Sic transit Gloria mundi

August 27, 2000 – July 29, 2014

For those of you who knew him, you will always remember his big heart and playful spirit, his sloppy kisses and wagging tail. He was a wonderful Guide Dog, well-behaved and friendly to all those he met. He cheered sad people and made children laugh.

Musket gave more than he ever took. The world will be a sadder and grayer place without him. But for nearly fourteen years he made a difference to the lives of many people.

I had to go blind to have Musket enter my life. It was well worth it.

Rest in Peace, Little Buddy.

lab with poppies

From our friend Keith Tomlinson, who watched over Musket and I for more than ten years, a wonderful poem.

When Musket Dog

was still a pup

Mark came to class

and picked him up

The road ahead

Was still unknown

When Mark and Musket

Headed home

Mark found a job

Explaining ADA

The work was important

But not much pay

Then McDonald’s

Wouldn’t sell them Fries

So he sued their buns

No he isn’t shy

After Access Info

Had it’s day

Mark looked to find

A better way

The love of flying

Was the hook

And Mark took off

To write his book

All this time

Musket was Mark’s Guide

He was always present

By his side

As docents

Showing all the planes

Mark gave the talks

Musket got the fame

A more noble dog

You’ll never meet

In the mall

Or on the street

So here’s to Musket

Mark’s number one

You couldn’t be closer

If you were a son

Thanks for all

The miles as a Guide

It certainly was

An awesome ride.

And even the Roman Emperor Hadrian in AD 130 seemed to know what it was to lose a special friend in his poem Animula, Vagula, Blandula…

‘Dear little soul

Why wilt thou roam?

Long has thou foun

In me a home

Numb, pale, and naked, whither fly

From my companionship, and why?

Thy merry jests no more shall ring—

And must thou leave me, little thing?’

From Saffron

Musket, I knew you in a way no one else ever could. You were my big brother, my mentor, my teacher, my best friend. You taught me all the important things, like how to beg the right way, how to lie in the middle of the floor and how to fill up an entire bed. But you also showed me that to be a good Guide Dog was a very special calling and that I should be the best one I could. You told me that Daddy and Mommy loved me and to love them with all my heart. You showed me how to love, Musket. Thank you, big brother, I’ll never forget you.

For nearly fourteen years, an eyebliuk in eternity, Musket blazed a glowing trail across our lives like a comet. And like a comet he all too soon disappeared into the skies, leaving only awesome memories.

His loving heart was far larger than the furry body that contained it.

I wanted to close this chapter, both literally and figuratively in Musket’s story with something I remember from my Civil War re-enactimg days. In Ken Burns’s PBS series, at the end of the first episode, a letter written by a Union officer named Sullivan Ballou to his wife was read.

It was one of the most beautifully written and eloquent missives of undying devotion and love ever penned. And the last few lines speak in a way that I believe Musket, if he were able, would want us to hear.

“If the dead can come back to this earth, and flit unseen around those they loved, I shall always be near you in the garish day, and the darkest night, amidst your happiest scenes and gloomiest hours always, always, and, if the soft breeze fans your cheek, it shall be my breath; or the cool air cools your throbbing temples, it shall be my spirit passing by.

Do not mourn me; think I am gone, and wait for me, for we shall meet again.”