The cadet general-elect of Texas A&M University's Corps of Cadets arrived in College Station last week for training, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. Literally.
School officials announced Tuesday that "Twix," a 16-month-old female collie from Ohio, will succeed Reveille VIII as the corps' highest-ranking official during Final Review on May 9 and become Reveille IX. A 12-person committee scoured the country for the right collie, but those close to the search said finding a new first lady of Aggieland will bring an unparalleled energy. Tom Reber, vice president of Student Life, chaired the committee and said Twix was raised as a show dog.
"We're always looking for a dog with a little more energy," Reber said. "She loves the camera."
The search for Reveille IX began in September when A&M announced the 8-year-old Reveille VIII would retire at the end of the school year after seven years of service and spend the rest of her days at the Stevenson Companion Animal Life-Care Center on campus. Interim A&M President Mark Hussey then announced the formation of the search committee, which included Sherylon Carroll, Texas A&M associate vice president of communications; Stacy Eckman, Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine assistant professor; Scott Evetts, commanding officer of Corps of Cadets Company E-2; Paul Gardner, retirement caretaker for Reveille VII; Alexandra Gonzalez, Texas A&M Traditions Council chair; Chapman Guillory, Texas A&M veterinary student; Marty Holmes, Association of Former Students marketing director; Samantha Huge, Texas A&M associate athletic director; Kyle Kelly, student body president; Kenita Rogers, Texas A&M School of Veterinary Medicine associate dean; and Col. Bryan Stebbins, Corps of Cadets deputy commandant.
The search committee fielded 15 applications from around the country after the retirement announcement, one of which came from renowned Chagrin Falls, Ohio-based collie breeders Mike and Marcy Fine of Overland Collies. According to Mike Fine, the couple sent in a video of Twix after seeing a post on Facebook about A&M's search. Mike Fine said Twix would rather wag her tail and lick the judges than compete, which made her the perfect fit to be the next Reveille.
The couple sent in another video of Twix interacting with children and another dog at the search committee's request. After seeing the video, Twix was named one of four finalists, which included two dogs from Houston Collie Rescue and a kennel collie from Minnesota. Marcy Fine accepted an invitation to fly to College Station with Twix in tow two weeks ago to meet members of the search committee and Reveille VIII at the vice president's house on A&M's campus. Reveille XIII's handler, Ryan Kreider, said the first introduction went well.
"It was surreal knowing she could be the new Reveille. She has so much energy," Kreider said. "She loves going places and doing things ... both their tails were wagging and they got to know each other. It was cool to be involved in that type of way. It was a really fun experience."
The Fines accepted the committee's offer to make Twix the next Reveille and flew her to her new home in College Station last week. Since then, Twix has been spending time with a trainer to prepare her for her public debut next month.
Mike Fine said he is looking forward to seeing a graduate of Overland Kennels becoming a part of the Aggie family.
"That's kind of neat and exciting that one of our dogs made history," Mike Fine said. "That's cool."
Kreider said the announcement is a bittersweet one. Even after being at Reveille XIII's side during her retirement announcement and saving her life during a football game, Kreider said he will remember the at-home moments the most. When Reveille XIII's service as mascot comes to an end during Final Review, Kreider's service as mascot corporal will end as well.
"It's been an honor to serve the university the past year. I'm blessed," Kreider said. "I've grown as a person in so many ways in a year. It's crazy to look back and see where we've been."
Kreider said Reveille VIII could not comment for the story because she was napping, but he spoke for his companion and said she will make for a good study partner when he visits her at her new home.
"She's thinking, 'It's about time. It's time for [Twix] to get trained up so I can head on to a nice retirement at the Stevenson Center,'" Kreider said. "I'm really happy she'll be in great care over there."