Saturday, Jun 23, 2018

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Rufus reading card

Rufus reading Christie's card

Photo courtesy of: E. Tyson Schweitzer

Rufus places card on heart

Rufus places Christie's card on his heart after reading it and being filled with emotion

Photo courtesy of: E. Tyson Schweitzer

Rufus with Schweitzer kids

Rufus poses with Christie and Derek Schweitzer at football game

Photo courtesy of: E. Tyson Schweitzer

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Rufus the Bobcat makes a new friend

Mascot provides special moment for young fan

Ohio University's mascot Rufus is more than just a mascot for the athletics teams -- he’s also a symbol of the Bobcat community whose presence can make a lasting impression on those who admire him.

E. Tyson Schweitzer said his daughter Christie and son Derek had fallen in love with Rufus during the season. He said his daughter was so enamored with Rufus that she made him a card telling him how much she loved him. She also wrote a song for him and wrote in her card that they both are missing their two front teeth.

Schweitzer said his daughter had been looking forward to the Bobcats football game against University of Louisiana Lafayette all week so that she could meet Rufus and give him the card. When the opportunity finally came, Christie proudly presented the card to Rufus.

"Rufus took the time to read the card and listen to her explain what it meant. He gave her a hug and mimed how much he loved the card and that it brought a tear to his eye," Schweitzer said.

Rufus, who was being played that day by a student who wishes to remain anonymous, said that meeting Christie was one of the most heartfelt moments he has experienced since becoming the mascot and that the moment he shared with her is what makes being the mascot worthwhile.

"I've come into contact with other people that love Rufus, but Christie takes the cake," he said. "The admiration of Christie makes me want to do my best and expend all the energy I have every time I have the suit on."

After receiving the card and posing for a few photos with Christie and her brother, Rufus returned to the field to cheer on the Bobcats. But before getting back to the cheering he showed his coach and fellow cheerleaders Christie’s card.

Little did Rufus know that Christie and her family were still watching him.

"Rufus had no way of knowing that we could see him; he could have easily dismissed the entire interaction and thrown the card into the trash," Schweitzer said. "Rufus demonstrated great character and has created a memory that I’m certain Christie will cherish for many years to come."

Rufus added that his role as mascot has exceeded all expectations.

"I love what I do and I am going to live this experience to its max," he said.