An appreciation: Remembering Stella, ‘the Jewel of Shelter Island’
Published - 08/20/17 - 07:41 AM | 2419 views | 1 1 comments | 25 25 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Stella howls as her dad Randy Spicer drives his Yacht Docktor truck on Shelter Island Drive.
Stella howls as her dad Randy Spicer drives his Yacht Docktor truck on Shelter Island Drive.
You may have heard her enthusiastic howls as she traveled along Shelter Island Drive with her dad at the wheel of their truck, her name "Stella" emblazoned on the passenger’s door. Yet now, the distinctive voice of the golden-haired rescue of indeterminate breed, beloved by so many Shelter Island regulars, especially in the boating community, sings no more.

Stella, devoted companion of Yacht Docktor Randy Spicer, a long-time Point Loma resident, crossed the Rainbow Bridge on Friday, July7, following slowly declining health. While suffering from severe arthritis for many years, she succumbed to kidney failure, he explained. She was 15 or 16.

“They hear her as we go by,” prompting smiles from friends, Spicer said.

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 and something more.

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 following 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 one and a half years old.

She cherished her regular routine, particularly their weekly visits to Dog Beach, where Stella would romp in the surf until she decided she'd had enough. The inseparable duo then followed up with her bath at Dog Beach Dog Wash, where she will soon be immortalized in a mural.  

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, complete with a collar and favorite toys, at 2390 Shelter Island Drive, No. 109.

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Marie-France Gaucher
August 20, 2017
So very sorry for your loss, Randy. I didn't know Stella but she sounds like a wonderful companion.My thoughts are with you.
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