Announcements for the Week of January 26, 2015

Dear GDUI Members and Friends,


On Saturday, the GDUI Board of Directors met for our first scheduled meeting of 2015. We had a terrific meeting. Everyone but Nolan was able to be with us (Poor Nolan was coping with the after-effects of dental work the previous day), every committee chairperson was able to provide an update on all his or her committee has been accomplishing, several motions were made and adopted, and some of our members even had the fortitude to stay on their phone lines for the nearly three hours we spent on the call, and to introduce themselves and provide commentary at the end of the meeting. We are fortunate indeed to have such a hard-working board, and to welcome such dedicated members to our meetings. If you couldn’t attend, or you had to exit before we were finished with our business, you can listen to the meeting recording in these ways:


To access the 2 hour and 50 minute long recording of the GDUI board meeting recording

that was held on Saturday, January 24, 2015, please use one of the options below.

Drop Box:

Send Space:

Play back number:


Access code: 919245 followed by the pound key.


Thanks to Sarah, for making the recordings available within an hour of the close of our meeting. If you can’t find an extra three hours in your current schedule to listen to the meeting recording, be assured that meeting minutes, including all committee reports, will be included in the Spring PawTracks.


One announcement that we made at Saturday’s meeting to which I want to draw your attention is our planned Town Hall Meeting for GDUI members and friends. As a membership organization, GDUI officers, directors, and committee chairs rely on your direction and feedback to let us know what we’re doing well and what else you might like us to be concentrating on. We held a GDUI Town Hall meeting last fall shortly after this board took office. Now, we’re eager to hear from you again. We plan a Winter Town Hall Meeting for Valentine’s Day, February 14, from 1:00 p.m. until all our members and friends have asked their questions and had their say.


One focus of this meeting will be an update concerning the bylaws which our Constitution and Bylaws Committee is proposing to recommend, first to the board for preliminary approval, and then to our membership for final adoption, during the end-of-May election. We believe that GDUI’s constitution — and our members’ failure to adopt bylaws changes which would  have dramatically altered the character of our organization — were largely responsible, last year,  for restoring GDUI’s democratic character. Our members resoundingly defeated proposed bylaws which would have eliminated affiliates and consolidated governance within the confines of a much smaller board and cadre of officers. Having defeated those proposed bylaws and voted for new leadership, we call on you, our members, again — to become informed about the revisions our Constitution and Bylaws Committee suggests, in order for GDUI to be in compliance with the District of Columbia Code for Not-for-Profit Organizations and to streamline the document to conform with best practices. The Town Hall meeting will provide a first opportunity for members to become informed about the work of our Constitution and Bylaws Committee.  We are sure that follow-up e-mail discussions will also be encouraged. For a preliminary discussion of the bylaws that will be on the ballot in May, please make plans to attend the February 14 Town Hall Meeting. We believe you — like all of us — will be very pleased and grateful to our committee for working so hard to preserve the fundamental character of GDUI. Please tell your friends who are guide dog users about our coming Town Hall Meeting. The call-in number and pass code will be identical to the numbers you dial for board meetings: 712.432.0075, 919245-Pound.


It’s finally almost time for Top Dog! We’ve been waiting and ready for months! Audrey Gunter sent an announcement to the GDUI-Chat list while she was packing a bag for her and her guide dog, Jessie. They will arrive at the hotel early on Monday morning, to make everything ready for those of us who are lucky enough to attend, and to provide training for hotel staff and convention volunteers. Audrey says, “I’d like to seize this opportunity to extend my heartfelt thanks to each and every one of you who will be attending Top Dog-Charleston and also to those of you who could not come but extended so much encouragement.


We have 150 guests coming from the 4 corners of the USA and all parts in

between.  We’re also expecting another 20-30 special invited guests to

recognize at our opening ceremony as well as dozens of volunteers.


Of course, none of this would have been possible if it were not for the

puppy raisers and we have 20 puppy raisers coming!


I am still amazed at the products companies have so generously

donated.  I do believe each attendee will be delighted at the goodies in

his/her registration packet.


Top Dog-Charleston has been a joint effort between many: Guide Dog Users of

Florida; Georgia Guide Dog Users; GDUI; the Association for the Blind and

Visually Impaired, Charleston and, of course-all of you.   We have

been and continue to pray for a beautiful, warm, sunny weekend so that we can

all enjoy each other and the environment.  I, personally find God to be a

true gentleman and, when invited to an event He will always show up and show out

with all of His Glorious Blessings.


Each one of you is a blessing and Jessie and I just wanted to say,



If you’re planning to be at Top Dog, I hope you’ll find me and my husband, Carl, and Willow and say hello! (Willow won’t be hard to find. She will, no doubt, be one of the most talkative dogs in the room!) Bob Acosta and his wife, Ruth; Sarah Calhoun and her Jeff; Betsy Grenevitch and her daughters; and Jane and Pat Sheehan will also be there, representing GDUI’s Board of Directors, and we’re all looking forward to the conference and to meeting many of you. Betsy will have membership forms, in case you still need to join or renew your membership in GDUI, and Jane will be selling all kinds of GDUI products and toys.


Until next Monday, when Top Dog will be a pleasant memory for many of us, and many of you will have likely weathered the huge snow storm that currently threatens much of the East Coast, we thank you for your friendship and support and wish you and your dogs safe travels.


Penny Reeder, President

Guide Dog Users, Inc

Will Burley, First Vice President

Guide Dog Users, Inc.


Call us, toll-free, at  866.799.8436

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To join the GDUI-Announce List, visit homepage and complete the sign up form..


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 each Tuesday.

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