Gone to the Dogs

Dr. Clifton W. Potter, UofL History Professor~

pupsFrom time to time the University of Lynchburg has gone to the dogs—at least in my memory. I well recall Trooper, a large black and white spaniel who guarded his mistress, Margaret Candler ’60, whenever she was on campus. She was a town student whose family lived on College Street.

Margaret was chosen as one of the ten best dressed college women in the United States by Seventeen Magazine, but as far as I know, she was the only one with a four-legged escort who never left her. If you saw Trooper on the steps of Hopwood Hall, you knew that Margaret was in class. I do not know how Bill Reed ’62, ever got close enough to Margaret Candler to ask her to marry him, but he did, and they have lived happily ever after.

Dr. M. Weldon Thompson, who taught at the College from 1947 until his retirement in 1974, fancied pug dogs. His shadow was named Dulce, and she had a daughter named Chica. Neither dog liked me. Dr. Thompson would often visit Dr. Walter Wineman, whose office was next to mine. Dulce would always accompany her master to protect him. This eight-pound spitfire usually posted herself in front of my office where she would sit and growl. If I moved she would advance into the room as if she intended to bite me on the leg. At this point I would growl at her, and she would back into the hall. When I growled at her and spat like a tomcat she would flee to the safety of her master’s arms. I used the same routine on Chica with the same results.

Iva Campbell Burford ’72, came to work in the bookstore in 1958, accompanied by Inky, her black cocker spaniel. Although already advanced in years, Inky could not permit his mistress to walk all the way from Lakewood Street alone, so he was always was with her until the day he died. Inky was the closest thing we have had to a “greeter.” You could not enter the bookstore without encountering Inky. When he broke his left front leg, he was showered with get well cards. I never heard Inky bark, he just looked perpetually worried.

We have raised two tri-colored Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Jolly Roger—alias Pumpkin—and Samuel Pepys, who was called Sam. This is the sporting breed of dogs that King Charles II of England (1649-1685) made popular. Each year when I taught The Stuart Century or England since 1603, I brought Pumpkin (1968-1972) or Sam (1998-2008) to class. They kissed everybody in turn before assuming an honored place at the front of the classroom—after all they were descendants of royal dogs. I miss them both very much.

Over the years there have been many more dogs on campus who have made their contributions to college life—especially the companion canines who have earned their degrees along with their masters and mistresses. They were the only dogs allowed t live in the dorms; there were no such restrictions on goldfish! At one point in the history of the College there were dozens of them living in the dorms, but that is another story.