Pantheon of bizarre Philadelphia bureaucratic mascots about to get even more bizarre

Please note: This article is published as an archive copy from Philadelphia City Paper. My City Paper is not affiliated with Philadelphia City Paper. Philadelphia City Paper was an alternative weekly newspaper in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The last edition was published on October 8, 2015.
Pantheon of bizarre Philadelphia bureaucratic mascots about to get even more bizarre

The ranks of Curby Buckett, Safety Paws and other city government mascots you've never heard of, will soon grow by one as the Philadelphia Water Department searches for a new "spokesdog" (ha ha, get it? DOG!).

It gets even better: it could be your hideous pooch that graces the cover of glossy PWD intra-office brochures, threatening collection letters, PSAs about the dangers of excessive water consumption and whatever the hell else a utility company would need a mascot for.

An ad that has been appearing on, and which contains at least one poop joke, is searching for dogs with the right "scruff" (ha ha ha) that also, oddly, happens to reside in either University City or Fitler Square.  Bougie dogs only, please.

The new demadogue (too far?) will be the latest in a city with a proud array of obscure and questionable mascots for various municipal offices.

Curby Bucket, the Streets Department's anthropomorphic recycling bin mascot, is perhaps the most well-known, purely for the fact that he is real (even though their website ominously states that he cannot speak, presumably the ultimate fate of all who chronically recycle) and appears at the occasional government function, or maybe as a really disappointing replacement for a college commencement speaker. Curby sometimes appears in conjunction with Sun Ray, mascot of the Philadelphia More Beautiful Committee. (See, below, from Streets' UnLitter Us Flickr page.)

Philly Spring Cleanup One Month Countdown Event 008

At least the Streets Department sprang for a horrifying costume. SEPTA's safety mascot, imaginatively named Safety Paws, will be well known to subway riders.  He is a cartoony canine conductor, who has sadly been "dogged" (HA HA HA) by his own crippling substance abuse.

He often appears in weird crossover adverts with "Gentry," the Philadelphia Fire Department's pro-gentrification pooch (officially out of synonyms for "dog"), who is actually a total ripoff of "Sparky," the National Fire Association's official fire prevention, uh, dog.

It's no easy task living in the shadow of the world's greatest mascot, but neither is surviving the rollercoaster of fame. We at the City Paper know all too well about the price of having a famous pet, and can only caution our University City and Fitler Square readers/pet owners about entering the PWD contest.

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