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While substituting at a local high school on Wednesday I had the opportunity to meet Randy Pierce, the first blind person to climb all 48 peaks of the White Mountains of New Hampshire with the help of his seeing eye dog, Quinn.
Climbing the White Mountains 4,000 footers is a tall order even for hikers who can see the loose rocks, low-hanging branches, tree roots and other obstacles on the trail. Randy not only depends on Quinn to guide him safely around these dangers, but has complete confidence in the dog’s ability to do so.
Quinn did not receive any special training as a hiking guide, but according to Randy, he’s demonstrated a natural aptitude for the work. “When I took Quinn to his first mountain, I was astounded with how well he adapted and how much he loved it. The power of that tail wag made it clear this was an adventure he wanted to repeat. We've grown tremendously in skill as a team in managing these mountains, and I'm elated at our achievements."
His thoughts on hiking with pal, the mighty Quinn: “He does it with this devotion and love and excitement, you know he's eager for it.”
“The most important thing I can tell anyone is the choice we make in how to respond to our life is going to have a bigger influence on our life than anything else ever could,” he said.
For his part, Quinn was presented with the Order of the Golden Biscuit at Saturday's climb, making him the fourth canine to have completed the 48 peaks in a single winter.