Monday, February 13, 2017

Celebrating the Life of Sebastian

By: Mazen M. Basrawi

It is with great sadness that I share the passing of my guide dog Sebastian. He was an extraordinary dog and lead an extraordinary life, even by guide dog standards. He traveled to 30 states, DC, Puerto Rico, and Mexico. I am a trial attorney for the US Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, and Sebastian was with me when I appeared in over a dozen federal courts in five states. One judge would insist that he be introduced on the record every time we appeared. He was my secret weapon at trial, distracting the jury with his snores and sleep-barking and sleep-running when the other side put on their case.

For over nine years, Sebastian was a loyal and faithful friend, and always watched out for me, even when I wasn’t working him. He had a gentle and energetic soul, full of youthful exuberance even in his old age. I will never forget how he would put his muzzle underneath my forearm and with a strong jerk, fling it up over his head so that I would pet him. He had an uncanny ability to connect emotionally with almost anyone. He was beloved by everyone who had the privilege of knowing him, including President Obama who called him by name. He was a regular at the White House, and was given the most rare of privileges of going to the residence to drink out of Bo Obama’s bowl; I was not even invited for that particular perk. He was with me in some of my most difficult moments, and some of the best in my life, including in the delivery room when my daughter was born. My family and I are thankful for having shared our lives with him. May he rest in peace.  

In Memoriam of Hayden

By: Angus MacKinnon

On March 19, 2003,
A small bundle of fur said,

And without knowing,
The lives he would change,
And places he would go.

With structure and rules,
He grew into,
A guide dog extraordinary.

As the best present,
A blind person could have,
He introduced freedom.

As he grew into a loving role.
The world loved him back,
While he showed the way.

He gave love, compassion and strength,
To one and all,
Even when the job was done.

As I raise my glass,
I remember how,
He gave and gave and gave.

He is now an angel,
To watch over,
The people needing a guiding light.