GDUI Announcement, November 16, 2016

Dear GDUI Members and Friends,

Hello again from GDUI. We hope you and your guide dogs are enjoying lovely fall weather and looking forward to Thanksgiving, which will be here before we know it. No matter what’s going on in the world, our guide dogs and the independence they allow us to experience provide bountiful reasons to be thankful.

GDUI Board Meeting Coming Right Up

Our November board meeting will take place on Saturday, November 19, beginning at 1:00 p.m., EST, 12:00 Noon Central Time, 11:00 a.m. Mountain Time, and 10:00 a.m. for those of you who live on the West Coast. We hope you will join us, to listen to our deliberations, and to share your opinions and concerns at the end of the meeting. Call 712.432.0075, Code 919245-Pound.

New GDUI Affiliate Forming to assist guide dog users and supporters in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, DC

Here’s a message from Capital Area Guide Dog Users Treasurer, Jane Sheehan:

I’m writing to announce the formation of Capital Area Guide Dog Users (CAGDU).  We held our first membership meeting on October 29, and resolved the following:

We’ll transfer all assets from the now defunct Maryland Area Guide Dog Users into the new group to be known as Capital Area Guide Dog Users (CAGDU).  This group will be of interest to anyone from Maryland, Virginia and the district of Columbia who is interested in joining, though people from other areas are certainly welcome to join us, as well.

We decided to set annual dues at $20.00 per person, and we’re accepting dues memberships for 2017.  We also decided to affiliate with Guide Dog Users, Inc., a special-interest affiliate of the American Council of the Blind.

The officers of CAGDU are as follows:

Charlie Crawford, President, Silver Spring, MD

Denise Decker, Vice President, Washington, DC

Gary Legates, Secretary, Westminster, MD

Jane Sheehan, Treasurer, Silver Spring, MD

If you’d like more info about CAGDU, or would like to join us, please feel free to contact me.  We look forward to building our membership base over the next few months, and to making a positive difference in the lives of guide dog teams in the capital area.

Jane Sheehan, Treasurer

Capital Area Guide Dog Users

14311 Astrodome Drive

Silver Spring, MD  20906-2245


Congratulations to guide dog users in the Capital area. We look forward to receiving your application for affiliation as soon as all those paperwork I’s are dotted and t’s are crossed!

GDUI Affiliates to Meet on Thursday evening, November 17.

GDUI Affiliates Liaison, Pauline LaMontagne announced the next GDUI Affiliates Meeting by conference call tomorrow evening. At 9:00 p.m., Eastern Standard Time, GDUI Affiliate Leaders should call 641.715.0632. The Conference Code is: 688763. We encourage all affiliate leaders and any GDUI leaders who are interested to join the call.

The Deadline is getting close to register for Top Dog 2017!

Learn all about and register for this wonderful conference, sponsored by Dixieland Guide Dog Users, and scheduled for mid January 2017, here:

Here’s a message from Top Dog Conference Coordinator, Debbie Grubb:

To all who plan to join us in Orlando for Top Dog 2017, this is a friendly reminder that the deadline for event and hotel registration is December 12, 2016.  If you are interested in the wonderful Disney tickets that are being raffled, the deadline to purchase your raffle tickets is December 1, 2016.

All of us on the Top Dog 2017 Team are so looking forward to sharing this wonderful time of friendship, fellowship, fun and learning with you. Please join us!


Debbie Grubb, Program Coordinator

If your travels to Orlando should take you through Hartsfield Airport in Atlanta, you may want to know about new dog relief areas inside the Security Perimeter which recently opened there. We thank Georgia Guide Dog Users for sharing this information with us.

There are now dog relief areas inside concourses B and C. In concourse B, the relief area is near gate B33, on the right about 20 feet past the gate; in concourse C, it’s near C19, on the  left, across from Starbucks. There is braille signage both indoors and out. The relief areas consist of concrete and turf.

In December, EVERY concourse at Atlanta will have a relief area that can be accessed from inside the secure areas.

The Perfect Guide Dog?

All of us have experienced those days when our usually extraordinarily well-behaved dog guide decides to behave ummm … like a “regular dog!” To gain some perspective, check out this entertaining blog entry from GDUI First Vice President and long-time guide dog user, Deanna Noriega, from her recent contribution to the VisionAware blog:

A Video to Enjoy and Share

We are excited to share with you “Maine’s community of disabled asks relief from ‘comfort animals,” a video segment from Maine television’s Bill Green, who calls upon GDUI Treasurer, Lynn Merrill, and her guide dog, Libby, and GDUI Affiliates Liaison and President of Pine Tree Guide Dog Users, Pauline LaMontagne, to explain the differences between so-called ‘comfort animals’ and well-trained service and guide dogs. This is a lesson so many pet owners need to learn! Please download the video here and share it widely:

Are you looking for blindness resources? AFB’s app for IPhone and Android can help you locate the resources you or a family member or friend may need! Download VisionConnect™ from the App Store or GooglePlay store for Android. Use the app to Find services and support in your community through the searchable AFB Directory of Services.

Live independently with a visual impairment, using helpful resources and tips.

Research information about low vision products and technology.

Find inspiration and motivation from personal stories and employment advice.

Talk to family members about how they can be supportive.

The VisionConnect™ app provides hope, help and connection for adults encountering vision loss for the first time and for families supporting a child experiencing vision loss. Service providers can also use the app to help locate vision rehabilitation services for their clients. The app is FREE and completely accessible. Learn more at

What kinds of experiences have you had renting vacation property through AirB&B? The California Council of the Blind wants to know!

The California Council of the Blind has retained Rosen Bien Galvan & Grunfeld LLP to investigate complaints from blind individuals, individuals who use service animals, including guide dogs, and individuals with mobility disabilities who have recently attempted to rent lodging through Airbnb.  Airbnb operates a website and mobile application where people can browse for and book lodging throughout the United States and around the world.

We would greatly appreciate speaking with you about your experiences using Airbnb if you have a disability, including if you are blind or low vision, you use a service animal, and/or you use an assistive device such as a cane, walker, or wheelchair.

To share your experiences, please contact paralegal Sara Long by phone at 415-433-6830  or at

Best laid plans …

Deanna and I were disappointed not to have been able to talk with our members from Guide Dog Users of Washington State and Guide Dog Users of Arizona on the first Saturday of November during scheduled phone calls at your mutual conventions. Unfortunately, Deanna’s IPhone chose that exact day and time to malfunction and forget to remind her of the agreed-upon time to call. And, in Arizona, the business meeting scheduled ahead of the call went on so long, there just wasn’t time for the GDUI conversation. Maybe we’ll see some of you at our convention in Reno next summer. Meanwhile, please remember, you can always call any of us to ask questions or for an update by calling GDUI’s toll-free number, 866.799.8436. Sarah will let us know you want to chat, and we will be happy to call you back!

I know, we’ve been promising the return of GDUI’s Juno Report on lists, and then, when you tuned in or checked your pod catcher, we were no where to be heard. We’re sorry. Here’s what happened. Nolan (who is hosting our November GDUI Juno Report) experienced a major computer melt-down – one so horrific, in fact, that he had to reconstruct the whole computer – nearly from scratch! So, although the GDUI Juno Report was ready to go, there was no way to upload it to the ACB Radio repository where all their shows reside until air time. The good news is – Now it’s there! Please tune in to ACB Radio Mainstream on Friday night at 8:00 p.m., EST, for the latest GDUI Juno Report! If you can’t catch it then, you’ll have another chance when you return from shopping on Black Friday to put your feet up and listen to a discussion of the Uber Settlement, which is scheduled to go into effect in December. Thanks, Nolan. We’re so lucky that you have so many varied talents – including technology guru – and we’re looking forward to the return of our GDUI Juno Report radio stream!

As always, thank you for your friendship and support. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.


Penny Reeder, President

Guide Dog Users, Inc.

Deanna Noriega, First Vice President

Guide Dog Users, Inc.

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 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 recordings of every announcement. 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 concurrently with each new online announcement.

We look forward to sharing announcements concerning our organization with all who are interested in GDUI.