Monday, December 9, 2013

Highest Summit - A Tribute to My Soul Mutt

Bandit and I on our final hike together in 2012
Laconia, NH – Bandit “Bub” Mulkern, 16, died December 4, 2013 following a courageous battle against a brain tumor and renal failure.  At the conclusion of one last car ride, Bandit was humanely euthanized with dignity and grace as he rested in the familiarity of his favorite backseat.  He is survived by his parents David and Lisa-Marie, canine brother Roadie, and feline sister Sasha.  Bandit was preceded in death by his feline brother Ivan in 2007 and his canine sister Neely in May.

Bandit was a stunning mix of German shepherd and Labrador retriever who was born in August 1997.  He spent the first year of his life with a rather uncaring and unworthy owner who allowed Bandit to roam freely and then refused to claim him from the stray hold of the local animal shelter by stating, “I don’t want him back.  You can keep him.”  Within a few weeks of being surrendered, a young newlywed stopped by the shelter and met Bandit - the man of her dreams.   The ultimate wedding gift moved into his forever home a few days later.

During the first eight months with his new family, Bandit mastered the arts of walking on a leash without pulling too much; staying in his own yard most of the time; riding in any car that had a door left open long enough for him to climb in; and chasing a ball through the air, across the ground, off a dock, and under the snow.  Bandit’s feline brother Ivan needed to provide only a few firm yet loving swats to the snout before a strong bond was formed.
Still something was missing, and Bandit longed for a canine sidekick.  So in June 1999, he and his family traveled to a nearby animal shelter.  While Dave and Lisa-Marie discussed options with the shelter staff, Bandit and Neely found one another - the dynamic duo was formed.  For the next 14 years, Bandit and Neely were inseparable as they embarked on a series of adventures.

He spent his summers as a lakeside legend eager to demonstrate his dock diving skills for passing boaters and taking time out to tour the lake by boat and by kayak.  Later in life, Bub discovered perhaps his favorite toy - no day on the lake was complete without a high speed tour aboard the wave runner.  In other seasons, he traveled New England by hiking mountains near and far with his parents and, of course, his beloved Neely.  What really defined Bandit through all his days was his lust for life.  He embraced everything he did and everyone he met.

As anyone who ever visited his humble abode can attest, Bandit loved company.  Hanging out with Neely and his people was great, but throw in a few guests, and you’ve got yourself a party.  Bub was the mayor of party town.  Each guest received Bandit’s personal attention, and he was always in tune with their needs.  If you looked a little warm, he was always available to provide a lakeside shower.  If your arm was a bit tight, Bandit would bring a ball for you to throw.  If he found you on a couch looking lonely, he’d slide right in and keep you company.  For the more active visitors, Bandit was always willing to hop in the kayak and let you paddle him around or to jump in the boat and take you down to his sandbar.  No matter who invited you, Bandit was your host.

There will be no calling hours.  Services will be private.  Family and friends are invited to celebrate Bandit’s life by never passing up an opportunity to have a good time.  Bandit’s family would like to extend their gratitude to everyone who treated Bandit as one of their own and welcomed his friendship and hospitality.  In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Canine Guardians for Life, Inc. and/or to Almost Home Rescue of Maine so that more homeless dogs can be sheltered in foster homes while waiting to be adopted.  Watch a video tribute to Bandit's life below or by clicking here.

See you on the trails, Bub.