Tuesday, October 27, 2009

In Memorium: Ed Eames

Ed EamesLast week, longtime GDB alumnus and assistance animal advocate Ed Eames passed away in a hospital in his hometown of Fresno. Ed was the founder of the International Association of Assistance Dog Partners (IAADP), and a tireless advocate for the disabled.

Upon his passing, IAADP Canadian Vice President Devon Wilkins shared these thoughts through the organization's e-newsletter, The Harness:

"IAADP was launched in 1993 at a historic meeting organized by Ed, his wife Toni, and Joan Froling in St. Louis, held in conjunction with the Assistance Dogs International Conference. Its overall mission has been to empower disabled persons with guide, hearing and service dogs to work together to foster the assistance dog movement. We have grown from a handful of advocates to more than 2500 Partner members over the last sixteen years, led by a volunteer board of assistance dog partners elected by the membership.

"Ed was our friend and an extraordinary advocate. He forged relationships with corporations around the world and with his easy going 'ask' brought untold benefits to us. Ed knew full well that the majority of us teamed with guide, hearing and service dogs were on the lower income scale. His advocacy to garner support for our canines was only matched by his tireless advocacy for our access rights. Among other things, Ed and Toni also traveled throughout the USA each year and to other countries with their guide dogs, lecturing at veterinary schools and veterinary conferences about the special role that veterinarians play in maintaining the team, to educate them about IAADP, raise disability awareness and to ask veterinarians to consider free or discounted veterinary services for assistance dog teams.

"The important work of IAADP continues. Toni is a member of our Board, so through her, Ed's hand will continue to be on the organization."

IAADP has set up a memorial section on its website where you can share your thoughts and/or make a memorial donation: http://www.iaadp.org/

To read more about Ed's life and legacy, please see his feature obituary in The Fresno Bee.

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