Posted by Allen Reed on www.theeagle.com on Friday, May 31, 2013 at 1:15 am
The former First Lady of Aggieland passed away Thursday morning.
the American Collie who served as Texas A&M's mascot from 2001 to 2008,
succumbed to a respiratory complication at about 10 a.m., said Dr. Stacy Eckman,
the A&M veterinarian who had served as Reveille VII's
primary caregiver. She was 12-and-a-half-years old.
The 70-pound purebred was admitted to the Small Animal Clinic at the
College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences on Tuesday morning and
had emergency surgery that afternoon. Caregivers said Reveille VII seemed
to be recovering well from pneumonia-like symptoms on Wednesday and that the
Thursday downturn was sudden and unexpected.
"Up until Tuesday morning, she was very healthy," Eckman
said. "There were minor medical problems, but overall she was very healthy
and had a good quality of life. It came on very suddenly, and she had a whole
team of doctors here working on her, but in the end the best decision was made
Eckman said large dogs like collies typically live about 12 to 15
immediate family, caregivers Tina and Paul Gardner of College Station, said she
was beautiful and at peace when she passed.
"We've been married 46 years, and we've always had at least one
dog, if not two," said Tina Gardner. "Each dog, just like each
person, has its own personality. She really was a hoot. She was the most loyal,
loving dog. She never ever once had it to where she was not the queen, the
first lady and had a regal look about her. She always carried herself that
To thousands of Aggies, she was a former five-star general and the
highest-ranking member of the Corps of Cadets. To the Gardners, who took care
of Reveille after
her 2008 retirement, she was a loving and caring pet. She wasn't too fond of
lawn mowers, golf carts or skateboarders, but was clever and a big fan of food.
She even swiped some candy and people-food she shouldn't have a time or two.
"She was a great eater," Gardner reminisced.
loved being a part of the Aggie family, Gardner said, but acknowledged that the
public appearances and job duties were sometimes stressful for the former
mascot. The retired life, she added, was much more relaxing.
"If you think about it truly, that's not a dog's natural
life," Gardner said of the mascot's former duties. "It got too
stressful for her, and that's why she got retired at a younger age. She was
with us one or two days, and there was a noticeable difference."
Gardner choked up a few times when talking about the beloved pet and
said that she appreciated the outpouring of support from the community and the
"We loved her so much," Gardner said. "It was a
prestigious honor to have her in our home."
Brig. Gen. Joe Ramirez, commandant of the Corps of Cadets, said the
death was a loss felt by the entire Aggie family.
"She represents our school, our tradition and what this university
is all about," Ramirez said. "Anytime we lose a Reveille, it's a
significant emotional event for all of us ... For those of us who are Aggies
and wear the ring, it's like losing a member of our family."
Most details about the memorial service are unknown, but Reveille VII will
share a view of the Kyle Field scoreboard for each home football game, along
with the former Reveilles
buried at the north end zone. Gardner said Reveille VII will
likely have a full military funeral at Kyle field, similar to her predecessors,
and that the memorial might be held in the fall, when students return from
their summer vacations.
University officials said memorial service details will be announced as
soon as they are finalized.