SAN DIEGO — The distinctive voice familiar to Shelter Island denizens sings no more.
Stella, devoted companion of Yacht Docktor Randy Spicer, crossed the Rainbow Bridge July 7, following slowly declining health. While suffering from severe arthritis for many years, she succumbed to kidney failure, he explained. She was 15 or 16.
The golden-haired rescue of indeterminate breed, beloved by so many Shelter Island regulars, was renowned for her enthusiastic howls as Spicer drove their truck – with Stella’s name emblazoned on the passenger’s door – along Shelter Island Drive.
“They hear her as we go by” prompting smiles from friends, Spicer reported when Stella was profiled in The Log two years ago.
Stella had an extensive fan club, whose leaders, locals Warren Foy and Mary Kelley-Foy, dubbed her “the jewel of Shelter Island.” They enjoyed seeing her on their daily dog walks.
Far more than “just a dog,” Stella was Spicer’s publicist, marketer, company secretary, entertainment, conversationalist, beloved friend and therapist, he said. Sunroad San Diego Boat Show goers will remember Stella as the friendly badge-wearing greeter who lured potential customers into Spicer’s marine carpentry booth, encouraging them to linger for canine conversation.
She joined him on visits to local businesses – many kept her favorite treats on hand – and to customers. At marinas she politely found a shady spot on the dock to snooze while her “dad” worked on boats.
When returning to the office she made her rounds to see her devoted followers along Shelter Island Drive. Highly attuned to rhythms of life on the island, she watched for the daily arrival of Moody’s Food Truck at Shelter Island Boatyard, ambling over to see truck operator Emilio Godoy, who treated her to a freshly cooked sausage patty. Recognizing the end was near, Spicer took her for final visits the week before her passing, while other admirers stopped in for final goodbyes.
Stella was Spicer’s constant companion and beloved Shelter Island character for 14 years, ever since they’d bonded at a Balboa Park rescue event when she was about a year-and-a-half or two years old.
With so much attention devoted to the health of his “special needs child” over the last two years, the grieving Spicer doesn’t know how he’ll fill the hole the extraordinary Stella left in his life.
“I’m going to have to rediscover Randy,” he said.
Visit Stella’s memorial at 2390 Shelter Island Drive, #109, San Diego.