8 April

Radio’s Reach: Cynthia, Edgar, And the Gentleman From France

by Jon Katz

So here is a delightful story about how technology doesn’t only divide people but can cross great distances and bring them together. And it all started on my radio show.

Cynthia Daniello, my favorite radio-call-in friend, has a new friend of her own: a “gentleman from France,” as she puts it.

Cynthia lives in Virginia. I’ve never met her, but we often speak, mostly through on “Katz On Dogs,” sometimes on the phone.

She is one of the very first people to call into the broadcast WBTNAM.org (802 442 1010) She is my very favorite call in person and one of my favorite human beings.

Cynthia is a former vet tech and fierce animal lover and protector. In her 80’s, she needs a wheelchair to move around (I almost wrote that she was confined to a wheelchair, but she really isn’t confined by anything much).

She just got an increasingly famous or infamous dog named Edgar, a shelter dog, a Chow/Corgi mix.

Her e-mail is [email protected] (She loves to get e-mail.)

Numerous ageists and ignorant rescue groups denied Cynthia a dog because of her age – she is in her 80’s. Too many rescue groups deny many thousands of needy dogs good homes and many good people the love of dogs.

Older animal lovers offer wonderful homes for all kinds of dogs languishing in crates or shelter. Deny them dogs is cruel to people and animals.

But as her retirement village managers learned when they tried to get her to abandon her feral cat Ginger, no has different meanings for Cynthia than for most of us.

When it comes to animals in need, it means yes. Ginger comes by daily every morning to get fed by Cynthia, who built her a small but cozy cat house just outside her apartment.

Edgar is a problem child. Cynthia got him a few months after she lost her dog.


He bit her soon after coming home, went after Ginger, and she then learned from her vet that he was deaf. The shelter didn’t know, and if they knew, didn’t tell her.

We have been working hard together on the deaf problem – I sent her the best book I could find about dealing with deaf dogs, we’ve talked on the broadcast about it,  and her own patience, love, and stubbornness are paying off.

We are now focusing on his alarm barking when anything moves outside, a common issue for deaf dogs. She’s also using light and sound and hand signals as she learns to communicate with him.

She’s closing the curtains now and is working on alternative behaviors.

Cynthia has already made great progress; I think she’s an animal whisperer.

I wrote about Cynthia and Edgar yesterday, and today, Cynthia got what she described as “a message and picture from a gentleman in France this morning… I have been smiling ever since I got it. It is true. Some people and their dogs do look alike.”


I can’t say for sure that Cynthia and Edgar look alike, but people can make up their own minds. I can say they are both similar in some ways – tough, determined, loving, and strong-willed.

(Maria tells me Bud, my Boston Terrier and I, look alike in some ways. I think he looks like Edward G. Robinson.)

My guess is Edgar will be listening to next week’s radio show – 2 p.m. Wednesday, April 14th, WBTNAM. You can listen live; click the “live button” at the top of the page anywhere in the world. The call-in number is 802 442-1010. My e-mail for questions is [email protected] if you can’t call with questions.

Cynthia is a hero to me, and an inspiration. If you wish to let her know how you feel about what she is doing, or offer advice and support, feel free to e-mail her at [email protected].

I expect to hear from her on the next broadcast.


  1. Well, Jon, if this is my 15-minutes of fame, I’ll take it. I’ll even accept the ‘Gentleman from France’ moniker, which I’ll treasure as a compliment from a true Southern Belle, your No. 1 radio fan, Cynthia from Virginia.
    And, being compared to our handsome, six-year-old black lab named Jasper is certainly appreciated. I affectionately call him ‘The Bitter Dog,’ as he can have a testy side (which is where I do see a definite similarity).
    I’m an American, living in France for over 20 years, and I truly appreciate your writing and your Bedlam Farm Journal blog to keep in touch with America. Now, I also have Cynthia to share dog anecdotes. I reached out to her to seek some advice about how to introduce the Bitter One to a kitten that our son is going to bring with him when he visits us in May. She has already provided me with several interesting suggestions that I plan on using.
    Perhaps this could be a topic for a future radio program?
    Thanks for all of your writing. I look forward to reading more about Bedlam Farm.

    1. Tom, this is great call us anytime …802 442 1010…thanks for listening, for e-mailing, I’d love to h ear your story..

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