Still thankful in the midst of devastating news

By Randy Pierce

“Don’t cry because it is over; smile because it happened.” – Dr. Seuss

** Warning – this blog topic contains serious and somber news **

Quinn will always inspire.

The Mighty Quinn is an extraordinary dog and has achieved so very much in his young life. We are delightfully immersed in what we like to refer to as “Play-a-palooza” and “Treat-o-rama” here at the homestead. All this is to reward and celebrate the fantastic fortune of having shared so many moments of marvel with him. As Thanksgiving approaches, it is appropriate to be thankful for all the joy, freedom, and wonder which he has brought into the world.

Many of his supportive friends and the 2020 Vision Quest community are already partially aware of the serious challenges we presently face. After our last update, the full and devastating detail is deservedly due to everyone we can reach with this report.

Randy and Quinn in a happy moment of play.

Quinn has osteosarcoma (bone cancer) which has a focus point effectively on his skull. The result is a very aggressive and sadly terminal prognosis. The muscles of his jaw are being rapidly replaced with cancer cells. This is a rare location for the cancer, and with a biopsy showing vascular intrusion, very few months is the prognosis. In a bit of a mixed blessing: the mouth impact he has experienced for several months will likely achieve a point where he cannot play or even eat for himself before the cancer has the opportunity to end his life. As such, I will be very attentive to the quality of his life and after doing my utmost to ensure that quality is fully appreciated, I will ensure his peace arrives with all the love and mercy he similarly deserves.

Randy and Quinn run the day before the Boston Marathon.

As you might expect, I am devastated. I work hard nearly every moment to scramble for perspective and give Quinn the celebration his life and the happier present moments deserve. We’ve only been together for slightly more than seven short years. He’s only just approaching his ninth birthday on December 11 and without question it all feels entirely unfair.

Yet I look at the amazing experiences we’ve shared and I know without question I really am astoundingly fortunate. As I read the outpouring of support from Quinn’s many friends and the many people who have had their lives touched by this incredible boy, I count myself lucky for Quinn as well as the strength, courage and support which I know will see me through the darker days ahead.

Thank you to each and everyone of you who in all your various ways have expressed love and support. Thank you most of all to the Mighty Quinn. There will be time for the full measure of grief when he is no longer with us. Despite my best efforts, a bit too much grief may sneak into my present but I do hope you’ll all attempt to join me in thankfulness and celebration for the Mighty Quinn.

“You’ll not see nothing like the Mighty Quinn” – Bob Dylan


Just four more feet up Mt. Monroe.
Randy and Quinn playing at the beach.


22 thoughts on “Still thankful in the midst of devastating news

  1. Hey Randy, I know of you and Quinn through a mutual friend, Rich Carreiro. Rich and I used to work together at Imprivata, where Rich still is, but I have moved on, and we still stay in touch.

    I enjoy glimpses of your life via Rich, and I am amazed at your relationship with Quinn. I am very sorry to hear that he is not well, but I love your tributes to him via Facebook and your vision quest blog. The sharing of your lives has brought me much happiness.

    Enjoy every moment you have with Quinn, but let him go when the time is right. Dog is not only man’s best friend, but woman’s as well.

    Peace and love to both of you – Vera Carroll

  2. Randy,

    I’m so, so sorry to hear this. Quinn is such an amazing dog. Please give him a hug for me. Then give T a hug for me. Then yourself. I’ll be thinking of you all.


  3. You certainly have been fortunate to have the amazing experiences that Quinn has shared with you. I also feel very lucky to have spent just a small fraction of those times together with you and Tracy and the amazing Quinn. The three of you will be counted in my thanks this week.

  4. Randy, you & Quinn personify this
    powerful little poem for me.
    May you find strength to help
    each other, as best friends do….

    ‘Tiny Little Minute’

    Just a tiny little minute,
    Only sixty seconds in it,
    Forced upon me, can’t refuse it,
    Didn’t seek it, didn’t choose it,
    But it’s up to me to use it,
    Give account if I abuse it.
    Just a tiny little minute,
    But eternity is in it.
    – Dr. Benjamin E. Mays

  5. Thank you Randy for writing about the sad news of Quinn’s struggles in such terms that continue to inspire and put life’s precious moments into perspective. I am sorry to hear of Quinn’s struggles. It breaks my heart. I hope you enjoy the time that is left and remember the wonderful time that you two climbed mountains and greeted friends. My thoughts are with you and Quinn.

  6. Randy – thanks for sharing this update and allowing us all to share this connection with you, Tracy and Quinn. Your perspective is commendable as you struggle to celebrate the present and push off premature greaving. I doubt many of us could be so directed as you. Ultimately, we all go through this process whether the life leaving us is 90 or or 9. But as Quinn no doubt has no understanding of his short time left, he is therefore free to be joyful in each and every moment in your company. I’m sure he considers himself one lucky fella and that he’s truly blessed. Fraternally, Doug

  7. So sorry to hear about Quinn’s diagnosis. My daughter and I had the pleaseure of meeting you both at Tokyo Joes. Please know that my thoughts and prayers go out to you, your wife and of course that beautiful boy Quinn. May God bless you all.

  8. Thank you for allowing us to accompany you, Tracy and the Mighty Quinn on this journey. May the road be paved with kindness and gentleness and may you share amazing moments together that will carry you forward.

  9. Randy, thank you for sharing this. I am so sorry to hear about Quinn, he is an incredible dog. Thank you for letting me join in on a few hikes two winters ago, it was a joy to watch you and Quinn navigate the trails in the Whites.

    Take Care,


  10. My love and prayers going to the mighty Quinn, and you and your family also. We lost our beloved Roxanne, a giant St. Bernard to bone cancer almost ten years ago; it was a terrible time and we grieved for months (I still grieve for her). But losing her led to me becoming a puppy raiser for Guiding Eyes for the Blind. I know you’ll do the right thing for Quinn when it is time, as hard as it is. Quinn has been everything to you, and you to her. You’ll keep Quinn in your heart forever, and I believe that you will be reunited at some point.
    I am so so sorry for the pain you all will face at some point. I pray you’ll find comfort in each other. We are all with you in spirig.

  11. We are not acquainted but I know exactly of the heartbreak of such a diagnosis and wish with all my heart that Quinn will be able to go in peace without pain (just as I hope for every creature!) He sounds like an amazing friend and companion. Enjoy your moments together and keep him in your heart forever (I know you will) All our beloved pets and animal friends live on in our hearts and memories. May you have strength and support in the weeks and months ahead to carry you through these difficult times.

  12. Dearest Randy ~ I’m so very sorry to hear about the sad prognosis. May you be comforted knowing so many are thinking of you and your family. God bless you all. Much love,

  13. Randy…
    Honestly I just cannot find the words to say right now to really truly express my feelings. Quinn is such an amazing dog and he as well as you have touched the hearts of so many. I know I feel blessed to have been on many hikes as well as a 100 mile walk with that boy. I know that my life has changed because of him and quite honestly I compare all guide dogs I see to him. Maybe that is wrong but few can compare I do believe.
    We love Quinn, you and Tracy with all of our hearts and wish you peace and well wishes.
    Give that boy a hug from me <3
    Love, Jennifer

  14. I know Quinn’s life has been filled with love joy and exuberance. The shell that is his body is failing him. For this I am full of woe. His spirit will live on I am quite sure. His zest for life, like yours, can not be contain in one lifetime. He as been blessed to be a part of your world, just as you have been blessed to have been a part of his. The out pouring of warmth and caring you have been receiving reflects, in just a small way. They joy, hope, and inspiration, you have given to others. When he reaches the Summerlands I know he will be greeted warmly and joyfully by your passed companions and friends. His only sorrow there, will be that you are not yet with them.

    Hugs and scritches


  15. Having had the immense privilege of meeting you, Tracy and Quinn last year I am so very saddened by this news. My thoughts and prayers are with you all. May the love and treasured moments you have shared with Quinn be the beautiful memories that will comfort and sustain you during this very difficult time. God bless you all.

  16. I cannot express my deep and profound sorrow at learning of this. How very unfair indeed. I’m so sorry for the pain and for the loss you will have to face. There’s nothing quite as amazing as the devotion of a beloved furry family member and Quinn is one of the best. My love to you and Tracy and Quinn and I hope his time left passes with nothing but the joy and love you have in each other’s company.

  17. Hi Randy,
    So sorry to hear about the Amazing Quinn’s final battle. You are both fortunate to have had each other and to have shared so many fantastic times. Skip & I are thinking about you both.

  18. Dear Randy, Reading the various comments about Quinn I realize how many lives he has touched beyond the Guide Dog community. I think of the times you visited schools and the number of children who may not have had the joy of a dog in their lives and what a wonderful ambassador Quinn is for the entire canine community He inspires in his own way just as you do in yours. What a team you two have been. My heart aches because I can connect with the loss of a pet soulmate.
    A favorite quotation of mine is, “Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” We have been fortunate to have our souls awakened.
    Also, a book that gave me tremendous comfort and tears, is Goodbye, Friend by Gary Kowalski. It’s insightful and compassionate. I am thinking of you and Tracy and of course the Mighty Quinn. I am glad that you have Tracy to share this loss with you instead of having to deal with it on your own. As the saying goes, “Love doubles joy and divides grief.”

  19. This must be so hard to go through. I am so deeply sorry.

    Bounding forth,
    Breaking trail,
    Here comes the Mighty Quinn
    Here comes those that
    Love him.

  20. I have not been fortunate enough to have met the Mighty Quinn but from what I have read, he sounds amazing. Please enjoy the time that you have with him – you will know when it is time. My family has experienced the passing of 2 beloved dogs, each one heartbreaking. My thoughts are with you and your family.

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