Ed bids farewell to his right hand woman Izzy

October 3rd, 2021 9:45 PM

By Jackie Keogh

Ed and Izzy, the last guide dog the blind goat herder will ever have by his side.

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BLIND goat herder Ed Harper has said a fond farewell to his furry friend, Izzy.

Just before midday on September 4th, Ed said Izzy, his constant companion, died peacefully with the assistance of her vet after suffering a stroke the previous Friday.

Izzy, who was almost 14-years-old, was buried at home on the goat farm.

Ed, who lives on Cape Clear, said he will miss her because dogs are ‘the people I could always count on in good times and bad.’

As sad as her passing is, the situation means Ed is now dependent on a sighted guide if he wants to go anywhere.

Ed confirmed he is no longer eligible to get a guide dog because his balance is beyond the point where it is practical.

He explained that because he has to use a walking stick for balance he can’t use the long, sweeping stick as a mobility aid.

During Izzy’s working life, from 2010 to 2019, Ed said she was familiar to many in ‘socialist’ and traditional singing circles from West Cork to Dublin and London. ‘Izzy was,’ he added, ‘equally at home greeting dogs and children and their associated adults in the markets of West Cork, sleeping through meetings and conferences, large and small, picketing or marching as part of a protest.

‘She took part in farmers’ protests, the West Cork Ambulance cuts campaign, housing protests, the Bantry Bay Kelp campaign, local and national actions in support of repealing the 8th amendment to the Constitution, the campaign against the imposition of a plastics factory in Skibbereen, as well as local and national actions to protect our rights to water and forests.’

Ed said Izzy appeared in many videos – both amateur and professional – and had a ‘leading,’ in harness, role in several documentaries, many of which were ostensibly about Ed.

In short, the goat herder said, ‘Izzy was the most politically active of my six German Shepherd guide dogs, including contesting the 2014 local elections with me.

‘A guide dog is more than a mobility tool,’ he added. 

‘With Izzy’s death I have come to the end of a 48-year long line of furry friends and comrades.’

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