Ed Eames: May this dog lover rest in furry peace

October 26, 2009 at 12:41 pm Leave a comment

edm1Ed Eames died Sunday morning, survived by his wonderful wife, Toni, his guide dog Latrell, and a crew of pets. Both blind, Ed and Toni have always been tireless advocates of the rights of people with disabilities, with a special emphasis on service dogs.

Ed lost his vision in his 40s from an eye disease; Toni was blind at birth. They met in middle age through their advocacy efforts and found a match made in heaven. I met them at a couple of the Cat Writers of America’s writing conferences. Always accompanied by two golden guide dogs, I was drawn to them like a dog to a holiday ham.  Ed was a New York ham with a Ph.D. in anthropology, which he said meant you could study any darn thing you wanted and call it academics. His love of dogs and his vision issues created a forceful match for advocacy.

They were founders of the International Association of Assistance Dog Partners , which is described as “A non-profit, cross-disability organization representing people partnered with guide, hearing and service dogs.” Part of their work there was to travel to veterinary schools and talk to students about the unusual medical needs of service dogs. I’ve seen them give that talk twice, and it was fascinating. Together they helped create and then sustain an emergency veterinary care fund for treating assistance dog whose human partner could not afford the treatment. Their columns in Dog World and Off Lead magazines won writing awards. They even made a video called “Partners in Independence.”

People with service dogs have much to thank Ed for, as do people with disabilities who have no need of a service dog. I will truly miss Ed’s joie di vivre, his love of good food, his witty conversation, and his vast range of knowledge. My thoughts now are with Toni, his beloved partner in all parts of his life since they met, and for Latrell, his guide dog, who will feel just as lost without Ed as will Toni.

http://www.petconnection.com/blog/2009/10/…

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