Announcements for the Week of July 20, 2015

Dear GDUI Members and Friends,

Our Deep in the Hearts of Guide Dogs GDUI Convention is beginning to fade into memory – a blissfully happy memory for sure! – as we begin, slo-o-o-o-w-ly, to catch up on sleep and move on with summer plans and the second year of our GDUI administration! If you were there and we were lucky enough to connect with you in the suite or during one of our program segments, at our delicious and entertaining GDUI luncheon, in ACB General Sessions, at Resolutions late at night, at the Mad Hatter Cafe, or our Guide Dog Schools Appreciation Reception, or while scurrying back and forth across the Sky-bridge – we loved connecting with you. If you missed the Dallas convention, we hope you’ll begin making plans to be at the Hyatt in Minneapolis next summer! (Willow is already compiling her 2016 GDUI Suite Wish List. After all, she managed to convince me to buy only two of her favorite ‘alien’ toys on the products table, and – she pointed this out to me several times! — there were more there!) Convention Highlights I have received lovely messages from our members who shared time with us in Dallas. Here’s a sampling:
From Minh Ha – “Firstly, I want to say thank you to you and the board and the rest of the committees for putting on a great program and making the GDUI suite such a welcoming place. I had so much fun whenever I walked into the suite and it was a nice place for Viva to hang out and get spoiled by me.”

Minh is a busy graduate student, but she would like to become more actively involved in GDUI, and we welcome her – and all of our members’ — involvement! (Minh, I’m sending you that list of committees soon.)

From Melvin Smith: “I wanted to let you know I had a nice time in the suite with the Louisville ladies, they are awesome! And great help.
The reception, luncheon, and the program were5 star events. It was nice meeting persons who are behind the e-mails I read every day here on the list. I cannot wait to help GDUI again for the next convention.”

Melvin, we couldn’t agree more – Jane Woods and Connie Smith are absolutely awesome! We’re glad you had fun, and we’re looking forward to next summer as well.

Our Deep in the Hearts of Guide Dogs, Guide Dog School Appreciation Reception was all that we hoped it would be – a way to express our appreciation to all of our schools and the trainers and staff persons who make it possible for us to succeed as members of guide dog teams every single day. The trainers who attend our convention, help with orientation and picking-up, and on walks to and from breakfast club, present interesting topics at GDUI program events, and are anywhere and everywhere we need them to be – you are so wonderful, there will never be enough words to express our appreciation! We hope our reception let you know just how grateful we all are. The Deep in the Hearts of Guide Dogs, Guide Dog Schools Appreciation Tribute Booklet is online here:
Thank you to everyone who contributed to the booklet and helped to sponsor our event.

The Prize Winners! We won’t keep you in suspense any longer! We know you’re eager to know who won! Janet Mills is a puppy raiser for Southeastern Guide Dogs and she (and her ninth puppy) volunteered for us at the convention. Congratulations to Janet who is the winner of Dallas!

There was a great deal of spirited competition for the 12 dozen Cookies that will be coming from Penny’s Kitchen. In September, I will be mailing the first batch to Melvin Smith in Kansas City, MO!

And, the winner of the $1,000 cash prize in the Summer Drawing is Charles Naveretti, who lives in California. Congratulations, Charles!

Other winners’ names have been shared on the chat list, in the case of the Summer Drawing, and will be posted soon on the Silent Auction Page on our web site,

Thank you to everyone who contributed to our fund-raisers, to so many generous donors who contributed items to our Silent Auction and to the Summer Drawing as well, to all of those who worked in the suite to collect bids and let folks know whose bid was surpassing whose, thank you to Jane Sheehan and Vickie Curley and to Bob Acosta who worked so hard on the summer drawing, and thank you to everyone who placed bids on Dallas – We are so pleased he’s going to such a deserving new home!

GDUI Awards We want to thank Becky Davidson and Jane Sheehan who worked on our Awards Committee, selecting three very deserving people to honor, and spent endless hours shopping for just the right company to prepare our print-and-braille awards plaques. Congratulations to Audrey Gunter, winner of the Moffitt-gleitz Award, which honors a person who is blind who has contributed significantly to the human-canine bond. Congratulations to Kathy Zubrycki, winner of the ETHEL BENDER AWARD, which celebrates the accomplishments of a sighted person who has contributed significantly to that human-canine bond.
And, congratulations to Rebecca Kragnes, who is the winner of this year’s GDUI Excellence in Writing Award, for her outstanding and informative ongoing PawTracks series, “Preaching to the Choir,” and her steadfast commitment to excellent canine-human partnerships.

Read about Carla Campbell’s Wonderful Doggie Massages in the GDUI Suite in this great article from the Dallas News,
. Carla restored equanimity for so many guide dogs at her Canine Massage Station in the GDUI Suite, and she taught many folks how to keep those good vibes going even after they return home during two well-attended workshops. Thank you, Carla! You’re the best!

Jenine Stanley, who called herself a Warrior, spent many hours monitoring recordings of GDUI convention program events and on several other important front-lines as well. Thank you, Jenine, for your many contributions to our successful convention. Jenine is still evaluating and editing the program recordings. We will let you know when they become available online. We hope to share as many recordings of our informative program events as possible with all our members, whether or not you could come to our Dallas convention.

There will be other Deep in the Hearts of Guide Dogs Convention wrap-up information in the next issue of PawTracks. Until that fall issue, let us thank our GDUI Convention Program Chair, Lillian Scaife, and her committee members one more time. Thank you, you are all absolutely awesome! Thank you, Lillian, for agreeing to do it all over again as the GDUI Program Chairperson for 2016. We hope that all of your amazing, energetic committee members will want to reconvene to plan and manage our 2016 convention next summer in Minneapolis.

The July GDUI Board Meeting was held at convention on Sunday, July 5.
We were so fortunate to have many GDUI officers and board members at the in-person meeting, and several guests as well. Those who could not attend participated via telephone, and although the connection wasn’t perfect, (it was slightly better than the paper-cups-connected-via-string system that many of us discovered in third grade!) we managed to get some important business accomplished.
One item on our agenda concerned the recordings of these weekly announcements which Bob Acosta prepares each week. The number of callers who take advantage of this telephonic access has dwindled, and Bob asked us to consider whether or not we want to continue providing this service for our members who don’t have e-mail access or choose not to access these announcements online. The board decided we should conduct an informal survey of our members, and that’s what I’m doing
here: If you like our telephonic recorded announcements and believe we should continue to provide them, please get in touch with me or Bob, and let us know. Also, if you enjoy our announcements and know other guide dog users who might enjoy them as well, please share the call-in number (located at the end of this announcement) with them.

To access the recording of the July 5, 2015, GDUI Board Meeting, visit:
Drop Box:

Send Space:

By telephone: Play back number:
Access code: 919245.

Thank you to Jane Sheehan! For personal reasons, Jane has decided to step down from her position as Office Manager. We appreciate your filling this role so ably, Jane, over the past year, and we are so glad that you will remain on GDUI’s board to continue your involvement with GDUI and to share your energy and wisdom with us. Thank you.

The California State Guide Dog Board Issue:
GDUI introduced a resolution to the American Council of the Blind convention for their consideration concerning the California State Guide Dog Board’s recent re-interpretation of their mission which has prevented instructors who are not licensed in California but who are from International Guide Dog Federation-certified schools from providing follow-up services for our members who live in CA and who have chosen to attend out-of-state guide dog training programs. We are so pleased that ACB members, assembled in convention in Dallas, on Friday, July 10, unanimously adopted the resolution, which I am pasting below.

The California State Guide Dog Board will be meeting on Monday, July 20, at 1:00 p.m., Pacific Daylight Time, to discuss this important issue again. GDUI urges all of our members to participate in this publicly accessible call, especially if your guide dog training has been provided by an IGDF-certified school whose instructors have not been licensed by the California State Guide Dog Board.

Call the Teleconference Phone Number: 866.692.3158, and use this Participant Code: 99686782.

GDUI submitted a comment by postal mail and e-mail to the California State Guide Dog Board on this important issue, and we will share it in a separate announcement. Meanwhile, here is the resolution adopted by the ACB convention on Friday, July 10:

ACB Resolution 2015-15
WHEREAS, around 1948, the California legislature created the California State Board of Guide Dogs for the Blind (the board), pursuant to Section 7200.5 of the state’s Business and Professions Code; and

WHEREAS, the Board rapidly developed procedures governing the development of guide dog training programs (called schools), fund-raising for such programs, and the licensing of the schools and their instructors; and

WHEREAS, thanks to the Board’s efforts, California became the first and only state to mandate regulations for certifying the quality of guide dog training programs and the competency of instructors through a comprehensive examination and licensing procedure for California schools and their instructors and for instructors from out of state who seek to serve students in California even with after-care; and

Whereas, since 1989, the International Guide Dog Federation (IGDF), an international association of guide dog schools, which has grown to at least 80 member schools worldwide, has required its member schools to undergo an accreditation protocol that is at least as rigorous as the California state licensure requirements for guide dog schools and instructors; and

Whereas, in recent years the board has, contrary to its earlier practice, begun to strictly enforce state regulations that prohibit the activities of unlicensed instructors in California to the extent that instructors from IGDF-accredited schools, regardless of the demonstrated abilities of these instructors, or the accreditation from the IGDF achieved by these schools, are prohibited from providing after-care services to graduates of these schools unless the particular instructors providing such services have been individually licensed by the State of California, and Board; and

Whereas these practices punish California guide dog users for choosing to receive their training from out-of-state schools, including schools with a long-standing track record of providing outstanding services to their students, and

Whereas an inability to receive after-care in a timely manner from instructors who have familiarity with their graduates and their dogs and who utilize guide dog training techniques familiar both to instructors and their graduates can put the safety of guide dog users who need after-care at great risk; and

Whereas, this treatment by the State of California clearly violates principles of consumer choice with respect to training which are universally upheld and valued by the American Council of the Blind.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that this organization calls on the legislature and Governor of the state of California to enact legislation during the 2016 session to permit instructors employed by IGDF accredited schools to provide follow-up services to their graduate guide dog teams in California, without requiring these instructors to be licensed by the state; and

be IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization calls on the Governor of the State of California to reach out to the Board to create approaches to alleviating the dangerous situation described above by encouraging the creation of an interim approach that will allow after-care services to be delivered by out-of-state instructors;

and be it further Resolved: that copies of this resolution shall be sent to the Governor of the State of California, to the members of the California State Legislature, and to the members and Executive Officer of the California State Board of Guide Dogs for the Blind.

Adopted, July 10, 2015
Dallas, Texas

We wish all of you safe and happy summer travels during coming weeks.
Willow and I plan to spend next week with our family at a beach on the Gulf Coast of Florida. We will be back with further announcements when our vacation is over.
Penny Reeder, President
Guide Dog Users, Inc.
Will Burley, 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 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.