Ann Edie, a 61-year-old blind woman, has lived with Panda by her side for the last 14 years. Panda is her guide pony, standing just 29″ tall and providing much more than assistance in getting around their New York town. Just last year, though, Panda suffered an intestinal blockage that led to emergency surgery to save her life. Since then, she’s gone through more surgeries, leaving Edie and her husband, Dennis with vet bills upwards of $30,000.
Needless to say, Edie has tapped into her life savings to offer support for her best companion.
Panda guides Edie around town, up and down stairs, around any barriers or obstacles in the road and even retrieves her keys and other items.
“She is so much more than just a means for letting me, as a blind person, travel smoothly and efficiently around my community. Her joy in her work and in her life always puts a smile on my face,” Edie told Caters News.
Alexandra Kurland, Panda’s trainer and a friend of the duo, has set up fundraising to help them pay off the bills. Kurland and Edie met when Edie’s former guide dog, Bailey, passed away at 11-years-old. Edie was a riding client, and the two decided to try and train a miniature horse to serve as a guide animal. Edie and Panda have been together ever since.
The family’s savings have begun to run out and although strangers have chipped in over $10,000 to help save Panda, there is still more needed. Panda has been with Edie for 14 years and is a huge part of the family.
Edie built her a stall outside their home where Panda sleeps at night and Panda rings a bell when she needs to go outside. She’s the perfect companion and service pony for Edie and she can’t imagine having to lose her.