Gus LaSala, Exeter’s senior dog and a purebred Cairn Terrier of Scottish extraction, died early Wednesday at his summer residence on Elm Street. He was 16 years and three months old, well past the life expectancy of the breed, renowned for its sturdy shagginess and lap-ready snuggability.
His death was announced by the couple he owned, Jerry and Sue LaSala.
For years, Gus was a noted fixture at Exeter, often claiming a space around mealtimes under the tree outside the Elm Street Dining Hall where students stopped to cluck over how cute he was. Many days, if he was lucky, a bowl of ice cream lay within easy reach.
Gus was born on April 17, 2002 in Clinton, Me. He wintered with the LaSalas in Portland and spent summers in constantly changing locales in Exeter. In addition to his fondness for cold dairy desserts, he was partial to Cheerios and milk and Frank Pepe’s Pizza. He also liked to lick salt and lotion off people’s legs.
“This makes me very sad,” said his regular summertime companion, beagle-pointer mix Nellie Blumenthal. “Next to smelly old squashed things in the gutter, I liked Gus best.”
The LaSalas asked that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to Stillwells Riverwalk Ice Cream and distillers of single malt scotch.
Gus is not believed to have left any offspring. But who knows?