Texas A&M University’s mascot that was retired in 2008, Reveille VII, died Thursday (May 30) after being hospitalized earlier in the week and undergoing emergency surgery at the Small Animal Clinic at the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences (CVM). She was 12 1/2 years old.
University and Corps of Cadets officials say plans for a suitable memorial service will be announced as soon as details can be finalized. University officials note in planning a suitable memorial service for Rev. VII, they will take into consideration the fact that most students will not return to school until the fall. When Rev. V died, whose death also occurred during the summer, the ceremony was deferred until after the start of the fall semester.
Texas A&M mascots are placed in the daily care of the Corps of Cadets’ Company E-2. Reveille is considered “the first lady of Aggieland” and the highest ranking member of the Corps.
Since being retired, Reveille VII had been living with Tina and Paul Gardner who reside in College Station. He is a 1966 Texas A&M graduate.
“Having Reveille VII with us for five glorious years has been one of the greatest things to happen to us during our 46 years of marriage,” Mr. and Mrs. Gardner said in a statement requested by university representatives. “Besides our son, Todd, and his family, wife Stacey, and our three precious grandchildren—Avery, Addison and Adam Gardner—Reveille VII was right up there in our hearts and eyes.”
Reveille VII was an American Collie, as is her successor, Reveille VIII, the university’s current mascot.
Dr. Stacy Eckman, the veterinarian who had cared for Rev. VII’s medical needs for the past two- and-a-half years, said the university’s retired mascot had been treated for several years for arthritis, as well as other conditions. She was joined by other CVM veterinarians and staffers when the retired mascot was brought in for treatment Tuesday.
Considering her age, Rev VII had been in relatively good health until Tuesday morning, Dr. Eckman said. She noted the average life span for a relatively large dog, such as a collie, is about 12-15 years.
“The Gardners took incredible care of Reveille VII the last five-and-a-half years and that certainly contributed to her longevity and exceptional quality of life,” Dr. Eckman said.
Mr. and Mrs. Gardner were asked by university officials to have Rev. VII live with them about five years ago. They have been actively involved with the Corps of Cadets, as well as other aspects of the university, for more than 40 years. Their son, Todd, is part of the Class of ’94 and was a member of Company E-2.
The couple established a fund in 1998 to help cover out-of-pocket expenses for the cadet in Company E-2 designated to be the mascot’s primary handler. Additionally, they established a $50,000 endowment for the benefit of the Small Animal Clinic at the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences “to give back to the university for the prestigious honor of taking care of Reveille VII during her retirement.”
The Tina and Paul Gardner Reveille VII Research Endowed Fund was established through the Texas A&M Research Foundation for basic science research. The couple invites others to make tax-deductible donations of any amount payable to the fund.