This morning, the university received an all school email from Beth Doolittle, informing everyone that our bulldog mascot of the past seven, Thurber, has passed away. The heart wrenching news was first announced by several University of Redlands instagram accounts, before Beth Doolittle sent out the following message, making it official.
It is with a heavy heart that I write to let you know that we lost our Thurber yesterday afternoon. I can’t thank you enough for the outpouring of love and support you have shown us, especially for the amazing Commencement the students organized on Monday afternoon. Seeing the hundreds of you there to thank him for his service to the University was absolutely incredible and, I can tell you, he could feel your love.
Our Mascot-in-Training, Addie, will assume as many of Thurber’s mascot duties as her age will allow and she will be officially installed at a home basketball game in January.
Thank you again for all the love you’ve shown to Thurber and to me. You have demonstrated the true heart of Redlands Bulldogs.
Since hearing the news, the university has been grieving their loss. Thurber had become a dear friend of most of the student body, and the thought of not seeing him once more is difficult to grapple with. The following is a collection of quotes from University of Redlands students who are thinking of Thurber on this difficult day.
Allison Sherry, sophomore
“My initial reaction to Thurber’s death was sadness, especially for Beth Doolittle and her daughters because I know how hard it is to lose a pet. They truly are family members and Thurber had such a big personality and was such a celebrity on this campus and in this community that I knew this would be an especially hard loss for her. After my initial reaction, I was happy for Thurber because I know he is not suffering anymore. There is a fantastic poem called ‘The Rainbow Bridge’ that I think everyone who loses a dog should read. Thinking of that poem gave me hope for Thurber in doggie heaven.
I really enjoyed having Thurber as a mascot because he created a sense of family and was something tangible that all students could love. I thought it was really special to have him at so many types of University events as a support to students and faculty, but also as a representation of what we all are: Bulldogs! I never spent as much time with Thurber as I have with Addie, but Thurber was my ‘closer’ for sure, I committed to the U of R immediately after meeting him on Admitted Students Day.
I will miss Thurber’s personality, his tricks, his costumes, and his ability to turn heads. He was a very sweet pup and everyone was a fan. I especially enjoyed seeing the crowds gather as he was walked, ever so slowly, around campus.”
Matt Gubbins, freshman
“Thurber was the first thing I encountered on campus. He was a fat little bundle of sunshine.”
Anthony Gutierrez, sophomore
“I was shocked, sad, confused, however I know with Thurber’s condition he must’ve been in a lot of pain and now that he has passed on he is also away from the pain. It was crazy because it was the day after his graduation. So I think a lot of people were a little shocked to hear it was the day after that he passed away.”
Honestly, Thurber wasn’t just a mascot. He was a friend, and kinda a celebrity, to all the people on campus. Seeing Thurber just put a smile on your face. He was always wanting to hang out with people and just be as much of a student here as any of us.
I’m gonna miss everything about Thurber. I don’t think the school is going to be the same without him. I know we have Addie now and I’m not saying she isn’t amazing, but I do think that it will feel different not seeing Thurber on campus at sporting events and walking around and stuff.”
Micah Soriano, junior
“R.I.P Thurber. You were so energetic and fun loving during basketball games while you chased the basketball around during halftime.”
Nori Patterson, junior
“When first hearing about Thurber’s death, I was instantly heartbroken. I cried because I felt that I had lost more than just a school mascot. It was as if I had lost my own dog. I started crying because he meant so much to me and knowing that I wouldn’t see his wrinkly face around anymore or get to hug him or feel him lick me hurt because now all I have left of him are the memories and I can’t create any more new ones with him.
One of the cool things about Redlands is that we have a live mascot. Thurber wasn’t just any dog. He was like Redlands’ own personal celebrity and whenever you saw him on campus, you had to take a photo with him. He was truly this campus’ Beyonce. Being an admissions host, I felt like I had personal backstage access to him because I could go visit him in the Willis center and hang out with him while the rest of the [school] only got a glimpse at him.
I’m going to miss having him around more than anything. I lost both of my dogs earlier this year, so I was really attached to Thurber because, for the first time in my life since I was three, I didn’t have a dog at home. Thurber made my college experience easier because whenever I missed my dogs at home, I could just go and see him. He was such a comfort to my life and always brought a smile to my face. Just thinking about not having him in my life anymore brings me to tears. I’m going to miss looking into his eyes and feeling like he knows how I’m feeling and our times hanging out in the back office of the Willis center hanging out on the floor. Things won’t be the same and I’m sad that I have to go the rest of the year without his kind face to greet me before I go on a tour.”
Lauren Rizzotto, junior
“You’ll never walk alone on the University of Redlands campus because Thurber will always be with us! My fondest memory of Thurber was having him walk up to the fence near Thurber Hall, and getting to pet him.”
Matt Sanders, junior
“I work in admissions, and my supervisor Janise Rick, trusted me to take him out, because he could get really aggressive with other dogs. But Thurber and I definitely developed a certain connection. It’s just sad that I won’t be able to see him again.
Sometimes, you couldn’t make him walk more than 20 feet, and other days he’d walk all the way to the freshman dorm and want to keep going. When he’d stopped, he just sit there and fall over on his back, and roll around on his back in the grass, especially when people were around. So adorable.
The thing about Thurber is that he’d light up people’s days. The smile on their faces is contagious. It was special to be part of that. Once we heard about his diagnosis, Janise actually invited me to go see him at Beth’s house. It was nice to get to say my goodbyes. He was doing great. He was so excited to see me, and recognized me and everything.”
Thurber, you will be truly missed by all of us at the Redlands Bulldog newspaper and the rest of the University of Redlands. We are so glad you had such a full life. You surely deserved it. Rest in peace, friend.