Speaking to Honor Dr. Moises Heiblum
Dr. Moises Heiblum was THE teacher of animal behavior medicine in Mexico. He passed away suddenly in August. We were friends, and had personal and professional plans for next year. We were both scheduled to present at the Congresio Veterinario de Leon. I last saw Dr. Heibum at the Convention of the American Veterinary Medical Association in Denver, in July.
At the opening ceremony of the Congresio Veterinario de Leon conference many of Dr. Heiblum’s colleagues and students spoke in a touching video tribute. A choir and two singers appeared on stage to sing one of Dr. Heiblum’s favorite songs, John Denver’s “Annie Song.”
Dr. Cesar Morales, executive director of this conference – one of the largest veterinary conferences on the planet – read a letter authored by Dr. Heiblum’s wife Rosa, who was in the audience. Then, I was asked to speak. I can assure you – with all the awards and accolades that I’ve been blessed with, this honor was among the most touching. I decided, out of respect to Dr. Heiblum, to deliver my remarks in Spanish. Or at least the best I could.
I began with the ad lib – “From my heart Rose,” referring to his wife sitting next to mine in the front row.”
And here is the English translation of what I said (beginning at around 3:35 on the video), “We became fast friends only just over a year ago. Here’s what we had in common: We suffered when our wives went shopping together. So did our credit cards. Gracias, gentle, smart….a friend to animals forever, and our friend forever. Thank you.”
Also, Rose presented me with two of Dr. Heiblum’s favorite neckties. I can not express how swollen my heart is with pride, that she would even think of me now, or think of me with that way.
Someone asked after I spoke if speaking to thousands of people in a second language was terrifying. I said, “Yes, a little bit, but I also felt the warmth of the room, pero in Mexico, es siempre mi familia es tu familia.”