[nagdu] Holiday letter

Toni Eames eeames at csufresno.edu
Mon Dec 21 18:48:43 UTC 2009

Dec. 2009

Hello dear and supportive friends,

The memorial service I had for Ed was magnificent.  Despite the 
dreadful downpour, several hundred people came to our Unitarian 
Universalist Church to remember and honor Ed's life, love and 
work.  If you couldn't attend, let me know and I'll share the DVD with you.

I spent a great weekend with my out-of-town friends and felt bereft 
when they left.  I'm staying busy and involved, but longing for Ed's 
companionship every day.

The year did have many joys.  Our travels to attend the Assistance 
Dog International conference, and to do  presentations at veterinary 
schools and conferences, took us to Florida, Wisconsin, Iowa, 
Washington State, Missouri and several southern and northern 
California cities.  Of course, we always combine business trips with 
visits to new and old friends, so traveling becomes lots of fun!

I have experienced increased leg pain this year and visited three 
neurosurgeons.  Additional spinal fusion surgery may be in my future, 
but in the meantime, I've had two epidurals which have had limited 
success.  I can stand and walk, but that nagging leg pain is always with me.

You know Ed and I always love publicity, and this year we hit the big 
time with a picture of us with Keebler and Latrell in the New York 
Times.  The funny thing is that the story about assistance dogs and a 
prominent mention of IAADP, barely mentioned us!

Ed's dog Latrell is living with me and seems happy in his unwanted 
retirement.  He comes with Keebler and me most of the time and sports 
a vest with retired guide dog on it.  When I walk, Keebler guides me 
on the left and Latrell heels on the right.  When it is necessary to 
leave him home, he has perfect house manners.  Since Ed and I did 
almost everything as a team, it is heartbreaking for me to harness 
Keebler while no longer recognizing Latrell as a working guide.  The 
dogs are crazy about one another and enjoy wrestling matches.  When 
they are resting, they cuddle together with their heads or paws touching!

Kizzy is now 16 and, except for some back end weakness, is doing 
great.  Bambi, 12, has lost the weight she had when we adopted her 
and is now quite naughty.  She jumps on the fridge, the keyboard, the 
table and the headboard of the bed.  When guide dog puppies visit, 
she teaches them proper manners around cats!  She also has a sweet 
side and enjoys cuddling with me.

Bonzie, 15 and Nifty, 14, are both still alive and thriving because 
of Lynn Danell's daily ministrations.  Bonzie is a lot braver, 
sleeping with me and the dogs, and Nifty is more of her sweet, gentle 
self.  What a wonderful holiday gift to still have them in my life.

I wish all of us a healthy and content 2010.  Please keep those 
contacts coming.  They are very healing for me.

Toni and Furries

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