Kohl—a black American field lab who retrieves the tee for Boise State’s football team—runs determined, but with a touch of lovable goofiness, as he accidentally drops the kickoff tee and goes back to pick it back up. His tail eagerly wags as he looks up towards his owner. A viral video of Kohl retrieving the kickoff tee at a recent game has been liked almost 400,000 times on Twitter.
Britta Closson is the proud owner and friend of Kohl. She is a professional dog trainer at Positive Pets Dog Training, a business located here in the Treasure Valley. Closson has owned Kohl for four years.
“Kohl is such a sweetheart, he has the best personality. He’s made me a better trainer,” Closson said.
Closson discussed the process that goes into training Kohl to retrieve items such as the kickoff tee.
“My dad originally trained Kohl to be a hunting dog. He has that drive in him to retrieve different items—he can even fetch car keys now,” Closson said.
Closson was not expecting the video of Kohl to go viral.
“I thought it was really crazy. I saw this one post that had two million views,” Closson said.
Not only does Kohl retrieve the kickoff tee at the football games, but he also retrieves the baseball bats at the Boise Hawks games.
According to Kyla Brede, the marketing director of Positive Pets Dog Training, they sponsor one of the Boise State basketball games each year where Kohl performs during the halftime show. Last year Kohl even made a basket during his show.
“We love going to games, they are so much fun,” Closson said.
Joe Nickell, the assistant athletic director/media relations at Boise State, said the University started the kickoff tee fetching tradition back in the early to mid-1990s. Boise State didn’t have a tee fetching dog for a while, but the tradition was brought back eight years ago.
Nickell has his own insight on why he thinks Kohl became so viral on social media.
“For one, I think people love dogs. But secondarily, I think it’s just something different–you don’t expect to see a dog retrieving a tee on a football field,” Nickell said. “Kohl fetching the kickoff tee seems to go viral at least once a year. ESPN will show it on the broadcast, and a new group of people that hadn’t seen it before makes it a national story all over again.”
Nickell explained more about the reactions Kohl has received at the games.
“Kohl is a borderline celebrity. This last week I heard the student section chanting about him. The ESPN broadcast crew was excited to see him, taking pictures with him and putting them on social media,” Nickell said.
According to Closson, Kohl also competes in dock jumping competitions. He can jump 23 feet off the docks.
“For those who have dogs, you can train a dog to do just about anything,” Closson said.
Kohl now has a Facebook page where you can keep updated on games or events he will be involved with.