In Honor of the Mighty Quinn

In Memory of the Mighty Quinn

By Randy Pierce

In Memory of the Mighty Quinn
In Memory of the Mighty Quinn

Guiding Eyes Quinn

12/11/04 – 1/20/14

Beloved Boy of Randy and Tracy Pierce
Puppies Behind Bars Graduate
Guiding Eyes Graduate
2020 Vision Quest Founder
Mountain Climber
Road Racer
Tugger of Tugs
Squeaker of All Things Squeaky
Beloved Boy of a Loving Community
Honorary Member, Hudson NH Lion’s Club

My dear Mr. Quinn captured the essence of life so very well. He not only guided me safely on routes from the mundane to the ridiculous; he also infused my life with love and  a healthy appreciation for play. His work ethic was impeccable with a focus and determination as intense as those of his play sessions. He helped guide Tracy and me together and ensured we each always knew his love for us was as boundless as his eagerness to retrieve! He brought his tail-wagging enthusiasm to thousands upon thousands of students in schools and made history in his hikes and races. I spent more time with him than with any other being and I match his unconditional love now and always. “Best Boy” Quinn, my very best boy!

What I urge all of you to undertake is to make this our blog tribute to Quinn. I’ll begin by sharing a cherished tale and encourage you to all do the same with one, two, three or more tales as inspired. In this way we’ll have a tremendous tribute page filled with all the many things he meant to many different people. Whether just a chance encounter of a wagging tail, a smiling pup face on a mountain trail, matched in the worming battle of tug-o-war, or at a presentation perhaps. However and wherever he touched your life in a manner you are willing to share, please do so. We’ll approve all comments as quickly as possible and lovingly keep this record of Quinn for all time!

Quinn shows his team spirit.
Quinn shows his team spirit.

The Breakfast Club Tale

I was on my way to Tokyo Joe’s Studios to work out as I often did with the Mighty Quinn. He knew our routines well enough that in lifting the harness handle and heading to the bus, few if any commands were necessary. Stepping off the bus downtown and walking past the parking garage to cross West Pearl Street, we needed to turn left, but this one day, Quinn suggested we turn right since after all the restaurant City Room is just a slight right and home to his “girl-friend” Terry and many cherished friends.

I smiled for the thought but told him no, we were going to turn left and head to the Dojo. Compliant after sharing his opinion initially, he turned to the task and marched us to the door whereupon I learned the studio was closed for reasons I don’t recall. I laughed at his apparent foresight and suggested we do as he says, but first suggesting we go to the ATM at the end of the street for cash. This of course meant we had to walk past the City Room door where once again he made the turn to show me where he thought we should go. I told him he was a good boy but that we had to “hup-pup” to get to the bank.

We arrived down to the end of the street to discover the ATM was out of order which for a blind man can be a little bit of an exercise in futility… and was. Thus it was that with debit card as the final plan, we returned to city room with Quinn eagerly pulling me to top speed as his enthusiasm did when approaching places he loved. The boy had it right the entire time and I just had to come to terms that really breakfast with friends in a place like home is the right way to spend any morning.

I love you, Quinn, and despite the many fine adventure tales I will continue to always share, the real magic moments are the freedom and companionship we shared every single day for just over seven years!

We Salute and Honor the Marvelous Mighty Quinn
12/11/04 — 1/20/14
February, 2014 – Randy’s post to the 2020 site’s home page about Quinn

Farewell Quinn – We are all so fortunate to have had you touch our lives. Your love, devotion, perseverance and playfulness are held ever so warmly in our hearts. You enriched my life in so many wonderful ways well beyond the incredible Guide work for which you were trained. The heights we climbed, the lives you changed and the vacancy you leave are unimaginably immense. I hurt and grieve your loss intensely. I promise to honor you and the gifts you gave to me, Tracy and our world. I love you my beloved boy and I am in the company of so many who will feel similarly.

Remembering The Mighty Quinn

January 20, 2015 – Randy reflects back on Quinn, one year after his passing:

Quinn! Gone from the world for one year on January 20th, and yet with me every single day. Cliché?

Perhaps to some, but his indelible mark upon my being tells me otherwise. Lives have a legacy left behind which is not best measured in days, weeks or years. Quinn’s milestones are incredible for certain, and yet those too fall short of how I recall my beloved boy.

Many well understood his intense devotion, determination, fierce focus, drive and playful competitive approach to every moment. He was all of those things for certain. For me, however, I see the significant change he brought to the essence of me. Truly great friends alter our lives and guide us toward becoming better beings. Can a dog really do this or am I simply exercising hyperbole?

Ultimately we are always the authors of the change in our lives, and yet the encouragement and support may come from myriad influences. For some, perhaps, a dog might never be such an influence. Though for the many whose company I share, our pets may indeed transcend mundane labels. Quinn was–and I believe always will be–so much more than a dog. He was my guide, my teammate, my inspiration, my encouragement, my joy and my truest of friends. I lost so very much one year ago but I gained and keep so very much more within me now and evermore, because of my great boy, my very best boy. I love and cherish you Quinn, and continue to be so very proud and grateful to hold you so dear in my heart. Thank you for so much learning and for the person I’ve become by having walked our journey together.

You'll not see nothing like the Mighty Quinn. RIP, you wonderful boy.
“You’ll not see nothing like the Mighty Quinn.” RIP, you wonderful boy. Photo courtesy of Scott Erb.

22 thoughts on “In Honor of the Mighty Quinn

  1. When I was honored to accompany Randy to a few schools that had invited him and Quinn to speak in a class or at an assembly, my favorite memory was watching the faces of the children (from age 8 to age 16) at the end of the movie and speech by Randy. Randy would always do a few tricks with Quinn for fun and the kids were just in awe. And when they got to pet Quinn, they looked like they were so honored and just so purely happy. And I must say, Quinn looked the same way. They really “got” the relationship that Quinn and Randy had better than anyone, I think. They are so lucky to have met him. But aren’t we all. ??Miss u

  2. My story is one of how Quinn (and Randy) inspired me, and my teammates, when completing a Tough Mudder. All through my training, I had a poster of Randy and The Mighty Quinn hanging up on my door. Any day I’d get up, and my body ached and I wanted to give up, I’d look at the poster and think, “Randy and Quinn climbed Mt. Washington. Get up and get to it.”

    My body has a whole host of ailments and chronic issues. Everything hurts, all the time. My lungs rebel at hard work. I experience a lot of anxiety. I was declared Permanently Disabled. Doing something so challenging was going to be an obstacle. All along my way through training, Randy and Quinn were there in spirit.

    The day of the event, I was nervous. After all, the 12 miles we were about to endure was up and down a mountain. I started to tear up with anxiety. I took a deep breath, looked at my best friend and started to tell him all about Randy and The Mighty Quinn, and 2020 Vision Quest and all their accomplishments. Whenever I’d start struggling, I’d start talking about Quinn and Randy. There were hundreds of others participating in this event, and as often happens, they overheard our stories about 2020. By the end of the day, there were at least a dozen people motivating themselves up those inclines saying, “If Randy and Quinn can climb Mt. Washington in the snow, we can climb this one in the heat!”

    I didn’t have many opportunities to meet The Mighty Quinn in person, but he was an inspiration. The story of Randy and Quinn touches everyone who hears it. Having a disability can be devastating. Randy and Quinn handle the situation with grace, showing you can still do things, amazing things, challenging things – just differently, and with a lot of heart and determination.

    You’ve been an inspiration to so many people. The loss of Quinn is a mighty one, but his story will live on in the hearts of all he touched.

  3. I met Quinn & randy for the 1st time in Burlington, Vt for the remier of his movie. They are AWEINSPIRING people(yes, I considered Quinn a person).Quinn was a dog that anybody would’ve felt honored to meet. Randy (and your family and friends) are thought of during this sad time. Even though I met Quinn once, he will hold a special place in my heart since I am an adirondack winter 46er and know what the animals (and us humans) have to deal with while in the elements. Hugs!!!!

  4. There are so many memories of Quinn that I could share here, but I think the one that is most profound was when Quinn came “home” with Randy. Randy had told us ahead of time that he would be missing some home games due to the fact he had to train with his new guide dog. Randy never misses home games, and he is an integral part of our group, but we all knew what getting a guide dog would mean for Randy’s freedom, and we were all happy for him. We went to the next game, fully expecting Randy not to be there, he was supposed to be in New York training with his new guide dog. At the meet up low and behold there is Randy with the Mighty Quinn. To say we were shocked would be an understatement.

    Apparently Randy and Quinn had done such a great job together that Guide School let them go home early. I don’t know if Randy told them that the first thing he was going to do was take Quinn to an NFL football game with 68,000 other fans, but that is what Randy did first. Since Quinn was new, and had never been in this situation before, Randy took extra steps to protect Quinn, both at the tailgate and in the Stadium. If Quinn didn’t do well, not a problem Randy would sit in the car with him and wait to go home. Quinn exceeded everyone’s expectations. He led Randy all the way to his seats and back to the tailgate with a wag and a determination you always see whenever Quinn was working. Was it perfect? No, there were some times that Randy had to remind Quinn of the proper way to do things. You have to remember that this was the first time they were out in the real world. A real world with 68,000 other bigger human beings who may or may not be inebriated as well. For those of you who have guided Randy before, you know what a challenge it is. Now imagine being in a 68,000 person crowd where everyone is bigger than you. What Quinn did that day and for the next 7 years is nothing short of remarkable.

    We lost that particular home game, but the accomplishment of Quinn’s first NFL game overshadowed that. For those of you who knew Quinn, he had three modes: Sleep, work and everyone’s favorite Play! Quinn got lots of play that night, and Randy even shared some play with the rest of the group. This again surprised us , because Quinn and Randy’s partnership was brand new, and they were still building the stepping stones of their partnership. Quinn didn’t care, as long as he got to play, it wouldn’t matter who was on the other end of the tug rope. Rumor has it he even took down a former NFL linebacker.

    Randy and Quinn climbed mountains together later on in their partnership. The achievement of climbing all 48 peaks in New Hampshire can’t be understated. But what they did that first Sunday is nothing short of shocking. That Sunday showed us a small glimpse of how great the partnership between the Mighty Quinn and Randy would become. I would say on that Sunday, Randy and Quinn climbed their first mountain, and each day after the reached the peak of their potential together.

    Quinn I will cherish all the wonderful memories you gave me. Your partnership with Randy shows that no matter what the challenge is, with teamwork it can be overcome. There is not an appropriate adjective in the entire English dictionary that properly describes how special you were. I will miss you.

  5. Quinn was a remarkably perceptive fellow. No surprise there–I’ve met plenty of humans who weren’t as smart as Quinn. And he seemed to understand humans quite well. Everyone who’s followed his adventures knows he was addicted to the game of tug and other lively ways of interacting with humans. Now, I’ve always lived with cats, and I’m used to interacting with my animal friends in a more mellow way. He figured out quickly that I really liked him, but wasn’t adept at playing like a dog. Nor, though I was willing to try tug, was I a very good tug partner, as he could pull me around the room despite my best efforts. So he seemingly decided, “I kind of like you, even though you cat-people play boring games, so have it your way,” and would spend a lot of time lying on my feet when I visited Randy and Tracy. I could tell he’d rather be doing something that involved running and jumping, so I was honored by the attention.

  6. It is a privilege to share my thoughts on The Mighty Quinn. Randy and Quinn go together like PB & J. The bond between them was intense. They seemed at some level to be soul mates; instinctly knowing just what the other needed. It isn’t every day you get a chance to see what determination and teamwork can do – climbing mountains when you are blind because your guide dog is there by your side – hard to believe yet so true. Quinn and Randy showed us that blindness is not a weakness or a handicap. I believe The Mighty Quinn was matched with Randy as his guide dog because of the life they would share and the vision they would bring to the world through their stories, the people they met, the mountains they would climb and eventually 2020Visionquest. My first thought when I learned Quinn would be going on another journey was Bob Dylan’s song “The Mighty Quinn”. The words so fitting, the feeling evoking such happy and uplifting emotions, the perfect memory for the amazing, The Mighty Quinn. Forever in our hearts. ????????

  7. It wasn’t very long ago, but I remember introducing Quinn to Blue. I was worried about how she’d react, being as she was so abused in her previous situation and was/is horribly timid and fearful as a result, but the way she and Quinn (and Juno) played together was wonderful and a great joy to watch. He helped Blue feel safe and at ease, which was a huge gift.

    I will remember him fondly always.

  8. Having known Randy for quite some time, I always knew that he and Quinn were a pretty awesome pair, but I don’t think I realized exactly how much of a connection they had until we hiked the Osceolas. There is a point between Osceola and East Osceola where the path goes up a rather steep, rocky climb called, I’m told, the Chimney. This climb wasn’t well suited to the four-paw capabilities, so Quinn was taken up via a less climbing route, but Randy wanted to do the climb. I’ll never forget looking up and seeing Quinn standing next to Tracy nervously looking down at where he knew Randy was (Quinn was nervous… I don’t think Tracy was. 🙂 ) He never took his eyes of of where he expected Randy to be until “his person” was safely up beside him where he belonged.

    I noticed this trait on subsequent hikes as well – even if Randy was being led by a human guide, Quinn was always ensuring that that guide was up to his exacting standards. He was a great “overseer”. But it was so clear that day, that I think that’s how I will always remember him, looking down over that ledge.

  9. My three girls affectionately known as the wild kittens loved Quinn from the first time they met him. His super cute face, puppy dog eyes and the fact that Quinn loved to play with the girls led to a great friendship. On visits during games the girls were super happy not because they were overly excited about watching the game or were going to eat lots of snacks though both were a bonus. The real excitement was getting to play with Quinn. Throwing the tennis ball, flinging the flying squirrel or playing hide and seek all were amazing to the wild kittens and Quinn enjoyed the constant attention.

    After our first visit Randy started some necessary rules for play time. The play time needed to be limited in duration because as I learned Quinn wouldn’t just stop playing if he got overtired! Randy would give the girls a time limit then they all would reluctantly come back inside or stop playing and wait sort of patiently until he thought Quinn had rested enough. Quinn would often sit by the girls feet waiting for his dad to say one of his favorite words- play! The wild kittens loved that Quinn wanted to play with them so much.

    On visits without the kittens Quinn would look at me with excitement, until he realized the wild kittens were not coming in behind me. Quinn thought I was ok but clearly I was not as fun as those wild kittens:)

  10. To write about the Mighty Quinn, I should start with the Mighty Randy Pierce. In the Spring of 2006, I started volunteering for the NH Assoc. for the Blind. Prior to the Annual Walk that year, the association wanted a publicity article in the Nashua Telegraph. I knew Stacy Milbouer, a reporter for the Telegraph who wrote weekly special articles about people from and events occurring in Nashua. Randy Pierce was selected for the interview, but he opted out because the date offered was the anniversary of the passing of his beloved Ostend. We agreed on a date of his choosing and that was the beginning of our friendship. Later that year, I was given the task by NHAB to produce a video about clients to be used in potential donor presentations. The first client interviewed was Randy. Those were the days of Randy using two guide poles and a handicap ramp at his home.

    As Randy was also a volunteer for NHAB (and later, much more,) we made several trips together to Concord and back to Nashua. It was during those rides that I got to really know Randy (and he got to know me as well.) We talked about a lot of things: the Pats, obviously, but also we shared many life experiences. I thought he was pretty special back then, little did I know what was to come with all of his accomplishments of the past several years.

    When the Mighty Quinn became part of those many trips, he had a special place on the front passenger seat floor, his head occasionally resting on Randy’s seat. In addition to the many tailgate get-togethers at the Shrine, every time Randy and I got together, there was always a friendly but very business like meeting with Quinn. You had the feeling that he knew he saw Randy and me together for what had to be primarily business. I intuitively responded in kind; I never played tug-of-war with Quinn, but I suspect he knew he’s whip my butt if we did. Whenever we went places. whether if was a trip to the Vet, NHAB, the Arrow Diner in Manchester or a presentation by Randy, the Mighty Quinn was always the star of the show, whether it was NHAB staff, diner patrons or especially the young school children (and school staff members, as well.)

    I was privileged to be at Randy and Tracy’s wedding ceremony on the MV Mount Washington on 10/10/10.

    Randy and Tracy: I know something of the pain you both are going through right now and you both deserve the time to work your feelings through to closure.

    Randy, I know it’s not the same, but just as there was always someone to take over the duties of Tedy, Brady, Wilfork, Mayo and Gronkowski, at some time, there will be someone in your life to take over the duties of Quinn and capture your heart and that of Tracy. The Mighty Quinn will never be forgotten and forever loved and missed for all that he meant to you, but, knowing you, in time you will come to terms with his loss.

    I love you both.

  11. Glorious memories of The Mighty Quinn

    1. April 16th-20th, 2010. Randy and The Mighty Quinn participated on a weekend shakedown for a UNH backpacking trip, which included camping out in a cold rain at Mendum’s Pond near UNH. Having winter camped with dogs before, I did not worry about Quinn getting cold. But Quinn did get cold. He became cold because he stayed close to Randy, even when water was dripping on him through the tarp. Even when staying next to Randy was uncomfortable, it was better than not being next to Randy. Camping out that night, Quinn put his own comfort and even health aside with unparalleled obedience and love for Randy. I never heard of a dog doing such a thing, and realize that our concerns about Quinn had to be different from other dogs because his commitment to Randy was so strong– it overpowered his own self-care.

    2. My second memory when involves our first trip into the White Mountains for six days. We had a challenging day climbing Bond Cliff trail to the top of Bond Cliff. As we approached hiking Mt. Bond we approached a giant scree field. The trail is basically large gravel chunks of rock bigger than Quinn. It is a challenging trail. Randy got to the base and asked Quinn to go. Quinn refused. Randy tried again, but Quinn was letting him know the trail was crazy. I was so impressed with his ability to make judgments for the safety of Randy. He made a better judgment than I on a day.

    3. This may sound strange but some of my favorite moments with Quinn was when we were backpacking, and I would take him out to relieve himself, or as we would say “get busy.” This became a special time for me, because it was time when Quinn and I were alone and I got to work with him. I would bring him to the best LNT dumping site with trowel in hand. Quinn would get busy and run back to Randy. I got a glimpse of how wonderful it is to work with this dog so good at listening and responding to you (and how good he is at getting busy).

    4. I remember skiing with Coz Teplitz to the top of Mount Washington on the day Randy, Justin, and Dina were hiking. We had waited for a couple hours for their arrival, after we decided to descend, only a few ski turns later we came across Quinn running towards me, his whole body was wagging. I was so happy to be greeted by him in this way. I loved Quinn, and he loved me, and that I will always remember.

    5. Once we were descending from the top of Lafayette, and on the way down Randy was being human guided. We stopped at a lookout. Whenever we stopped Quinn would often go to sleep. He was good at getting his rest when humans were boring. On this day everyone got up and began hiking down and Quinn must of kept on sleeping. About 10 to 15 minutes later Randy asked about Quinn. I looked around at a group of blank human faces, but no dog? Where was Quinn?

    I ran up the trail while yelling Quinn’s name, it seemed like hours, but finally I saw Quinn running down towards me. He didn’t even look at me and buzzed right by to get down to Randy. Quinn wasn’t looking to be found, he was looking for Randy. Good boy Quinn.

    6. My last memory was at Sugarloaf. While Randy and I skied during the day Quinn would stay in a slope-side condo staring out the window looking for Randy. We would arrive for lunch and he would be so excited to have finally found Randy. He began his wiggling and wagging. He was a good boy– “Good boy Quinn!”

  12. Quinn loved mornings and in fact they haven’t been the same since his passing. Each morning he’d sense when I awoke and bound over to my side of the bed and a muzzle would soon seek me out to nudge (doink!) me and let me know there was a morning to celebrate together. Perhaps I should say he learned to moderate his enthusiasm to that level of greeting! When I was at Guiding Eyes training with Quinn he was a bit more unbridled in that jubilance. First we had the room adjacent to the instructor and a ‘rule’ that nobody was to wake prior to 6 when we all were to arise for the day’s training process. This is simply because once one pup was up the rest might soon follow and it was a courtesy to our classmates. Quinn, however was a slightly early riser and with paws clicking mightily on the floor would do a joyour spinning tap step routine with nuzzles holding no regard for whether I was awake or ot. I had been without a pup in my life for a few years after Ostend and the wheelchair and I doubt I can express the absolute joy with which this began each of my days. When Daylight savings arrived, Quinn gave it no regard on his timing and I recall with much amusement how hard I worked to calm him and attempt to avoid the instructor hearing what I knew was impossible not to hear. Considerably later I learned that Chrissie, the instructor, had perhaps influenced the room allocations because she well knew Quinn’s tendencies and similarly delighted in is morning exhuberance. It was a way she kept it with her a little longer and perhaps too so is my sharing of this on here today. Just wanted you all to know I keep the stories in my ehart and will continue to share them here occasionally mixed in with all of yours.

  13. I am so happy I was able to witness the love and the bond between Randy and The Mighty Quinn and separately between Tracy and Quinn. I was fortunate to spend time with Randy, Tracy and Quinn during my annual game at Gillette, and can’t thank you enough for sharing the Mighty One with all of us during the tailgate parties. Thank you Randy for being patient with my never-ending requests to pat or sit with the beautiful boy on his blanket. I loved watching him guide you across Rte. 1 to the Stadium – his tail always wagging and his head held high. I’m in awe of the accomplishments you and Quinn shared, and my heart goes out to you for having to say good-bye to this amazing, good, good boy. I’ll always remember Quinn’s beautiful face and soulful eyes, and feeling his soft velvet ears. Quinn is with Modi and Ostend now, all of them healthy and playing tug of war. I know you can feel their love all around you. I hope your hearts can heal.

  14. There are so many wonderful stories that I could share about The Mighty Quinn (aka My Boyfriend). I remember the first time Randy came into The City Room with Quinn. I went over and introduced myself and asked if I could pet his beautiful guide dog. Randy had told me he used to frequent The City Room but unfortunately hadn’t in recent time due to the passing of Ostend, his 1st guide dog and the training he had been doing since with Quinn. But, he did tell me that Quinn was a fast learner and would be coming in more frequently since his Dojo was just down the end of the street. A few days later when I went to visit my mother at Greenbriar Nursing Home, I saw Randy standing by the entrance with Quinn. I called over to say hello and see if they needed anything. Randy told me he thought they were at the bus stop but wasn’t exactly sure since this was a new route for Quinn and the actual “bus stop housing” was not there. I told him he was in the right spot, the landscapers had just mowed and the housing unit was back about 15 ft. Good boy Quinn!! He was right on!!

    Randy and Quinn did become frequent fliers at The City Room. I absolutely fell in love with Quinn and would sit and pet him whenever he came in. Of course, I also enjoyed the company of Randy but he knew his place as second fiddle. I loved seeing them walk in the door and Quinn guide Randy to a seat. When this was accomplished, Randy would say “off duty boy, go get her” and Quinn would shower me with kisses. Kisses that will be dearly missed. But there was this one time when Randy and Quinn walked in and Quinn guided Randy over to his usual table. I ran over to tell Randy that the table was already occupied. Randy was a little surprised as Quinn had never done that and went to apologize to the person occupying the seat. I told Randy that the seat wasn’t actually occupied at the present, the gentlemen was in the restroom. “Mmmm” said Randy, “that’s certainly a new one for Quinn”.

    I did have the pleasure of accompanying Randy and Quinn on one of their speaking engagements. It was such a learning experience for me. I had never realized exactly how a guide dog worked. To see that he guided Randy through doors and had certain movements whether the door swung in or out, opened left to right, or there was a step or steps, was amazing. I could go on and on but I’m sure many of you reading this had the same awestruck experience.

    So today as I write this, I again shed tears for my boyfriend. There will always be a special place in my heart for The Mighty Quinn for not only being a beautiful boy but an inspiration!! Rest well sweet boy!!

  15. Randy, I was incredibly saddened to hear of Quinn’s passing this morning on Channel 9 news. I know the excruciating pain of losing a beloved pet and given your history with Quinn, the grief must be amped up even another notch. Quinn was an amazing little man and he will always be with you in the wonderful memories you have of him and the incredible journeys you shared. After a time, you and you wife will replace the tears you are shedding now with laughter and smiles when you talk about Quinn and remember the silly little antics and predicaments that all puppies get into! All dogs are a special gift from God but Quinn was one of the “special ones”.

    I’m sure you’ve heard of the Rainbow Bridge, where pets go to wait for their people to pass into Heaven together. It’s a place where there is no pain or suffering, just happy playtime until they can be reunited with the people they love. I know with all my heart that Quinn is up there now, probably playing with my 3 beloved Samoyeds – Tasha, Sam, and Dakota Bear.

    Randy, know that you are in the hearts and prayers of so many friends whose lives you have changed for the better by your speaking engagements and by sharing your story with us. And so is the Mighty Quinn! Rest in peace, beautiful little man!

  16. Whether Quinn was on duty or off his first concern was for Randy’s safety. On duty, of course, he guided Randy and kept him safe from steps, rocks, roots, sidewalk curbs, giant potholes, low hanging trees and any other number of obstacles that we sighted folks do not think about.

    Where Quinn really showed his mettle was when he was off duty. The first time I met Quinn – Randy was off working in a public kitchen. He chose to tether Quinn in a safe place and do the work without Quinn. I came upon Quinn and tried to get his attention to pet him (Randy and I were not yet dating) and Quinn wanted no part of me. He was fixedly staring into the kitchen making sure that his Dad was safe. Later, Quinn and I would develop a deep and lasting bond due to our shared love of Randy and of play!

    Later, when we began hiking there came a point where Randy realized that he and Quinn were not the most efficient team to travel some trails (down tall rocks, or trails that had too many rocks) and Randy began using human guides at those times. Quinn would follow behind Randy and his human guide, frequently turning back to look at those of us behind as if to say “Can you believe he is trusting this newbie? I have trained my whole life to guide him! Put me in coach!”

    He even took to playing “crossing guard” when Randy was being guided by a human. There would be times when Randy and his human guide were traversing a particularly tricky section and Quinn would notice this and stop; effectively blocking any of us from going forward until Randy had cleared the obstacle. Sometimes he would stop too far back for my liking and I’d have to cajole him to move forward “Come on Quinn let us go!” But he took his job seriously and wouldn’t let us go until he deemed it safe. He knew better than us, after all, he did have a degree from a prestigious guide school ya know!

    There was one other aspect of Quinn’s care that always warmed my heart even if it made it hard on me at times. When hiking Quinn wanted to know where I was on trail at all times. If he was guiding Randy, I had to be up front. If I didn’t then Quinn would keep turning his head to make sure I was ok. So we just adopted that I would always be in the lead if Quinn was guiding. That is where the phrase “Leave No Tracy Behind” came from.

    Quinn, your loving ways will stay with me forever. I miss you. You were the best of dogs.


  17. A student on our last UNH hike with Quinn shared these words in private to Quinn through me and I’ll preserve his anonymity for now but his words moved me and I thought belonged here:

    Thank you for being such a magnificent soul.
    It was indisputable, to our weary band of hikers, that your companionship with Randy was a relationship few of us could come to understand.
    You both helped eachother to do phenomenal things that, I promise you, not many people would believe was remotely possible.
    Your love, determination, ambition, and compassion was appreciated, and it warms my heart to know such a soul as your exists.
    Your spirit is one that can change worlds.
    Rest now,
    after, what I am sure have been long days, restless nights, and early mornings; sweltering summers and bone chilling winters,
    I hope you are ready for rest.
    Celebrate your legs that have taken you up mountains,
    Celebrate your eyes that have seen beauty no one would believe
    Celebrate your wit, which has made the unattainable easy, and the unbelievable reality
    But, most of all, Quinn, celebrate your companionship with Randy. For if there is one thing we all might hope to do on this earth, it is to reach out to touch another’s soul. And i promise you that his soul has been rocked.
    This, Quinn, is why I thank you.
    And why your name is being said across the world by people who have felt your touch.
    Goodbye, Mighty Quinn
    and thanks.

  18. I attended many Patriot’s tailgates with the Mighty Quinn. When it was time to head into the stadium Randy would often instruct Quinn to follow me, as I’ve attended many games with Randy and know exactly where his seats are located. There was more than one occasion when Quinn would fly right by me – he knew exactly where he was going (as well) and was far better at navigating through a busy crowd than I was! There were a few times when I was perfectly content to let Quinn lead me through the throng of Patriot fans to get to our seats a little faster.

  19. February 16, 2014
    Having just finished watching Windows to the World,with Host, Willem Lang and guests,Randy Pierce with his best boy, Marvelous Mighty Quinn. My tears flow freely and my heart aches at such a loss of Quinn. What a truly inspiring story Randy and his companion dog, Quinn.You have touched my heart and encouraged me to go forth and continue this pursuit of life, encouraging me to still conquer the obstacles that keep coming my way, in my sighted world. I have been working on trying to change the many different situations that have occurred during the past ten plus years. And what fresh inspiration I received today while watching this show. I used to enjoy hiking. In 1999, I hurt my back really bad while at work and have been dealing with lots of pain, depression and being very sedentary for the duration, aa well as significant amount of weight gained. I was telling my brother just last year, that hiking was what I missed the most. I have started pool therapy to help build muscles and to hopefully add the exercise equipment into the routine soon. I have also been going to counseling for depression, as well as to learn skills for overcoming obstacles along the path of life.
    Randy and Quinn… this short, one great story, that I just happened to watch today, was prayers answered. I was losing focus and steam in my climb. Your story was the gentle heartfelt tug I needed at the right time. While watching the show what encouragement. And then to learn at the end of the show, of Quinn’s passing. Right then, I committed to trying to always having an attitude of gratitude. And an ” I can do this if I try ” spirit. I took a screenshot of Quinn on my phone. His picture and stories will also be added to my “toolbox” for lifes path.
    Thank you from the depths of my heart for sharing your stories and touching the lives of 26000 students and myself. We are only “a drop in the bucket” of all the lives that I do believe you will touch. Keep on trekking. May God Bless you in all you do and in all ways and always. Sincerely, Dottie

  20. A Treasured Place…….He was so much more than a Golden Lab. So much more than I could possibly understand. Sonny was my breath…the essence of my very soul. Everything good and decent was exemplified by his presence. He was my Lion King, and reached far into my heart. I loved him more than anything or any living being on this earth. His death on May 6th 2010 still brings great sadness and despair. The Mighty Quinn is a reflection of this loss. His video reaches the love in my heart I felt, and to this day, I still feel for my dog…Sonny! He died from Brain Cancer. I thank you, more than you know, for sharing your life with The Mighty Quinn. Richard in Richland, WA

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