The Legend of the Dogg
Many were unaware that at first Andrew hated being called Dogg, the nickname that would eventually come to represent every facet of his persona. The origins of the name stem from “Dwyer-Dog” or “D-Dog,” a name given to Andrew by Chucky von Althann during our infamous Lower-Mid year in Tinker Dormitory at the Hotchkiss School. Chucky, more intimately known as “as the Count” had coined “Dwyer-Dogg” because he felt that Andrew ‘s pudgy features resembled those of a St. Bernard. For one reason or another, the name infuriated Andrew and as a result, we began calling him “D-Dog” all the time.
As Lower-Mid year progressed and the name became increasingly popular, “D-Dog` was shortened to “Dog” and then modified to “Dogg”, referencing the contemporary rap superstar Snoop Dogg ( the D.O. double-G). By altering it from its original form, these developments lessened Andrew’s hatred for the name. In time, his strong dislike faded into indifference, and then gradually began to grow into a pride and love for the name. And it became more and more popular, “Dogg” began to represent to all of us Andrew’s witty, laid back and indulgent personality, his hysterically funny sense of humor, and most of all, his unwavering loyalty to his friends.
By the spring, with lacrosse and beach volleyball seasons in full swing, Dogg, sporting his classic polo shirt, khaki shorts and reef flip-flops attire, was in full form. Tinker dorm pranks, most often masterminded by the Dogg, were setting new standards for Hotchkiss students to aspire to for years to come. Targets such as the Strimitron and Duckman nightly fell victim to title waves, naked room cleaning or 3 am alarm clock wake-ups. And it was in the midst of this utter chaos that the legend of the Dogg was created.
It must have been sometime in early May, during one of our many hour-long lunch sessions that followed a snack bar breakfast and a quick game of mid-morning volley ball, when the blueprints for the Legend of the Dogg were developed. Located at our favorite table in the corner of the cafeteria, several great minds of what would soon come to be known as the ISO Crew began to devise a plan to create a Hotchkiss icon of the mischievous spirit to which all Hotchkiss students aspire. Amidst, gut-turning, tear- jerking, head aching laughter, the necessary steps were made to build such a hero status.All agreed it was critical that this figure could never be called by his birth name, but most always be referred to by students and teachers alike by his legendary nickname. Even the hero would refer to himself in the third person. This would lay the foundation necessary to develop his mystic eminence. Stories of his heroic feats would be passed down from rising upper classmen to incoming lower classmen, taking place as eternal Hotchkiss fables. And so was born the LEGEND of the DOGG.
During our time at Hotchkiss, Dogg was always at the center of the action. He was a weekly comic presence at all-school Auditorium meetings, most often with Hylando. Whether he was reporting on various issues, such as victories by the Hotchkiss Varsity Paddle Tennis Team, or running for student body president, Dogg was unmatched in his ability to make the whole school erupt in laughter. His lighthearted sense of humor was infectious to all students, from the youngest prep to the oldest student.
And embedded in every one of his performances was his devout love for Hotchkiss. It seemed that all in attendance would leave Auditorium free from their daily worries and appreciative of their privilege to be part of the greater Hotchkiss experiences. Dogg’s tremendous school spirit, expressed in such forms as face painting, trashcan banging and DJ-ing was present at Baker Field and Schmidt Rink for every varsity boys home football and hockey game and on the sidelines of the field hockey field, where he was the varsity girls’ goalie technician.
On so many levels, Andrew was an integral part of the Hotchkiss community. During his Hotchkiss career, Dogg received few personal accolades. Andrew was not captain of a varsity sports team although he was a two year varsity lacrosse player and the best back yard athlete I have ever seen. He was not school or class president – he and Hylando were denied a sure presidential campaign victory by the infamous furry “Dean’s Wing scandal of 2000.” He was not even a dorm proctor, turning down a position in Memorial Dormitory to remain with his friends in Dana. But Dogg did not need these official leadership positions to be a daily presence in the Hotchkiss community. More than any other member of our class, Dogg changed Hotchkiss for the better. He made the Hotchkiss experience a constant joy to be part of. And it was because of his unmatched personality, not a cafeteria scheme, that Dogg’s legendary status grew to its mystic proportion.
Of all the legendary Dogg stories, it seems that every one of Andrew’s friends and family has their own favorite. I have so many great memories of Andrew, but of all of them, I think my fondest is picturing Dogg welcoming Andrew Hughes, Ernesto Cruz and me as we drove into New Haven in November 2001 for our first Yale-Harvard football weekend. My first semester at college had not been the easiest. Although I liked the school very much, I missed my Hotchkiss friends constantly. Anyway it could not have been more than forty degrees outside and Andrew, decked in a short sleeve short golf shirt, khaki shorts and his furry moose slippers began running from his dorm towards our car. Wearing his famous ear-to-ear grin, he jumped up on the car and began banging on the roof, making such a ruckus. He had been waiting for us all day. Of all Andrew’s qualities that the name “Dogg” embodied, loyalty was definitely the most prominent. Andrew was the best friend anyone could ask for. He was always up for a good time, always there for a great laugh. But he was also there whenever you had fallen, with an open hand to pick you up. His daily exuberance made everyone he came in contact with enjoy life that much more.
After a number of bear hugs, the four of us began walking back to Andrew’s dorm room. A weekend of classic ISO mischief lay ahead. And for the first time in several months, I felt content, for I was finally reunited with my best friend, the Dogg.