Racoons are the dogs of the future.
C/O Animals of SMC
By Andrew Martinez Cabrera
Visiting Raccoon Expert, Ph.D.
“When I embarked on this journey, I really wanted a challenge,” said Alan Meta Trolley, a third-year Biology Major at Saint Mary’s, who competes in dog shows all over the Bay Area in his free time. Trolley has become distinguished in the dog showmanship community, being an award recipient of over a dozen shows in California. He also trains 43 different recorded dog breeds and 14 not-yet discovered by the modern scientific community.
“I see my time at Saint Mary’s as an extension of my passion. A lot of my learning and time on campus informs my sport,” said Trolley.
One night, Trolley was leaving his dorm when suddenly, he spotted an albino raccoon scavenging for food. “We made eye contact, which was like first love,” recalled Trolley. “The best way I can describe it was like Hiccup and Toothless from ‘How to Train Your Dragon.’ So I reached out my hand and we just immediately connected – teeth to the skin, my blood coloring his white fur to a cherry red. Foam exited from the little guy’s mouth as he bit harder. I have never felt more connected with another animal before.”
After being treated for rabies at Kaiser Permanente, he decided that the bond was too strong to be ignored. In his moment of recovery, Trolley was inspired to train one of the most iconic animals on campus in the hopes of winning a dog showmanship competition.
Although ferocious, he knew his conventions would still help domesticate the raccoon, even if some viewed it as unorthodox.
“Not only is it unorthodox, but it is also a complete disrespect to these animals,” said an East Bay Regional Parks District representative. “It is ill-advised to directly touch these animals, let alone approach them while scavenging for food. To try to domesticate these gentle animals is a great disservice to our preservation efforts.”
When asked about this comment, Trolley replied: “They just don’t get it. I am an artist at work, and the albino raccoon is my blank canvas. They made fun of Van Gogh, and look at him now.”
Once Trolley was able to successfully capture the albino raccoon and relocate him to his dorm, training could start. His roommates had to vacate the premises as soon as the raccoon moved in, giving Trolley the proper space to begin the training sessions. It was during this time that he decided to give the raccoon a name: Toothless.
“The regiment I applied to train Toothless was no different than training any of the dogs I’ve prepared for competition in the past,” Trolley explained. “There are two extremes with these animals: aggressiveness and timidness, and I had to make sure that Toothless lived up to his namesake because I only have so many bandages.”
Coinciding with Trolley’s training, SMC’s Men’s Basketball team began competing in the NCAA tournament until their loss against UConn’s team during the second-round playoffs. Trolley, an avid sports fan, decided that the spirit of competition felt around campus during those first two weeks could be allocated to a new sport.
“I want the Gaels to be proud of our accomplishments. And I thought that people’s fervor for the sport was so strong that I began to think that those feelings shouldn’t go to waste. That is why I’m happy to announce that I am officially Saint Mary’s Gael Dog Showman, with our first show scheduled for April 1st. Be there or be square! Go Gaels!”
When asked for comment, Saint Mary’s Athletic Department told The Collegian that no such team or affiliation existed. The only thing they had on record was a mysterious manilla folder left at the entrance of the UCU Pavilion, the contents of which included a DIY logo for the fake team. The folder was acquired by Public Safety and promptly thrown away.
HAPPY APRIL FOOLS DAY FROM THE COLLEGIAN STAFF!
Madison Sciba '24,