Meet Colonial Williamsburg’s lovable new mascot, a Briard puppy named Liberty.
This fall, Colonial Williamsburg welcomed the newest member of the historic team: Liberty, an adorable Briard puppy that will serve as the city’s new mascot.
“Even now as a puppy, Liberty has a great personality. Her special training will help her interact very well with people, especially special needs children,” says Barbara Brown, Colonial Williamsburg’s communications manager.
The decision to adopt a mascot came mainly as a response to the interactions that often occur between Colonial Williamsburg guests, specifically those with special needs, and the DoG Street dogs.
Duke of Gloucester (DoG) Street, fondly known as America’s Main Street, is a very dog-friendly area of the town. Originally nicknamed DoG Street by College of William & Mary students, the street is frequented by many of the city’s resident canines.
Liberty was introduced with her master, Gen. George Washington, on Sept. 17 at the Williamsburg Inn. In addition to being the General’s lovable companion, she is also training to become a therapy dog.
Fiercely loyal, dependable and friendly, Briard dogs were likely first brought over to Colonial America in the 18th century by Thomas Jefferson. The dogs were ideal for defending shepherds' flocks because of their loyal natures, intimidating size and tolerance for working long periods of time. Unlike many breeds that have been crossbred and changed in appearance and disposition over time, today’s Briards have remained much the same as their ancestors in 18th-century colonial America.
Once fully trained, Liberty will be escorted throughout Colonial Williamsburg by a costumed handler. Eventually, there will be a chip in her collar so that guests can track her movements about the city and meet up with her during their stay.
“Ever since Liberty has come to town, we’ve seen a positive effect on the community. At the event where she was introduced, 1,000 people came with their dogs,” Brown says. “People in this community love their animals, and we feel that having a dog as our mascot will just be a natural fit.”