From his vantage point on Parkridge Drive, Stubby the black and white springer spaniel kept an eye on Glen Laurel.
He wasn’t a watchdog, per se, just a watcher, a greeter and a friend. He met every walker, runner and biker who passed by and saw a generation of neighborhood kids grow up, ride the school bus and their bikes and eventually drive away.
Late last month, Stubby passed away at the age of 14, his owner Pam Burleson said. For more than a decade he was easily found on her and her husband Ed’s front lawn. But over the past six months he began to slow down and spent his days cooped up inside.
“If he didn’t come out, people would come and find him,” Burleson said. “He was very special to a lot of people.”
Burleson said Stubby was always an outside dog, confined to the family’s yard by an underground electric fence. From there, though, his personality had a stage and the neighborhood came to him. Burleson said he became a landmark for people who passed by, maybe a break on a run or a companion for another neighborhood dog. Quickly, the neighborhood adopted him, with admirers stopping by with treats and teaching him tricks.
“Most people knew him and didn’t know us,” Burleson said.
The bond was particularly strong with children, she said. “At the end of school, I had to make sure he was out for when the kids got off the bus,” Burleson said. “He had the best 14 years a dog could ask for. He was well loved and will be missed.”
Neighbors set up a memorial at the edge of the Burlesons’ yard, with a couple signs and bouquets of flowers. Online, people used the Glen Laurel Neighborhood Facebook page to grieve, leaving more than 40 comments and stories of growing up or playing with Stubby.
“I’ve always referred to him as the Ambassador of Glen Laurel and Mayor of Parkridge,” Michelle Haller wrote. “When my girls were younger, there were even times they’d want me to pull the car over and let them jump out to pet him, even though we had a Springer at home.”
Other online posts called Stubby iconic, wonderful and sweet. Mothers remembered walking by him with their children, and newer residents said he was one of the first living things to greet them in the neighborhood.
“He was and forever will be a symbol of home to my kids,” Angel Turlington wrote.
Drew Jackson: 919-553-7234, Ext. 104; @jdrewjackson