By Mike Vouri
Fayette, the beloved guide dog of Park Ranger Darlene Wahl, passed away early Oct. 29 of complications of cancer.
She was a hard-working service dog who guided Darlene through airports, big cities and small towns, and national parks too numerous to mention. She went everywhere, scrunched up in automobile footwells, marching in Fourth of July and Memorial Day parades, padding through snow and across slick pavement. In all their years together, she never steered Darlene the wrong way.
But those of us in the park best know her through the nine years she spent lying on the floor next to Darlene’s desk in the American Camnp visitor center. She slept most of the time in recent months, but would snap wide awake if a special friend walked through the door (or a visiting dog was drawing Darlene’s attention on the porch).
Being a service dog, of course, meant that she could not be petted on duty, but she didn’t miss out once the harness was off. After all, this is San Juan Island, and no other place that I can think of holds dogs in higher esteem.
She will be missed.
Bon voyage, old friend.
— Mike Vouri is an author and the historian for San Juan Island National Historical Park.