After being a Trinity icon for almost a year, Jurgens, the explosive detection canine named for 9/11 hero Paul Jurgens, left Trinity for good on Wednesday, Oct. 4 to continue her explosive detection training at Lackland Air Force Base, but not before a proper goodbye.
At 6:30 p.m., on Tuesday, Oct. 2, in the Fiesta Room, students, faculty and staff gathered for a joint going away party and birthday celebration.
“She is going to be a great bomb-sniffing dog,” said David Tuttle, dean of students and associate vice president for student affairs.
Tuttle and his family hosted Jurgens in their home during her stay at Trinity. When Jurgens wasn’t at the Tuttle’s house, she was playing, exercising with students or hanging out in Coates for her very own office hours. Between walk times with students, Jurgens spent her time with her daytime caregiver, Katharine Martin, campus publications adviser, in the basement of the Campus and Community Involvement office.
“It’ll be a little more depressing. I won’t go out as much,” said Alyssa Fink, a sophomore who spent a lot of time walking Jurgens.
Jurgens is part of a training program from Lackland Air Force Base, which fosters puppies out to local families until they are old enough to enter the more extensive training program where they learn all the skills needed to be a military dog.
During her time on campus, Jurgens became a local celebrity with various media outlets paying tribute to her, and the family of Paul Jurgens, who came to visit on the 11th anniversary of the tragedy.
“I’m just thrilled that it looks like she’s really going to make it,” Martin said. “Everything about it has been positive. It’s bittersweet.”
As guests at the Jurgens party ate birthday cake and dog-bone-shaped cookies, students, faculty and staff took turns sharing funny stories and memories of her time here, including several videos Tuttle had taken of Jurgens.
The atmosphere was subdued as everyone got ready to say goodbye.
“Sad. No mixed feelings. Just sad,” Tuttle said.
There are currently no plans to host another dog in the future.