GDUI News: November 19, 2015

Dear GDUI Members and Friends,

Board Meeting This Coming Saturday – We Hope You Can Come!
Our final scheduled board meeting of the year will be held this coming Saturday, November 21, beginning at 1:00 p.m., Eastern Standard Time.
Call 712.432.0075, and when prompted, enter this code: 919245-pound.
We welcome your attendance, whether or not you are a member of GDUI, and your participation at the end of the meeting if you have questions or want to add your own commentary.
Speaking of Membership, It’s Time to Renew Your Membership in GDUI!
The year is, quite suddenly, winding down, and it’s once again time for all GDUI members to renew your membership. Of course, if you haven’t joined us yet, this membership drive provides the perfect opportunity for you to join! Call our Secretary and Office Manager, Sarah Calhoun at our toll-free number, 866.799.8436, and Sarah will walk you through the application form and take your credit card information, and you’ll be all set, not only to receive the Winter issue of PawTracks, but to receive every PawTracks issue in 2016 as well, and to celebrate your inclusion in the largest, most nurturing family of guide dog users anywhere in the world!

You can also join or renew online at our web site. Right now, Steve Zelaya, our new web master, is putting the final touches on our newly acquired “Membership Plug-In.” The plan is for that software to be completely operational by December 1. So, go to, and take care of the business of renewing and/or joining GDUI without any hassle or delay! Annual dues are just $15.00. Other membership options include simply subscribing to PawTracks, for a slightly higher fee, or joining GDUI as a life member, which you can pay for via convenient installment payments.
Sarah will be happy to share all of the details with you.

We in GDUI are celebrating our renewal as a vibrant, even more constitutionally democratic and expanding organization. At this moment, we have 126 active life members,374 members for 2015, of which
243 are GDUI affiliate members, and eight members who have joined for 2016. This brings our membership total to 500. The more members we have, the more effective our advocacy on your behalf will be! Please celebrate with us, and add your voice to ours, to strengthen our advocacy, enhance our public education, and provide empathetic support for guide dog users everywhere.

Now, Speaking of PawTracks —
Dixie Sanderson, who is maintaining our GDUI Membership Database, sent out the Fall issue of PawTracks last Saturday. You can download PawTracks from the Drop Box link provided in your e-mail, or open the attachment that is also included, convert the RTF to whatever format makes you happy, and read the magazine at your leisure using whatever book player you prefer. (My preference is my faithful ‘Stream!) If you’re behind with your e-mail (unfortunately, pretty much the status quo for my particular in box), take a look at your own in box. You’ll find a very entertaining issue of our quarterly magazine there. I know you will enjoy it, and I want to thank Nolan for another excellent issue, and Dixie and Sarah for all their hard work which made the e-mail distribution possible. If you’re an audiocassette subscriber, you can look forward to your own copy of the Fall issue of PawTracks in your postal mailbox soon.

Special Promotions for the GDUI Cruise through the end of December!
You can book a studio cabin (accommodating one person only) on the Norwegian Breakaway cruise ship that will be cruising from the port of New York to the port of Bermuda from October 9-16, 2016, for as little as$1201.90. Or, you can share a cabin with a balcony with three others for $3547.60. And there are a variety of other options in-between.
Take a look at our flyer here: Of course your guide dogs are welcomed onboard and in port as well.

And, if you book your cruise between now and the end of the year, Norwegian is offering several very attractive promotional packages.
When you put down your deposit of $280, you can choose the unlimited alcohol package, the 4-night specialty dining package, or 250 free internet minutes and $50 shore excursion credit per port. To book your cabin on the Breakaway or to ask questions or obtain more information, contact Michelle Zimmerman | Senior Personal Cruise Consultant, at 877.416.9722, Extension 4398. E-mail her here:

Do You Travel To or Through the Hartfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport? Become an Advisor to the Company Contracted to Build the Seven New Service Dog Relief Areas There!
Georgia Guide Dog Users has been invited to consult with the company designated to build the service animal relief areas at Atlanta’s incredibly huge and busy airport, and GGDU is requesting your advice and assistance. If you’re interested, please respond to these questions from GGDU before December 1. Send your response to Betsy Grenevitch, via e-mail,
•Each of the designated relief “rooms” accommodating the needs of travelers on seven concourses can also be expected to accommodate members of the general public who may be traveling with pets. Clean-up will be the responsibility of those who utilize the facilities, and facilities will include areas for canine urination and defecation.
Each facility will be supplied with running water, an artificial “fire hydrant,” a floor drain, a sink, and bench seating. should the designers include consideration for more than one canine user at a time?
•Water-resistant, hygienic materials will be used so as to make cleaning easy. Do you have recommendations for appropriate materials?
•Do you have recommendations concerning surfaces or finishes or colors of floors and walls?
•Do you have recommendations concerning lighting? Where natural light is unavailable, do you have a preference for ceiling-mounted LED lighting over fluorescent artificial lighting fixtures or something else?
•What recommendations can you offer regarding room ventilation?
•Each relief area will likely be reached via a public aisle. Do you have any preference as to whether glass (transparent) windows should be installed in room doors?

Thank you for assisting GGDU with this worthwhile project.

The October Guide Dog Foundation’s quarterly call for guide dog users was devoted to the topic of retirement and featured guide and service dog users and GDF and America’s Vet Dogs (AVD) trainers. Even though most of us push those thoughts about retiring our dogs to the back of our minds for as long as possible, retirement remains a concern.
whether our guides are spirited adolescents, reliable middle-aged dogs attuned to our every need and mood, or nearing the end of their working lives. You can listen to a recording of the GDF/AVD call here:

It’s a sad world and we in GDUI feel that sadness too. We want to extend our condolence to families and friends and fellow citizens of all who lost their lives or who were injured during recent horrific violence in Paris, in Beirut, in Bagdad, and in Kenya. With so many broken-hearted people in the world, and so much grief and anxiety here and seemingly everywhere, all we can say is that our hearts are broken too. All we can do is to try very hard to be the change we want to see in the world and work for peace and kindness and sanity.

Thank you, as always, for your friendship and support.
Penny Reeder, President
Guide Dog Users, Inc.
Will Burley, First Vice President
Guide Dog Users, Inc.
Call us, toll-free, at 866.799.8436
Like and visit us on Facebook: Follow us at Twitter: @GDUInc

Support GDUI when you use this link to shop at

To join the GDUI-Announce List, visit this link:

For our members and friends who do not have access to e-mail (or prefer to listen to the pleasant sound of a human voice reading aloud), we also offer telephonic announcements every week. If you are aware of guide dog users who do not have computer access, please share this telephone number with them: 646.653.1900. Recorded announcements available at this number are updated whenever there is a new announcement to share. We look forward to sharing announcements concerning our organization with all who are interested in GDUI.

TOP DOG 2017

TOP DOG 2017
Sponsored by Guide Dog Users of Florida, Georgia Guide Dog Users and Dixieland Guide Dog Users

Event Dates: Thursday, January 12, 2017 through Sunday, January 15, 2017.

Location: Orlando, Florida, Holiday Inn and Suites Across From Universal Orlando

Room Rate: $89.00 per night with an additional 12.5% applicable taxes

Deluxe rooms are also available at reduced rates

Hotel rates are in effect three days prior and post event dates

We are bringing a very delicious and affordable food package

Guide Dog Users of Florida is excited to host Top Dog 2017 with the able assistance of our friends in Georgia Guide Dog Users and Dixieland Guide Dog Users. As we move forward with event planning, I will be sending out requests for your ideas for programming and fun activities, so start thinking about that. If you have questions or comments now, please feel free to contact me at the information below my signature.

Every Top Dog program brings us to a higher level. With your assistance and participation, we believe that Top Dog2017 will be no exception to this historical reality.

Please feel free to spread this announcement far and wide. All guide dog users and those interested in the movement are welcome to join us for exciting and educational programming and the opportunity to engage an meaningful fellowship and friendship building. Please plan to join us.

Debbie Grubb, Event Coordinator

Kathleen Trutschel, Registrar

Debbie Grubb

The Booty Dilemma

By Ann Chiappetta

Yes, it’s that time of year again, so dust off those fleece lined boots and air out your winter coats, gloves and hats. Don’t forget the lip balm and sunglasses for chapped skin and snow glare.

While we’re on the subject of winter accoutrements for the two-footed species, being a dog owner and most importantly, a guide dog handler, I am reminded to make sure Bailey has his winter outerwear as well.

The type of doggie gear I am referring to is the dreaded booties. I don’t think any dog likes them, but rather, dogs tolerate them. Some dogs refuse to wear them. Bailey, thankfully, is putting up with them, preferring them to ice-crusted toes. We trained together in March in New York and it was still frigid, cold and wet during training. We had plenty of booty practice during class.
Brrr, sounds uncomfortable, right? So, then why do dogs dislike booties? Why, if they are above the grade in intelligence because they are guide dogs, can’t they at least embrace the booties?

This is what I say to Bailey when he assumes a defeated posture whenever I bring out the footwear and ask for a paw. If I were a dog and I had to slosh through icy water I think I’d want some protection, right?
First, the tail drops, then the head droops and the ears hang low, and finally, dejectedly, he allows me to pick up a foot and insert a paw into a booty.
If that isn’t bad enough, he assumes the duck walk, which is very humiliating for a dignified Labrador. I realized how much she disliked his booties by the mere fact that he will not take the proffered treat after a paw insertion. Thankfully, after ten minutes or so, the duck walk becomes a prance and the tail and head return to almost normal as we tromp outside into the cold, wet, salt sprinkled weather,
“It’s better than cold feet, right?”
I say as the wind whips past my collar and stings my face and cheeks. He shakes and I wish I could read his thoughts. My mothering instincts know that his big, dumbo ears are getting colder by the minute. I wonder if someone has considered inventing doggie ear muffs, and if I could get him to wear them.