Archive for the ‘General’ Category.

Quick Morning Update from the Quinn

Dad’s been packing and repacking his pack multiple times over the last few days. We are doing a UNH shakedown this
weekend which means the Hiking/Back-packing course is taking us for a weekend away from civilization to practice the
skills we are going to use doing the Pemigewasset Wilderness Traverse. I’ve counted and recounted my bags of food and
Dad seems to have me set. He pulled out two toys this morning which are making the trip so I’m pleased to know I’ll
have some activity to keep warm. Keep Warm you ask? (paw-ses)… It was snowing on me when Dad took me out for the
morning relieve. I suppose it was snowing on him as well but then I’m not the one choosing *THIS* weekend to go
practice living under a tarp! Technichally I guess it’s a Bivvy but rain, sleet and snow pretty much the entire trip
will make for an interesting time. I’ll send a Twitter message or two if and when appropriate but ultimately I’m
incommunicado for the next three days.

I do have a lot of things I wanted to share about my New York Trip and door dodging skills as well as the traverse
Nashua events of yesterday. Sadly Dad needs the computer for some final things and so I’m escaping only with this
quick update. One last shout out to thank Sharon for her work/explorations into the possibility of a Quinn cam which
might broadcast live from future hikes! See the world through my eyes as I lead the big lug around.

Monday we have a morning Advocacy meeting in Concord so hopefully I’ll have an afternoon update with all the details
missed this time and over the weekend.

Be Well!
Mighty Quinn

Avenue Q with the Mighty Q and Birthday Surprises

Let’s get right to the first significant update which is that I can tell you the Mighty Quinn paw healed nicely and he
is sleeping in his Whicker bed all curled up and cozy with a reasonably healthy pad. So from Wednesday to Saturday
morning he healed sufficiently there was no sign of limp or discomfort and we continued with our rather full weekend
plans.

Instead of travelling to CT on Friday night, we instead opted to wake exceedingly early on Saturday. Quinn had
breakfast at 5:00 a.m. and didn’t seem to mind much. This may seem like no big deal but there is a slightly more
significant impact in planning schedules around a pup’s known schedule. We know when food and water goes into Quinn
and thus have a fairly consistent schedule/understanding for when it comes out of Quinn. This gets skewed when you
feed early and then are going to add multiple car rides, a commuter train, an (now off) Broadway show and a reverse to
some of the above. So we hit CT and the home of my Brother Rick by 9:30 and shared a cup of coffee. In this instance
shared was way too literal as I shared the full and piping hot cup with not only my taste-buds but also far too soon my
lap and the couch beneath me. Yes I poured piping hot coffee on my lap and I did verify there was no braille warning
label on the Patriot Mug of java graciously handed me by Tracy. I’m sure there’s a lawsuit thre somewhere but it
really was simply my own error and a badly timed slip of the hand. The ever agile Quinn leaped safely out of the way
and watched from a distance as I practiced various sound effects intended to alleviate the rather unpleasant
neurological stimulus from said lap to my brain. The setback was ultimately minor and apparently even under such
duress I have the appropriate respect for coffee to save half the cup which I later drank in retribution.

We made a slightly delayed departure to Bridgeport CT and our Commuter Train into New York City. Commuter trains are
not precisely wide enough for a Quinn and Randy which meant he had to work a little extra hard to ensure I could walk
down to our seat without difficulty. One of the amazing aspects of Quinn is how well he adjusts to the new rules
imposed by an environment. He not only warns me appropriately with his stop or pause but then allows me to take the
lead in establishing my comfort and choice of how to handle it after he’s made the alert. Walking down a small aisle
could be a stop at ever seat if he didn’t evaluate my adjustments and let me work within my comfort or skill at the
highest efficiency. He’s remarkable and quickly crawled under the seat for the first of many snooze opportunities.

Grand Central Station! As Quinn might have mentioned in a prior post, the last time we were there it was part of our
work at Guiding Eyes to earn the right to graduate together. People jokingly refer to any excessively busy locale as
“Grand Central Station” and there’s a good reason. it does tend to be an excessively busy locale and 1:00 on a
Saturday afternoon was no exception. Quinn was excellent in his work really marking each staircase for me to ensure I
was safe. He wouldn’t buy the urging to proceed until I’d clearly tapped the step to show I was on my game. Managing
to swerve, stop, sidestep and otherwise adjust to the varying levels of mostly inattentive and rushing travellers
around us was just another skill he managed as if it was a bit of play together. His tail was high and the lad was
eager for the adventure. I probably apologized to five or six folks but all of whom I was assured had been the
offender according to folks with me who observed the process. I never mind offering the apology since I don’t know the
actual fault of it but it does amuse me that in all of that I never had any of the actual offenders offer me an
apology. I wonder if Quinn thinks my saying “I’m Sorry” is a subtle code for “Excuse me but given that I’m the blind
one and this magnificent dog is flawless, do you think you might perhaps consider being a bit more attentive to your
own walking?” Actually I suspect he’s already onto dodging the next flurry of chaotic patterns of people while
tracking the human I’ve asked him to follow.

We had a good cab ride with Quinn and myself in front thus getting him the slightly more spacious leg room of the
shotgun seat. This is interesting since our reverse cab ride involved a driver determined he would not allow Quinn to
ride with him. Having learned the lesson well I ignored him fully and got into the cab to begin discussions fully.
Monique was already up front and had explained the Guide Dog factor but he wasn’t listening. A brief cacophany of
Rick, Tracy, Monique and Randy all gave him the answers while he protested but then with a request for the chance to
explain it to him, I made it clear that he was absolutely welcome to call the police and that if he chose to disallow a
service animal from his cab he could lose his license as a cab driver. I asked how he wanted to proceed and suddenly
(imagine that!) he understood and was apologetic. It’s really sad how well we all need to understand how to advocate
for ourselves and that’s true of all people. I’m particularly of that belief in the medical world actually but in the
Guide Dog world it occasionally has it’s significance as well.

The Show itself was marvelous even now off Broadway. Seating was comfortable and sufficiently spacious though Quinn
prefers not to hve to lay on a slope which is what you get in most theater environments. Still it worked well and soon
we were back into the bustle of the city and retracing our route almost all the way back to our starting point.

We had a mission of misdirection and surprise. My brother Rick has long been one of my inspirations. He was the
seemingly perfect child and that makes since because I really believe he’s only improved upon that theme in becoming a
fantastic adult. Rick is turning 50 this May and the fifty decades are all loaded with poignant accomplishments though
none any better than the ones I still expect ahead for him. Monique had planned a fantastic surprise party for him and
in thematic fashion we would be at a faux castle with “King Richard” having a court of friends who all arrived in very
short notice (roughly two weeks) to celebrate his Life and 50th Birthday. The garb was splendid and the surprise for
Rick was tremendous which is not only difficult to manage but well worth it. It was a Marvelous evening and I’d like
to take a few liberties with Quinn’s blog to share a bit about someone so remarkable. I’m going to start with the same
note I did that evening as I introduced him. In 1989 when in two weeks I had gone from fully sighted to legally blind
with one entirely blind eye and the other roughly 50 percent reduced into tunnel vision. I was 22 years old and rather
unsettled with everything. My brother at 28 was certainly rather busy in establishing his own life which included his
wife and two young children. When he spoke to me on the phone and asked if there was anything which could be done, he
was leading up to his offer of one of his eyes as potentially a donor for me. Now being someone who had just lost an
eye, I had an appreciation for the impact at that point and the significance of the offer. That’s Rick though, he is
fiercely loyal and the expression of giving your right arm isn’t nearly enough to describe his generosity. He would
have given me his eye if it was possible and that’s an offer I’ll never forget even now some 21 years later. It’s
that same devotion and generosity of time, labor and love which ensured the Hall was full in short notice to help us
surprise and celebrate with Rick.

I grew up with Rick and I watched as his hard working style meant passionate pursuit of practice for his flute and
music as well as schoolwork. The only wonder at him being High School Salutorian is that someone actually had a
slightly higher GPA. He did all this while often desiging Board Games we played together or helping me find some
adventure. When we moved up to Colebrook NH he realized that his twelve year old Brother needed a little more of his
time and despite being six years older, he made sure to give me that time. It was then he became a close friend of
mine which is something which has never changed since. So whether singing and playing music, searching through the
woods, sharing books or just talking, I’d found an ideal role model who was also my best friend and Brother.

It wasn’t easy having a Brother who made every adult marvel at his intelligence, work ethic, artistry, manners and
more. Folks loved Rick and deservedly so but it sure was a tough act to follow. That’s why I didn’t really follow him
too well. I absolutely had him as an inspiration and mentally we grew so alike it still stuns people today. I took as
many different pursuits as possible because I knew I couldn’t achieve his pace and approach while being happy as my own
person. The influence he provided was tremendous and the more I learned to expand my reason the more value I continued
to take from our growing closer and closer. It’s something he simply manages to do with people and that is evident by
the six thousand contacts in his email or the hundreds of friends he keeps in the social media world of today. Some
people can manage a family, job and a hobby or two. Rick manages all that with a hobby or seven and he doesn’t half
heartedly approach any of those. He’s founded Flute Choirs (yes, plural!), Founded Larps, sustained ailing Larps and
been the marvel of things theatrical, ingenious or technilogical many many times. His emplyees are so moved they
attend his 50th in force and struggle to contain emotion as they talk baout unheralded devotion and loyalty which he
inspires in those who work with him. No big deal to me as this isn’t the first company in which he’s done just such a
thing. How bout Family? His Son Chris sang Leader of the Band and well out of his comfort range, he challenged
himself to show his Father a depth of love and appreciation that moved all who heard him. Chris says he could not
imagine a better Father and he’s probably right. People say these fantastic things half heartedly and often after
someone’s passing when respect suggests it is a necessity. Person after person got up to speak about Rick as an
inspiration because in doing what he does he empowers them to do what they wish as well. It’s a real and palpable
appreciatoin of a remarkable man…and he’s my Brother. So I’ll step off the soap box barely telling you why he’s so
amazing but if you must know, do yourself a favor and spend some time with him – you’ll be better for it.

So that was the real reason I stole Quinn’s thunder on this week’s blog post. He’ll be back for the next one I’m sure
and in the meanwhile:

Before I depart, Quinn asked me to share this little gem from his Twitter account. PBS has an interesting documentary
ahead and you can preview some aspects:
Meet the dogs (and people) featured in the documentary “Through a Dog’s Eyes” coming to @PBS April 21:
http://to.pbs.org/duqoAB

Be Well!
Randy
& the Mighty Quinn
www.zipdogblog.com

Your Pad or Mine?

Good Morning everyone,

I’m writing this from the pup list which as some of you might know is a TLA (three letter acronym) for Physically
Unable to perform. Wednesday at some point in the afternoon which I think was the Hayward’s visit redux, I managed to
get an emulsion on my front left paw on the big pad. I was tender and wouldn’t play on Wednesday night which is how
Dad realized there was a serious issue. We did minimal work on Thursday and Dad determined I needed all of Thursday
and Friday to heal. When Tracy arrived home last evening I did limp up to her for a little sympathy but by evening’s
end I was trying to suggest I could sprint around the house in a pattented puppy spaz. Dad wasn’t buying the miracle
and has made me stay quiet today. This does at least give me time to write a blog post.

First up a shout out to my buddy Beast, service pup in training, who apparently has had his second tail injury
recently. The first one barely phased him so I’m sure he’ll be fine but just in case good luck Beast. That said, I
went to visit Beast last weekend and we got to play a bit in their back yard while Stefani took some pictures. She’s
suggested the facebook world might find some of these pictures here:
http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=50355&id=1036926732&l=4fda27a7f4

I probably should create one of those tiny url deals but I’ve got this sore paw and hopefully you all understand!
While there you might visit with Stefani and her family who have a fairly remarkable story and approach. I’m a
believer life has a lot of inspirational opportunities for those with a little vision…and I don’t mean sight. Give us
a couple more weeks and hopefully we’ll unveil the 2020 Vision Quest to all of you and show you exactly what we mean in
the short and long term.

Last weekend was fantastic weather and we spent a lot of time working on the yard. We really put some work into the
Ostend Shrine Dad has for his previous Guide and it looks great. There’s always more yard work but since my job is to
lay ontthe lawn with everyone and roll over occasionally to warm and cool different sides…I say bring it all on!
Grammy came over and was a fantastic help and it reminded me how much fun we can soon be having with summer BBQ events
in the back yard. We did this for two days and surrounded an Easter Family Breakfast here in Nashua. I’m getting a
good dose of Uncle Rick and Aunt Monique because this weekend we are heading down to stay at their home. For Christmas
they gave Tracy and Dad a trip to New York City for a show and we are off to Avenue Q on Saturday. I haven’t been to
the Big Apple since we were there for our Emmy Nominated HBO video. Before that I hadn’t been there since Dad and I
were in class at Guiding Eyes and did the mid-day Manhatten walk which is required for our graduation. Grand Central
Station was no match for the Mighty Quinn and Avenue Q (for Quinn) will certainly work fine too.

So on Wednesday I went to visit the Dr. Crisp Elementary school in Nashua. I guess that Doctor brought Dad into this
world a ‘few’ years ago! We went first to a first grade class because our friend Bella was there and she introduced us
to her class and let us talk about me for awhile. It went very well as an impromptu appearance and they were great
kids. That was our practice session for Zach’s third grade class presentation. We talked about “Persevering Through
Adversity” but worked in a lot of time for my part in that process. To listen to Dad talk about me you think I must be
pretty amazing. Still it went reasonably well and the teachers sent us a very appreciative note. We’ll have to go
visit them again in the future.
After the talk school was over so we took our friends Zach and Bella for ice-cream and had a great trip….well except
for the part about hurting my paw. So wish me some fast healing today so I can be ready for the weekend trip to New
York.

One final note, Guiding Eyes lost an employee of over 39 years as Jose Vargas passed away this week. He greeted every
class every morning with a “Good Morning Beautiful People” which I can still hear. He was an amazing person and they
have a seroius loss. Go to their website and read many deserving tributes to him. So from me I just wanted to say to
Jose: “Farewell to a Beautiful Person.”

Mighty Quinn

Double time Drizzle

As a progressive pup I’ve been using Twitter when away from the computer which means I’m sharing smaller updates and
not always recalling to share them here. I’ll try to keep pace with my weekly blog intent but do feel free to follow
me on Twitter. I’ve also been entertaining requests for facebook and may branch out there in the not too distant
future as well. Fear not the blog is a primary passion and updates of a longer and more detailed format will be coming
here steadily.

I did get a few requests to understand the legal results of our being denied access. We were saved from the soggy
Monday commute by a call from the Attorney handling the matter for N.H. presently. They think we are being more than
reasonable in only requesting education for the restaurant in question. We actually have the right to request a fair
bit more due to their willful (our opinion) denial of service for discriminatory reasons. The owner of the
establishment does not speak any english and doesn’t take the matter seriously having had several other stunning
decisions in the past. He once removed designated drivers from his establishment because he felt soda purchases were
too low a profit margin for his preference…stunning. So as the Labradour variety of the designated driver, the ADA
is clear I’m allowed to Guide Dad into restaurants though Dad is required to ensure I’m clean and well behaved. These
aren’t at issue and on Monday the lawyer for the restaurant was suddenly far more willing to work with our reasonable
requests and has made a request for an additional week to arrange the proper approach for a settlement of the
educational variety. Stay tuned but in the meanwhile the Concord trek was cancelled. Just as a matter of awareness,
the cost of a cab from Nashua to Concord is $80 or $85 One-Way depending on who is called. This isn’t a ride we want
to take often but the nature of public transit inter-city in NH is such that by bus it would be a trip from Nashua to
Boston and then Boston to Concord. That’s roughly three hours of just bus time never mind transit times…and that
presumes we are already at the Nashua bus terminal which is two city bus rides from our home. Now try to plan all that
before 10:00 a.m. and on a day rainy enough there’s ark building rumors. I would vollunteer to pair up with a Female
yellow lab btw. She should love tug, tennis ball and lots of long walks…when it’s not raining. Hey, I’m just saying
if there’s truth to this ark rumor I want to be prepared!

So how about our trip to UNH? Second time we attend class and second heavy, flood level rainstorm. We actually had to
drive through a ‘washout’ point on the way home! I gave a quick synopsis of the course last blog time but we are
getting steadily more into the learning each week. The class is helping read sections of the book to Dad and a lot of
blind awareness is an under-current to the class learning. This is an outdoor education course and they tend to be
practical, hands on and interactive whenever possible. For example, this last class everyone donned a blindfold and
worked on their backpacks without the benefit of sight. This was intended to give them an appreciation for the main
points of packing and organization. There’s a lot of science put into the approach because carrying 40 or more extra
pounds for 36 miles through multiple 4000 foot mountains seems like something worth taking seriously. I was amused
watching folks new to their vision deprivation trying to spread out around the class floor and go through their packs.
Dad did likewise as the instructors: Brent, Becky and Sherpa John reviewed the included items to ensure folks
understood what was and was not wise for clothing in the Wilderness. Dad needs to update a few supplies before the
Pemi loop but we are mostly set for our rapidly approaching weekend excursion.

Added into the various mix of discussions was one of my favorite topics: food. The hikers have to plan for close to
3200 calories per day as they’ll burn a lot more than normal out there. I told Dad he needs to do some research about
my own caloric/kibble intake. Sure I’m partially hoping to just increase my consumption but he suggests education is
the right approach. All I know is I want my water without pesky bacterial risk and that means filtration or iodine is
in the future so likely some experiment is ahead there. His backpack is rated at 70 Liters so that’s 35 two liter
bottles of Quinn water…of course I would sacrifice much for the extra kibble. Dad has agreed to carry all my food to
leave my attention purely on my harness work which I think is not only admirable but definitely necessary. How else
will I have stamina for a little tug on the trail!?! To help him out with this the other students in the class are
going to split up carrying Dad’s food which doesn’t seem entirely fair but we aren’t drawing battle lines here. Back
on the education front the weekend trip is called teh “Shakedown.’ Each student has to prep an educational
presentation on various topics from “Creepy Crawlies”, Bear Hangings, Weather, history … and Dad has to come up with
an idea entirely his own to present. Any suggestions out there? I’ll share Charlee Bears and a paw-graphed photo of
Quinn to the best suggestion sent in comments here, twitter or direct email. I do have my very own email now as I’m
part of the 2020 Vision Quest project so:
Quinn @ 2020visionquest.com will come to me and get you a response. I still prefer interacting through blog comments
when possible though. Regarding those suggestions, Dad has to present his concept next Tuesday so now lolly-gagging
with suggestions!

By Friday of this week we get to submit a sample menu for our Shakedown trip. We are working with Kyle and Jenny to
plan this and I’ve already finished my menu:
Canidae No Grain Kibble 1 overflowing cup per meal x 2 meals per day! Also add in 5.4 charlee Bears per day for good
performance and that carb boost you need to get you going!

Anyone in the camping arena have a KLMNO meal for Dad? Kalorie, lightweight, minerals and vitamins, nutrients and…oh
I better go read the book again! Oatmeal and Ramen noodles only go so far after all…and this from a dog who eats the
same meal every day…

On that front, I’m embarrassed a bit to report a food change. Dad noted some problems over the last month in
my…output. As such he’s taken to mixing about one half cup of warm water to my dry kibble. Not only does this make
a tasty gravy but it also has alleviated my challenges. Not sure how he’s going to do this in the Wilderness but I’m
liking the Gravy!

That’s all for now – talk to you next week unless those suggestions need replies. Don’t leave me hanging!

The Mighty Quinn

Race Results

See…we nailed that Bruschi tribute perfectly at 54:54
http://www.coolrunning.com/results/10/ma/Mar28_IrishF_set1.shtml

Randy
& the Mighty Quinn
www.zipdogblog.com

Racing Stripes and Canine Rights

Good Morning!

It’s been a rather full weekend and early reports show it won’t slow down today or tomorrow. I want to jump right into
the fun stuff though. Yesterday we travelled to Lowell, MA to partake in a road race called “Irish Legs are Running.”
It was a five mile course from Hook Slide Kelly’s Pub through Lowell. I’ve never run a road race and Dad hasn’t in
years. Several of the folks with us also hadn’t run in eons if ever. There were plans and there was Sponeteneity the
latter including a rather marvelous feat by Ben who signed up for the race last minute as he decided watching us wasn’t
to his preference and he was confident he’d made enough progress. What progress might you ask? Oh just a three month
anniversary from having a major open heart surgery…incredible! Yes, it was safe and reasonable just ludicirously
ahead of where his Doctors would expect. Our group of eight friends (counting me of course) have been tremendously
supportive and encouraging of each other and that showed brilliantly again today. I was assigned to Carrie as she was
intending to set a higher pace than most of the group. Now I ran in a heel with her on one of our private runs earlier
but my preference is to follow Tracy or Kara foremost in this group of friends. Thus when the gun sounded and Tracy
was first off at the higher pace in a throng of starters, I wanted to catch Dad up to her but he kept telling me I had
to follow Carrie. Now I’ willing to adjust but Carrie wanted to run – get this – *IN* the road. I kept showing Dad
the sidewalk and he kept sending me back to her which made for a great serpentine route on the first fifty yards.
Exasperated by her not willing to follow the rules I even dropped back to Kara for a bit as she was running with
Scottie and I knew she would learn the rules. Sadly Dad was insistent so I agreed and started out with Carrie in
earnest. That is…until we caught up with Tracy on a long slow uphill for the first mile. I dropped right in behind
her and wanted to follow…only again to be told that’s not how today would be managed. My tail was still wagging with
the adventure of it all but as we moved onward I locked onto carrie finally and officially for the race. No more
sperpentine or challenge, I was just running with Dad and it was fantastic with all sorts of excitement and supportive
people lining the road. I was so good I don’t think most of them even suspected Dad is totally blind!

At the first Water stop we were isolated enough to pull up and stop and let Dad drink, I’d had plenty earlier and had
already drained it all from my system with promises of all I wanted aftre the race. Dad had a cup and was told to
throw the cup on the ground but littering isn’t a strength of his even knowing people were there deliberately intending
to pick it up. THey told him to just run and so he told me “hop-up” and I took him right to the other dog sitting at
the water table…hey he should be more clear in his language and Carrie was still drinking anyhow. That was the only
snafu of the race and Dad was good otherwise.

The weather was cool in the thirty degrees which is ideal for running, I never really had to pant as a cool down
mechanism and we dogs have no trouble with endurance running. Unlike Dad’s panting for air, I pant only to cool down.
So the race was smooth sailing for me. I will say cobblestone streets were not my favorite and a section that suddenly
needed us on the sidewalk wasn’t so good either just because of the crowding but we slowed down for it. We also did
get warned of about five spots with broken glass…sigh… but we pulled into the five mile finish after a slight
downhill stretch and all of us feeling like we could run harder if we wanted. In honor of  Tedy Bruschi and Carrie’s
tremendous tolerance, we crossed the line at 54:54 which is just under an 11 minute mile pace. It was fun and staying
by the finish line, belly full of water, to cheer our friends was a highlight. Derek had not only run with Tracy for
much of it but had carried some of her layers as they went along. I was eager to greet them all and then took my nap
as they sat and had a little food. Awesome day…and best yet I got home and Dad deliverred on Tennis ball in the
backyard where I showed off my over the shoulder catches for Coach.

Friday night we had gone to a house concert where we got to hear Liz Longley play for us. She’s fun, talented and well
worth it – even a twitter bud of mine- but the highlight for me was our hosts. Stefani and Ralph have two great
children and a super pup named “Beast” who at 21 weeks is training to be a service dog as well. We got along really
well and he was fantastically well mannered for a young lad. At 54 pounds he’s going to be big so I thought I’d teach
him some calmness I might need later! We played and curled up together through dinner and the show and I think we’ll
have some real outside playtime in the not too distant future. There are pictures out there on the web and I’ll try to
point you to them eventually! Meanwhile, good luck to Beast – I think you are going to be a star…a very BIG star.

So today I’ve got to take Dad to Concord and sadly it means cab time as the notice is short. The department of Human
Services is doing a pre-hearing on a nearly three year old complaint. A restaurant in Nashua refused to let me guide
Dad inside and claimed they had approval of the Health Services. They were adamant and didn’t care what any federal
laws suggested. Dad only wants to see them forced to take an educational course to alleviate this situation and that’s
reasonable but they want to ignore it until and unless it goes to trial. THis is their last chance tot take the easy
option and I’m glad to showcase my talents to the hearing board. The owners never questioned me for my cleanliness or behaviour, only for their either lack of education or more likely stubborn approach. While up in Concord we may make trips to NHAB and get our BeathleJuice concert tickets for May 21 as well as a trip to CWB (the lawfirm for 2020) and ensure allt he paperwork is properly managed. Dad’s been doing a lot of work on this with many friends and soon he may even try to recruit a few more people to help on various aspects. Overall though he isn’t letting work on that
reduce our time or work. As reward for the day in Concord I have a second puppy play date with Erin’s dog Cody
tonight. It’s rainy which isn’t so good for playing outside but we’ll manage a little I think. After all Towels were
invented to dry down wet, dirty play dogs…right?

Tomorrow we not only have Karate all morning but we go to UNH again for the evening course in Durham. Dad and Tracy are both getting the 8 week benefit of the backpacking course that is allowing a crew of ten students to learn how to manage not only a wilderness traverse but to do so with Dad and I as added ‘help’ to the process. Managing thigh deep snow on the Twinway for example…even at the end of May. Fording deeper streams (yech!) to start the trip and of
course tending all our safety while still experiencing the Wilderness as a team. It’s a good group of folks and I’m
looking forward to our big adventures ahead. Last Tuesday was the first and easy round but we only have two more
courses before we do a weekend event of camping together as a practice for the deeper wilderness!

So that’s the Quinn rounds for the week (or so). I’ve met many great people and I’m loving life steadily…it’s good
to be a Guide in a home of adventure!

Be Well!
MQ

Can a Bird Dog use a Duck Boat?

I heard the reports the Duck Boats from Boston are saving several communities which have flooded roadways. That wasn’t
my problem though it was close when we met at Runner’s Alley at the Nashua Mall by Coliseum Avenue yesterday. New
Blanace had a promotion and they put Dad into a running shoe and led a group of us into the Mine’s Falls park. This is
my favorite park in Nashua but as early as that morning large sections were apparently under water. Most of you know
my legendary aversion to water despite the webbed paws and all. Still we had been in a Board Meeting for the New
Hampshire Association for the Blind all afternoon and were dropped off just in time to join up with everyone. Running
even near water is vastly superior to any meeting that has Bored in it’s title – even if Dad tries to tell you all it
was a really good meeting.

As some of you also know I’ve been taking Dad for more and more runs. Guide Schools do not sanction running as part of
our ‘work’ because there’s so many things for me to attend when leading him. Dad has been selective about where he
asks and I’m selective about when I’m willing. I guess I’ve finally earned his full trust because we ran down Coliseum
and into the mostly dry pathways of Mine’s Falls. The lower paths were still flooded but most of them were open and we
did the three mile loop while the rest of the group tended to the second and third bridges for 4 and 5 mile run
options. I wanted more but we were pacing for our big run this Saturday when I’m going to give Dad his first seven
mile effort since he went totally blind in 2000. Now he might have done more overall running for his Black Belt test
in 2002 but it was interspersed while this will be straight through. Fortunately the running and Tracy (ok and Kara,
Carrie, Derek…) have convinced Dad the shoe technology really can benefit him if he gets real running shoes and
abuses his body less. We dogs can run for eons on our pads with little challenge but not so for the bipedal part of
this team. That said, Tracy saved us from four places where broken glass on the sidewalks or road to the Park made a
hazard for me I might not have avoided without her. It’s sad folks do this and sad more folks can’t help to clean it
up and keep our paws safe! He now has running shoes and socks and believes in them. Back to Dad and his choice to get
new shoes: What’s that quote he uses about not planning to fail but failing to plan… good job this time!

Our hiking project has been advancing steadily and the Face Book Fan Page folk are aware that today is allegedly a Teva
decision day. That said planning and more planning has been part of the 2020 Vision Quest. We are holding meetings
mutliple times each week as this project grows. I’m told I can not only expect to hike a lot of mountains with Dad but
we are really going ot upsclae our visits to schools as well. Starting May 1 things are going to be very interesting
for me around here but I will continue to try and get in a weekly update here on the blog.

All that said and with many details left out, I wanted to share a bit of challenging reality from last weekend. I took
my Dad to Rochester for the funeral of Robert Descoteaux. Bob was like a Dad to my Dad in many ways and while we
always want to have the passing of people be more about celebrating the life we shared with them, grief really is the
most potent early response as feeling sof loss are more prominent. Lung Cancer ultimately cost him and all of us time
with him and I hope that’s a lesson to the many folks out there to evaluate the choices and maximize the quality and
quantity of shared time with those we love. Dad loved Bob and thought he was a tremendous person which has helped him
make that transition from more grief to more celebration of the many magic moments with a marvelous person.

Be Well!
Quinn the Mighty!

Oh… *THAT* Mountain…

Most of you know Dad’s hatched this scheme to climb the 48 4000 foot mountains here in New Hampshire. You probably
also know about his application to become a Teva Life Agent which would apparently bolster this quest with a $10,000
award for the project. Teva tweeted that the decision would be made within the next two weeks and this would certainly
help make the hiking schedule real for the coming season. The Teva project in particular is a hike up Mount Washington
which is the tallest here in N.H. and legendary for it’s challenging presence. I got my first look up close and
personal this weekend as we attended an AMC (Appalachian Mountain Club) course on Wilderness safety. THis was held at
the Joe Dodge Lodge in Pinkham Notch which is right at the eastern base of the Mountain. We drove up very early on
Saturday and as we wound through old route 25 in Tamworth the Mountain loomed before us impressively. The weather was
glorious and Tracy wanted to stop and take pictures it was so majestic. Well Majestic is one word, I’d like to suggest
Daunting or Intimidating as equally valid words. I love walking, walking in the woods, hiking and even climbing
mountains yet on the crystal clear morning with 113 miles of visibility being reported from the summit, I was impressed
with the work ahead. Fortunately I learned we weren’t trying to climb in the snowy top but would rather make that a
summer quest later this year. This trip was about Wilderness Safety.

Early on we learned that some people were taking the course for Woofer certification and as a champion “Woofer” I was
hopeful. Apparently this is Wilderness First Responder and I didn’t quite qualify but I did groan out my interest when
they asked. One Woofer there was Brady – a guy we met at a Pats game when he brought Brent Bell to the game. That
meeting has had a lot to do with the UNH Pemi traverse this May and in fact sparked some of the 2020 Vision for hiking
the 48. The world is small and strange…that is unless you are looking at a ‘small’ piece of it named Mount
Washington. I still say that’s a huge slab of rock.

A little over half our time was spent in a classroom with windows letting us constantly look up at the Mountain in the
beautiful weather which made it seem enticing. Bill Kane of Solo was our primary instructor and he had a great blend
of humor and teaching to make the process go well. He and Frank would lead us in and out to practice senarios of
injury treatment geared for Wilderness situations which basically means remote enough that quick transport to full
medical treatment isn’t possible. The inside stuff was sort of boring to me since my ‘treatment’ plan for Dad is to
rush over and lick his face if he should fall to the ground. I did later learn I have already masterred something they
call ‘decrumpling’ but that was an advanced technique for Sunday. So imagine my discomfort when we all head out and
Dad puts me to the side in a ‘stay’ and then proceeds to flop onto the ground seemingly unconscious as part of their
scenario. I play this game all the time with Dad and I know my job is to rush over and lick him n the face or
ocasionally roll him onto his back with my snout so I can lick him. This isn’t any part of my formal Guide Dog work
but a game Dad developed with me which once proved meritorious when he whacked his head on a support column in the
basement. So immediately I get Quinn worried face and watch concerned as Tracy and a few others began the various
rounds of ‘treating’ Dad. He didn’t come up nearly as quickly as happens when I’m on the job so I didn’t much like it
but I learned to get used to it as we repeated this many times.

On the flip side, it was very exciting when Dad and I got to be part of a rescue team. Roughly one third of the class
would flop onto the ground and I’d have to lead Dad to his person to save. I had a formula for this which usually
involved taking him to the closest down person I already knew. Apparently though I wasn’t supposed to try and save
Kara and we left her to move onto Tracy. I took him to Tracy but as he squatted and felt with his hand for the ‘body’
we found Judy instead because the two of them had rather carelessly collapsed very close to each other. Someone was
helping Judy already but they went quiet as we approached so they could watch me do my part. When Dad checked to the
other side he found Tracy and put me into a sit-stay while he treated her. Again I’m certain my technique would have
had her up in no time but instead it was his laborious series of explorations and time delays before finally he got her
up. We repeated this in many ways and I was glad when they started bringing me a mat to lay upon because laying still
on the snow isn’t as warm as you might think. The temperatures weren’t that cold but wet snow isn’t ideal. Dad had
brought my jacket and we used it later. Sadly I learned that my winter coat can also double as emergency splint/sling.
THis is reasonable except if it’s used for such guess who goes without a coat! Harrumph!!

After the primary class on Saturday most of the group stayed for a CPR certification course and Dad now is certified
for the next two years at least. I think he was certifiable from the moment he hatched this climbing scheme but I
guess the many good things coming from this which comprises the entire 2020 Vision Quest is worth it all. Class
finally over for the day we went to have dinner together. This AMC lodge was amazing with a great main room, friendly
and fun people as well as food they said was fantastic. I had my usual but at least I didn’t miss meals while roughing
it in the Wilderness. After dinner we took Dad to the most amazing raised relief map he’d ever felt. It was just the
Mount Washingto area but it was huge and detailed allegedly created by someone named Washburn. Watching Carrie trace
Dad’s finger along the route we would be climbing under her leadership later this year was…well amazing. She traced
several of the trails for him as we discussed the options for routes which he hasn’t yet selected. Apparently the
mountain is so big there are many multiple trails up it, an auto road and even a train called the Cog Railway. It’s a
lot of Mountain that has so many ways up it! Carrie was awesome with the description and detail showing the intended
journey to the AMC hut at Lake of the Clouds. Hearing them and watching him even I got excited for the climb though
mostly I was excited to greet several of the folks asking for a chance to say hello during this time. We did get
several tips on the best hikng ‘boot’ for me as there are apparently Rangers who use labs on the mountain all the time
and have found an ideal boot. Frank is going to get us the information though I bet Dad will have to follow up to
ensure I’m fully prepared. I think Teva funding should include top quality Quinn boots for the shale and quartzite top
of Mount Washington. My vet had said he only wants to ensure a boot has good traction and these apparently have just
such a thing. I can’t wait to test them and see if they are better than the boots I wear when salt is high around
home.

Saturday night we all relaxed in a side room and shared a Quaiche and conversation. It was fun hearing everyone’s bits
of appreciation and we got to interact a little with some folks like Aman Doyle an impressive guy taking the course for
some quality time with his Sister. The fun was partially interrupted when the call arrived sending Kat and Kara home
early because Allison was having her baby and they were going to be there supporting and savoring the process. They
made it there in time and there is a new addition. Allison hiked up Mt. Osceolla with us while pregnant and so there’s
a little cycle completion in a way. Congratulations to John and Allison. We missed Kat and Kara on Sunday especially
since Kat was doing some preliminary filming of the Documentary and I do love a camera. It did give us a chance to
work with different folks like Cheryl and Meghan during the practicals. Ultimately our group of Tracy, Kara, Carrie,
Kat and Dave had a great excursion and will be more prepared to handle many safety components while hiking. Let’s hope
we need to use these skills as little as possible! Next round I’d like more dedicatin to Quinn playtime and less to
coursework. The lodge was good and all but I was well under utilized for my preferences.

Perhaps in part of the atonement I had a good experience this morning. We went for an early morning run together.
Tracy led the way and I followed keeping at a brisk walk or jog as the terrain dictated/allowed. We did the Farmington
Loop which was good and even though it was a mix of fast walk and run, I totally loved it. It might have even been as
much fun as the tug of war play I got on the return trip to the house. Running with all my pack always makes me happy
and I hope we have a lot more of this going forward. One note of disappointment is about the Osgood Street corner.
RIght on the sidewalk as you step up someone broke a thick bottle and broken glass makes for a puppy paw hazard. Tracy
was there to alert us and steer us around but without her I’d have had some seroius concerns. I know my blog readers
aren’t the type to do such things but I’m also hopeful this might inspire all of us to consider not only the ‘not
doing’ of such things but perhaps the undoing of such things. A bag and a dustpan could make short work of it and
leave a safer world for Quinn paws as well. We can’t always travel with such things but if we find a problem we might
be able to remember and see to it getting resolved on a future trip…the sooner the better.

Dad’s done his calls with the lawyers for the 2020 Vision Quest Charity so I have to give him the computer back. Be
Well!

Quinn the Mighty
Woofer Certified

Dancing with the Stairs – a new Hit?

Who needs dancing with the stars when Dad can bring you his own rendition of a more exciting event! Monday evening we
went to the University of New Hampshire in Durham where I’m told Dad spent four years of his life in getting his BSEE –
whatever that means. What is apparent is that he’s forgotten a lot about the location and/or it’s changed tremendously
since that time. He worked in the M.U.B. for all four of those years yet didn’t know the building was no longer a
rectable but now an “L” with an enormous addition. Here it was that Sherpa John’s Documentary “48” was on display for
the fifthe year anniversary of the release. Since we are poised to climb the 48 it seemed a natural to take a look –
particularly since the rumors are we have a Documentary being filmed of our project as well.

So there we were with Tracy strutting our stuff on the college campus and sleeping through most of the Documentary, hey
I’m a doer not a watcher! When all was said and done, introductions, farewells and all that we started out and Dad was
a little distracted as he was talking to Brent Bell while we walked. We could hear Brent’s wife Beth explaining to
their Birthday boy son Holden about my stopping at the top of stairs to warn Dad. All seemed in perfect order except I
might point out Dad had slept only six hours in the prior 72 because he’s been a might busy with the 2020 Vision
Quest’s foundation and other such things. So after seemingly for him managing all the flights of stairs I took him to
another set…which he decided to interpret as a curb rather than the first step of a long staircase. Sure I imagine
for the blind the difference between a curb and the start of a staircase is confusing at times but the non-distracted
are aware this is a real danger and so pay attention. Particularly when wearing his size 14 winter hiking boots which
can, and did, dwarf the individual steps. Now amidst the precursor events for this moment was also our Sunday 5 mile
run which I’ll cover in detail later but suffice it to say he was walking a little gingerly from some apparent muscle
soreness which had converted his normal legs into lead rather than the gold most alchemists might prefer. So stepping
off a curb usually has a little more distance to the step then the tightly stepping staircase requires. Thus when his
first step put his heel on the edge of the first step and it tipped quickly down such that his towe went past the next
one…we had disaster in the making. I really couldn’t tell you how many steps existed, though it was not
inconsequential, because for the next many steps by both him and my four paw drive, there was an incredible dance
routine by Dad. No railing in reach, hand on my harness and big feet flying to keep under his downward hurling form
and yet never able to catch solidly on the too small steps. Tracy watched in horror as did Brent since the only
outcome expected was a trip to the hospital to see how much damage he could do by this maneuver. I, however, had other
plans. I rode it out with him giving him a steady supply of harness tension and support such that at the bottom of the
stairs, Dad was still on his feet, reeling a little and stunned at how he’d managed to not sprawl anywhere in the
process. Tracy later described his “graceful dance” as somewhat akin to watchng the Scarecrow in the Wizard of Oz.
All neurological inferences aside, it’s probably an apt analogy!

So in Guide Dog terms I did my job taking him to the edge and stopping. Where he should have tapped with his foot and
then proceeded he stepped and I just made up the difference of adjusting n the fly (literally). I hope he recognizes
this in future interactions with edge detection because my job is a lot more challenging if he doesn’t. After all, I
am in charge of his safety…which brings us to that five mile run. Sure we have been jogging the Matt Goldwyrm loop
on occasion but not often enough and not recently enough for a five mile run to be a great idea for him. We walked the
route on Saturday and I did a pretty solid job of showing him I had the route well in paw. Alas on Sunday he had some
weird based bole harness which Kara wore as the group of Dad, Tracy, Kara, Derek, Carrie and Scottie all began the
trek. To my amazement and considerable concern, Dad was not with me, rather relegating me to just a leash and Tracy.
I expressed my concern continuously and moreso as they headed off at the higher pace and left us behind. I was not a
happy dog. I have spent my entire life training for the purpose of Guiding him, I am on duty 24/7 and lately we seem
to almost tax that extent. So when I see him putting his trust in a human not given to quite my pedigree of
deservedness, I see disaster as likely. Let me tell you it was clear early on she didn’t get it either as she would
swing out too wide on corners and a couple of times even crossed at non approved points for crossing. I wanted to be
with him and ensuring his safety. Now admittedly he seemed fine albeit perhaps desirous of an actual running shoe for
the next trip. Still when I caught him n the return trip I had been passed off to Carrie who was pretty fun if I
wasn’t so worried about Dad. We ran with him for a ways and I was whining and trying to tell him I wanted to be his
Guide. Finally he paused for a moment to tell me all was ok and I immediately tied him up with the leash to keep him
from getting away. He untied me and I did it again, I take my job seriously. He used those thumbs of his against me
though and soon he was untied and out of reach and back to the run. I was reassured though and kept with him for most
of the rest of the trip. During their cooling walk I actually joined him directly and life was right once again. I
think we should re-open the union talks that might keep the wrong folks from doing my job…the economy is not so flush
I can risk the competition! Where would a Lab go for work and kibble supplies if humans start invading our work
territory?!?!

So that’s the quick hit gist of my recent trek. I will tell you that Dad just read “A Sense of the World” by Jason
Roberts. This non-Fiction piece details the life of the World’s Greatest Traveller – a man from England who went
totally blind at the age of 25 and yet was the most prolific traveler of his era (1786-1957. All this blind travelling
without the merit of a Guide Dog! Sounds too incredible to believe and despite amazing accomplishments and celebrity
during his time, it’s perhaps more amazing history had almost erased his record if not for the research to unveil this
2006 Best Seller. Read on and realize my Dad’s got a lot of ground to cover if he wants to impress!

What are these Frosty Paw things Dad is trying to hide from me?
The Mighty Quinn
& his tall blind lug

A Note of Appreciation from Randy

Once in a great while Quinn allows me to post on his blog and this is one of those opportunities. As Twitter intimated today, Quinn did have a brief bout of sore paw though it was actually fine within moments. Rock Salt may do wonders to help make our roads and sidewalks more safe but it is not ideal on dog paws. In the worst of locations I either put dog boots upon Quinn’s feet, which he greatly disliked, or I have to clear his paws frequently. This can be done with a romp into fresh snow, mud or water. A towel can help a bit as well though this particular morning I had him join Tracy for a run while I was enjoying a visit with Dave M. He made it to mile 4 (almost) when the paw got sore and mud soothed it before the ride arrived. Much to his dismay his run ended and he returned to me but we’ll have plans to manage that better going forward. He’s got to get his endurance up for our future climbs…which is mostly a joke as his endurance is already well into the right range and mine is the challenge. That said, the Teva Life Agent page has really done tremendous things for awareness of the impending climb up Mt Washington as well as the Non-Profit venture we are on the verge of founding. Towards that end I thanked the many people on Facebook and on the Teva Life Agents comment page: www.tevalifeagents.com

I thought I’d share that same bit of gratitude here for the folks reaching out from here to there and beyond. Thank you all:

I am Overwhelmed and entirely appreciative of the tremendous support and amazingly inspiring comments I’ve been receiving both on The Facebook page and on the Video comments for the Teva Life Agent Application. I have been reading them steadily and often listening to them multiple times and I already know that should my drive or confidence ever waver even a little I need only remind myself of the tremendous kindness and support you have all shared with me here. These comments have made a tremendous impact upon me and I thank you for the emails, comments and the many just joining the Facebook Fan Page.

My Teva Life Agent Application is a hopeful outreach to get a significant boost into both the very challenging Mt. Washington hike and the impending 2020 Vision Quest. I have little doubt that I will find the means to bring all of these goals to reality and hopefully along the way accomplish many very positive additional goals. Whether I receive the Grant or not, Teva has already helped provide a tremendous bit of inspiration into the project by providing a venue for this outreach to get such a fantastic start.

It’s been less than a week and already I’m overwhelmed. I cannot wait to observe how this continues and grows which is in large part to many of you helping us spread the word.

My 2020 Vision is absolutely not just about hiking the 48 4000+ foot mountains here in New Hampshire. It’s about Developing a Vision and finding the many means of using this vision to achieve new heights. Hiking is a glorious experience and excellent analogy for one of the many messages I hope to share. The Non-Profit I am in the process of founding will not only bring some intended messages of inspiration and motivation but also to raise funds for both the New Hampshire Association for the Blind and Guiding Eyes for the Blind, two organizations which I particularly credit with helping me become the more confident and adventure capable person I choose to be.

Thank you all – and for the Firefly fans – “you can’t stop the signal!”

Randy

& the Mighty Quinn

www.zipdogblog.com