The Shoebert Saga, as Seen Through the Eyes of Joyce Cummings

Wildlife authorities said from the beginning that “Shoebert” would be best off if he were quickly returned to a herd of seals (parvi) outside the harbor. Many people have said they hope Shoebert makes another stop in Beverly next year, too.

Beverly’s new short-term citizen was a 235-pound male seal that somehow found his way into the two-level pond at Cummings Center, Beverly. It was not stuck, but it seemed determined to stay there even after having a floodgate lowered during high tide.

Shoebert was named after the United Shoe Machinery Co., commonly once known as The Shoe. That building and others are now 2 million-square-foot Cummings Center medical, office, and research campus.

Anyway, he left when the gate was lowered, swam around for a few minutes, turned around, and headed back to the pond. The gate had been raised, but he just climbed over it.

Another day, Shoebert decided he wanted to check out Upper Shoe Pond, so he climbed over rocks and went down a pathway and through a fence.

Fish and wildlife folks were getting antsy. Some went out in a boat to see where he could get out, and he just followed them around. Channel 5 Boston covered most of the story during the week. The Boston Globe covered it two times, and then made it a great frontpage feature story on Saturday, September 24. 

At 2:00 that Friday morning, Cummings staff members spied Shoebert waddling down a sidewalk toward the almost brand-new Beverly Police headquarters, right next to Cummings Center, and quickly alerted the on-duty officers. In total, Shoebert had flopped along almost three city blocks. Apparently, he wanted to turn himself in for trespassing, even though Cummings Properties had a special lease arrangement with him. 

Just imagine if an innocent human with no knowledge of Shoebert had been out for a late night/early morning walk. The person might have fainted or thought they were hallucinating. 

Appropriate wildlife authorities were notified, and Shoebert was taken to Mystic Aquarium in Mystic, Connecticut. His health was evaluated, and if in good shape, he would be released into the sea. He was wearing a tag from the aquarium, indicating he’d had trouble before. A naughty boy! Friday night’s Channel 5 news report showed him heading for the police station, and the story told of his travel and arrival in Mystic. It’s all been a super fun story, and many are placing bets that he will show up in Beverly again.