October 27, 2009 | Assistance Dog Industry Loses a Leader
It is with great sadness that we honor Ed Eames, President of the International Association of Assistance Dog Partners (IAADP), who passed away October 25.
Ed and his wife, Toni, with their guide dogs, Latrell and Keebler, traveled the world to foster the assistance dog movement, lecturing at many conferences, co-authoring two books, magazine columns, hundreds of articles and scripting an award winning video, “Partners in Independence.”
“I have known Ed for close to 20 years and I have yet to reconcile his loss in my mind as a friend and one of the strongest advocates for people with disabilities that I have known in 40 years of working for and with people with disabilities," states Canine Companions CEO Corey Hudson. "Ed is one of my top 5 heroes, along with FDR, MLK and a small handful of good managers. ED was relentless, persuasive and hard to say no to. He was compassionate, smart and persistent, a very effective package. This “blind New Yorker” showed the rest of us, if we were really listening and watching, how to live life to the fullest despite life’s challenges. Ed was out there, he traveled and advocated for the assistance dog movement more than anyone I have known. Obviously Ed will be sorely missed and his departure is our significant loss,” shares Hudson.
As IAADP’s President, Ed was an incredible advocate for assistance dog teams, tackling legislation, federal rule making, and other important issues and access cases whenever people would call him for help. Ed worked tirelessly to launch and sustain an emergency veterinary care fund to provide grants if an assistance dog had a treatable veterinary problem and the partner could not afford the recommended treatment. The list of his achievements and selfless devotion to the assistance dog cause goes on and on, but perhaps his greatest gift was his friendship and concern for everyone connected with the assistance dog movement - puppy raisers, program staff, supporters, sponsors, everyone who shared his awe for the magical bond between disabled persons and their canine partners. He had room in his heart for us all.
IAADP was launched in 1993. Its overall mission has been to empower disabled persons with guide, hearing and service dogs. The organization has grown from a handful of advocates to more than 2500 members over the last sixteen years, led by a volunteer board of assistance dog partners elected by the membership.