Announcements for the Week of January 5, 2015

Dear GDUI Members and Friends,

This morning, many of us came abruptly to the startling reality that the first work week of the new year was cutting us no breaks as we and our guide dogs braved challengingly low temperatures and other wintry weather conditions on our treks to the obligations of the first work week of 2015! Thank goodness our dogs are a lot more enthusiastic about wintery weather than many of us seem to be! No matter where you live and what your daily obligations, be safe and warm out there and grateful to your dogs for getting you through challenging conditions and warming your feet once you’re safely inside again!

Perhaps thinking about summer and GDUI’s 2015 convention can take our minds off the freezing temperatures and icy precipitation of January. GDUI’s 2015 convention will take place concurrently with the annual convention of the American Council of the Blind from July 5-8, at the Sheraton Dallas, located at 400 N. Olive St. in downtown Dallas, TX. It’s not too soon to think about making travel reservations and booking hotel rooms, so here are some details to help.

Dallas is served by two airports, DFW and Love Field.
Love Field is serviced by Southwest Airlines and, effective April 2015, by Virgin
America. DFW is served by a number of airlines, including American, Delta, Frontier,
Jet Blue, Sun Country and United. For a list of airlines serving DFW, visit
Amtrak comes to Dallas’ Union Station, approximately 1 mile from
the hotel. Union Station is served by the city’s light rail’s red or blue line, or one can take a short cab ride to the hotel.
There is a Megabus stop in Dallas as well as a Greyhound station; both are located
within easy traveling distance of the Sheraton.
For additional information on Greyhound, visit city=680780
Megabus information can be obtained at adds downtown Dallas service.aspx

Room rates at the Sheraton Dallas are $89 (single, double,
triple or quad) plus applicable state and local taxes (currently 13 percent) and
tourism district fees (2 percent).
To reserve a room, call
888.627.8191, and be sure to mention that you are attending the ACB convention.
To make reservations online, visit follow the 2015 convention link.

We will be sharing details about our convention program, this year’s fabulous auction, a super drawing for cash prizes and jewelry at the GDUI luncheon, fabulous speakers, important discussions, upgrading relief areas, product sales, the GDUI Suite, and more convention-related news in these weekly announcements as well as PawTracks over coming months. Lillian Scaife’s Convention Program Committee is already working hard to plan for every aspect of the 2015 GDUI convention — including soliciting fabulous items for this summer’s auction — and we are excited!

Here’s some helpful information from one of our members who is working with her first guide dog.

“I just learned that Ruffwear provides a fifty percent discount on all items for guide
dogs. For GDB grads, that is the company that our dogs booties come from. If you
need replacement shoes, a winter coat, or life jacket, they are a great resource!
You can check out their web page or call them to sign up.
I just ordered snow boots for my guide, and the customer
support service via phone was fantastic! My dog also loves his winter coat made by

If your guide lost one or two of his boots in a snow drift or she needs a winter coat or any number of excellent items for doggie “weatherization,” check out Ruffwear here: Or call them here: 888.783.3932. And, thanks, Mary, for sharing that great endorsement with us.

In case the wintery weather has brought on an unwelcome bout with the flu or other unpleasantness, or you just want to assure your personal health and well-being by keeping informed about your prescription medications and how to take them, here’s welcome news from ACB and CVS Health, who are expanding the availability of talking, braille and large print prescription labels through their mail-service pharmacy for customers who are visually impaired. According to their announcement of January 5, CVS Health (NYSE: CVS) now offers the ScripAbility prescription accessibility system through its mail service pharmacy to CVS/caremark members who are blind or visually impaired. The system includes ScripTalk talking prescription labels as well as braille and large print labels. The ScripTalk talking labels, which are made available free of charge by CVS, provide a safe and convenient way for people who cannot read the standard print on prescription labels to access information relevant to each of their prescribed medications. CVS/caremark members who are blind or visually impaired can obtain a free ScripTalk reader from Envision America that will enable them to listen to the information on each ScripTalk label. Members can request a product from the ScripAbility suite by contacting Caremark’s call center. Learn more about CVS Health here: Learn more about En-Vision America’s ScripAbility Prescription Accessibility System here: Thank you to ACB for your continued advocacy on our behalf, and to CVS health for adopting best practices with respect to making information accessible to people like us who are blind and visually impaired.

If you live in the Mid–Atlantic region (i.e., Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, Virginia, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, or the District of Columbia), we hope you are making plans to attend the organizational conference-call meeting for a new GDUI affiliate, Mid-Atlantic Guide Dog Users, which is scheduled to take place at 1:00 p.m. next Sunday, January 11, at this number: 712.432.5620. Use the
pass code of 446 followed by the pound sign. If you are thinking about running or nominating someone for an office in MAGDU, or a position on the board, or you just want to chat about organizational matters or recruitment or ideas related to future programming, contact Charlie Crawford who is leading the task force with the goal of turning the MAGDU dream into tangible reality. Charlie can be reached at 301.562.2057, or via e-mail at Or, call GDUI’s office manager and interim MAGDU treasurer, Jane Sheehan, at 866.799.8436.

If you’re attempting to cope with winter weather by spending as much time as possible inside by the fire and you want to enliven your winter reading list, check out GDUI’s blog which features updates from board members and committee chairs. Find our blog here: Our blog provides an easy way to keep up with what’s happening in GDUI between weekly announcements and issues of PawTracks, and we encourage all of you to share blog entries with your friends who partner with guide dogs and to add your own comments on the blog. If you’re interested in lively daily conversations about all things guide-dog-related, remember it’s easy to join GDUI’s Chat list. Just send a message to: and follow the instructions provided in the confirmation e-mail that you will receive in reply.

Our PawTracks editor, Nolan Crabb, tells us to expect our copies of the Winter issue of PawTracks in the next couple of weeks. Unfortunately, Nolan has been dealing with intermittent hard-drive-related computer problems, and so our winter issue is later than he or we anticipated. Computers: We love them or we hate them, and sometimes we experience both emotions simultaneously! All of us understand way too well what Nolan has been experiencing, and we wish him good fortune as he manages the computer issues and gets the current issue of PawTracks off to Ray Fournier for recording and distribution to audiocassette readers and Jane for distribution to e-mail attachment subscribers.

If you haven’t yet renewed your membership in GDUI, please visit our web site and complete our easy-to-use online application available here: Or, you can call our office manager, Jane Sheehan, who will be happy to answer any questions you have about membership in GDUI or GDUI affiliates in your area of the country, and to assist you with the application process. Call Jane at 866.799.8436.

GDUI’s committee chairs are ramping up for the demands of a new year this week. There are scheduled meetings of the fund-raising committee and the membership committee, the Budget and Finance Committee met on Sunday afternoon, and the Convention Program Auction Subcommittee met on Sunday night, and members of the Constitution and Bylaws Committee are busily exchanging information about language in the DC Not-for-Profit Code and proposed language for the constitutional refresh which will occur in May. There will be a GDUI board meeting later this month, on January 24th, and Debbie Grub and I are eagerly anticipating meeting with the board of Guide Dog Users of California on January 25. Of course, Top Dog is coming right up at the end of the month. Remember, you can still purchase tickets for the drawing for a plush life-size yellow labbie puppy, dressed for work in his hand-made harness, the proceeds from which will benefit GDUI. Tickets are three for $5.00, and the winning ticket will be drawn at 6:00 p.m. on Saturday, January 30. You don’t have to be present at Top Dog to win. To purchase your tickets, contact Audrey Gunter at To learn more about Top dog, visit this web site: We are very grateful to our Dixieland GDUI affiliate for their generosity, and those of us who will be lucky enough to attend Top Dog are getting very excited about the conference!

If we can suggest one more flight of fantasy to help get you through this cold and dark time of year, remember GDUI’s Caribbean cruise, which will launch on December 5! Ports of call for the Carnival cruise will include Nassau, Bahamas; St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands; San Juan, Puerto Rico; and
Grand Turk. One of the many nice benefits of this
particular package is that should a traveler wish, he or she may make
monthly payments throughout this coming year.
Prices are as follows: interior cabin, $866.53; private balcony cabin,
$1,116.53. All rates include 7-day cruise, port charges, taxes and
gratuities. To book your vacation and help GDUI, call Dave Kronk at 618.409.0143, or e-mail him at

Until next week’s announcements, we wish all of you safe travels through fact and fantasy alike, and lots of waggily doggie kisses during this first week of 2015.
Penny Reeder, President
Guide Dog Users, Inc.

Will Burley, First Vice President
Guide Dog Users, Inc.

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include instructions for confirming your subscription. 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.