar comes off too. Once home, the first thing he does is grab his favorite toy, a pink, stuffed pig. Then he’s just plain-old Irv, who’s not really plain at all.

The 3-year-old American bulldog started his Mack career nearly two years ago. In a way, it’s a family business. His great-uncle Cavalier served an eight-year term as the Mack bulldog. Evelyn Heath, owner of both dogs brought Irv along to a photo shoot. He was just a puppy at the time, but Cavalier was about to retire, and Heath knew that Irv would be the perfect replacement.

“When I brought Irv to the photo shoot at John Ruth’s studio, they could see that he was flashy too. He is built like a Mack truck, just like Cavalier,” says Heath. “They all fell in love with him.”

Irv was hired. Soon the pictures taken that day were gracing Mack billboards all across the country. Now, Irv has a full schedule as the official Mack mascot. He regularly poses for photos for the company and will be featured in his first swimsuit issue this summer, for the Mack magazine, Bulldog. Drivers can find him at any number of trucking shows throughout the year. He also visits employees at various Mack facilities

“We like to bring Irv as Mack to the facilities,” says Dan Danko, director of marketing for Mack Trucks. “It really boosts everyone’s demeanor to meet Mack, pet him and bond with him.”

Irv does a good job holding up the Mack bulldog image, which is nearly 80 years old. The Mack bulldog has been an ornament on trucks since 1932 and has appeared in ads as early as the 40s. Mack trucks were coined “tough as bulldogs” by the British “Tommies” during World War I. And when the owner of Mack Trucks at the time, Alfred Masory, was staying in the hospital, he carved the first Mack ornament. Ever since, the bulldog has been the symbol for the truck company.

“He [Irv] is really carrying a legacy,” says Danko. “Mack means strength and confidence, what we portray with the Mack bulldog.”

When Irv isn’t busy with being Mack, he competes as a show dog — another way he has followed in Cavalier’s footsteps. He is a winner in that arena too. His full, show dog name, CH. AnGarda Majestic Emerald Eireannach, reflects Heath’s Irish heritage.

Though he doesn’t have a lot of down time, when it comes around he knows how to relax.

“Irv spends a lot of the time during the day sleeping,” says Heath. “He’s on a strict schedule but enjoys playing with his toys. His favorite treat is an orange Creamsicle.”

When he is traveling for Mack appearances or dog shows, Irv and Heath make many stops along the way. As soon as people see them, they grab Heath to say that Irv looks just like the Mack bulldog.

“I have to tell them that he really is the Mack bulldog,” explains Heath. “Then they all want photos with him and tell me how much they love him.”

If you missed out on Mack at MATS this year, don’t fret. Mack Trucks is launching a new fan site where fans can post their favorite Mack photos and see where Mack the Bulldog will be appearing next. For more information, visit www.macktrucks.com.

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