We don’t know where or when Sparky Cassou was born, nor do we know of his upbringing. We believe he was about 14 years old when he passed April 27 in Quincy. We do know he was a very kind and gentle soul, and a faithful companion to Robbie and Julie Cassou after they rescued and adopted him at a local dog shelter about eight years ago.
He was in middle age at the time, and became a regular friend to many at the Quincy Fire House and Academy. He only occasionally got in the way of the humans, through no fault of his own, as they were often in a non-emergency rush or walking while staring at their cell phones.
A beagle, his was a breed developed primarily for hunting rabbits long ago in Great Britain. Beagles have a great sense of smell and a very good tracking instinct. Beagles are popular as pets due to their good temper, size and general lack of inherited health problems.
Like firefighters, dogs are loyal, courageous and protective by nature. In the 20th century and beyond, firehouses across England and America have often kept dogs as firehouse mascots. The tasks of firehouse dogs included serving as companions for firefighters, guarding belongings in the firehouse, hunting mice and rats, riding along to fires and standing guard over the truck, helping in public safety education programs with kids and being the fire company mascot.
Sparky often came with his Dad to work at Quincy FPD, accompanied by his younger sister Sneakers Cassou. She tolerated him, but in her younger and fit state could outrun Sparky and jump higher to get treats. Like his sister, Sparky was known for going on Australian-like “Walk-Abouts” in his neighborhood in East Quincy, and around the Quincy downtown fire station, especially when the back gate was left open by careless humans.
In old age, he suffered numerous health indignities, including losing the ability to control his bladder output. Sadly, next week would have been the eighth graduation he would have participated in at the Quincy Fire Academy, where his memory will live on. Rest in peace Sparky …
“The dog is a gentleman, I hope to go to his heaven, not man’s” — Mark Twain