Colonial Williamsburg’s canine mascots Liberty and Justice will be retiring later this year.
The 3-year-old Briards, which were acquired in 2015, will finish out their third year on the job then be returned to their breeder, the foundation said on the Liberty mascot page of its website.
Colonial Williamsburg has no plans to adopt new mascots. The duo’s handlers will be offered new roles within the foundation.
Liberty and Justice’s final day on the job is yet to be determined, Colonial Williamsburg spokesman Joe Straw said.
“We invite the community and other guests to visit them on the streets of the Historic Area before they hang up their collars to savor their golden years,” the foundation said.
The decision to retire the two certified therapy dogs was based on multiple factors, including planned changes in services offered by the Briards’ long-term care and boarding provider, the foundation said.
The Briards were supposed to retire within the next two years, and are in “optimum” health, the foundation said.
Colonial Williamsburg says the contract between the foundation and the Briard breeder requires the dogs to be returned to the breeder once they retire.
From there, the breeder will find new homes for the dogs.
Straw, the foundation’s spokesman, declined to disclose how much Colonial Williamsburg paid for the dogs, the identity of their breeder and boarding provider and what specific changes prompted the decision to retire the dogs after three years.
“The top priorities for both the foundation and their breeder is the pair’s health, welfare and quality of life,” the foundation said on Liberty’s webpage.
After retirement, Colonial Williamsburg will shift its focus to other aspects of interpretation and guest experience, the Liberty page reads. The foundation plans to offer an enhanced Rare Breeds Program on 18th-century livestock varieties such as Leicester Longwool sheep, Devon and Durham cattle, and Cleveland Bay horses.
A date for the enhanced programming is yet to be announced.
“We encourage Liberty and Justice’s friends and fans to follow Colonial Williamsburg on Facebook and @colonialwmsburg on Twitter and Instagram for updates on their progress,” Straw said.