Ed Eames, Ph.D.
I was shocked and saddened to hear over the past couple of days that two strong voices in the assistance dog movement have been silenced. Ed Eames, Ph.D., the Co-Founder and President of the International Association of Assistance Dog Partners and a tireless advocate on behalf of assistance dogs throughout the United States and beyond and Joe White, founder of K9 Veteran’s Day, have left us all too soon.
Each of these gentlemen proudly carried the torch for everyone who has ever worked with an assistance dog as either a human partner or as a puppy raiser. I had the privilege of interviewing both of these pioneers on Working Like Dogs at www.petliferadio.com. I got to hear firsthand their views and their passion for working dogs.
Ed Eames, Ph.D., has been one of the assistance dog movement’s greatest champions. He was a determined advocate for assistance dogs’ and their human partner’s rights. In 1993, Ed co-founded and lead a small organization of a few individuals and their assistance dog partners to an international organization that today boasts more than 2500 members. With his wife Toni at his side, along with both of their guide dogs, Ed traveled the world lecturing about the impact assistance dogs can have on their partners with disabilities. He was a distinguished writer, educator, and advocate who can never be replaced.
Joe White truly believed in all of the contributions made by K9 veterans. He demonstrated his love and adoration for these animals by working diligently to designate March 13 as K9 Veterans Day. Joe believed that all K9 veterans are heroes who have fought and who continue to fight tirelessly for our country and our freedom. He was so proud when Florida’s Governor Charlie Crist declared March 13 as K9 Veteran’s Day for the entire state of Florida. Joe said it best in an email I received from him back in February 2009, “Dogs have served with honor throughout the history of our Country’s birth and growth, and have served at many jobs in all of our wars. They, too, served, bled and died for our freedom.”
Although these two great leaders are no longer with us, both of these courageous men will have a lasting impact on the assistance dog field. We must sustain their legacies by picking up their torch and carrying it forward. Please take a moment to remember them and their families and to support their work through the International Association of Assistance Dog Partners and K9 Veteran’s Day.