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Tuesday, Nov 24th

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Bulldog Travelin’ Jack lends a paw in Gallup

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USMC Corporal Jack raises funds for Toys for Tots

Meet United States Marine Corps Corporal Jack, better known as Travelin’ Jack, the mascot of the Delta Company of the USMC Reserves in Albuquerque. He’s an 85-pound purebred Olde English Bulldogge, and the adorable face who helps Toys for Tots, a local charity program that collects and distributes new, unwrapped toys during the holidays to children throughout McKinley County.

Travelin’ Jack left his mark, so to speak, Dec. 8 at the Comfort Suites, 3940 E. Hwy 66 in Gallup, when he lent a paw to promote Toys for Tots.

This was Jack’s second year at the Gallup event, where he helped raise funds by inspiring folks to donate unwrapped toys for local boys or girls this coming Christmas holiday.

Comfort Suites General Manager Ken Riege said the event has been a success over the past two years, and having Jack and his owner Jill Lane come out is a treat.

Riege, who has been with the Gallup Comfort Suites for the past 10 years, said the toys collected will stay in Gallup to benefit local children.

Riege has worked in the hospitality business for 14 years, but he’s also an Air Force veteran who served from 1985 to 1993.

He met Lane a few years ago and thought it would be great to have Cpl. Jack visit the hotel.

“We’re very pleased to have Corporal Jack and his handler Jill here with us,” he said. “We’ve had guests and several businesses donate toys, which was great, and even some chapter houses as well. It’s been a huge success, and we’re glad to help out.”

As a veteran, Riege proudly displays many service-related items at the Comfort Suites — and Jack adds to the honors on display.

“People ask me why I have all these memorabilia here,” Riege said. “I do it to honor veterans, and family of veterans, and Jack being here is another way to honor Marine veterans.”

Lane, who has owned the now 10-year-old Corporal Jack since he was 7 months old, referred to herself as “chauffeur, personal chef, agent/scheduler, and [the person] who is at the end of [Jack’s] leash.” In other words, she said, she handles all of Travelin’ Jack’s needs and affairs.

The beloved bulldog was at first a model, attending photo shoots for magazines and television segments, but when the opportunity arose for him to become the mascot for the Marines — the Marines’ mascot is, after all, a bulldog  — he jumped (literally) at the opportunity.

“Jack decided to do his civic duty and do his part for the Marines,” Lane said. “[Marines] say that they would love to have him and that’s how he got selected. Since then, he has been active for Toys for Tots.”

Lane said Jack loves to travel and visit businesses — he embodies the belief that no pet should be left behind while people go on vacation.

Lane likes to tell of places you can go with your pet and engage in fun activities. Jack, who was a shelter dog, brings awareness about adopting shelter pets and has helped raise more than $25,000 dollars for animal shelters all over the state.

When asked how his trip to Gallup had been, Jack said: Not so “ruff!”

For more information on Travelin’ Jack, find him on Facebook. Contact Ken Riege at (505) 863-3445. Find Toys for Tots on Facebook.

By Dee Velasco
For the Sun