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

Smart Phones and Emergency Information

Smart phones provide many safety features, including a simple way for first responders to access your emergency contact and medical Information. In your contacts, label the person you want contacted
ICE, their name and relationship to you. ICE stands for In Case of
Emergency. Example: In my case, I have my husband’s mobile number
listed as “ICE – Darrell husband”. You can add your personal medical information (allergies, medicine you are taking, your doctor’s contact
information) under Notes in your ICE contact. It is recommended that you have list two ICE contacts.
ANYONE can use your phone, activate SIRI (press and hold the Home button on the iPhone) and say, “Call ICE” – even when your phone is locked!

Here is a good website that explains this.

Please share this with friends, family and especially with students!


Self-Advocacy and Ground Transportation

Under the Department of Transportation (DOT) ADA regulations, transit entities must permit service animals to accompany individuals with disabilities in all vehicles and service facilities. Title II of the ADA covers publically-operated services such as buses, subways, complimentary ADA paratransit services, Amtrak, and commuter railroads. Title III of the ADA covers privately-operated transportation services such as bus lines; tour buses; shuttles; limos; and taxicabs. State laws may offer additional or greater protections for passengers with service animals.


How to File a Complaint Against Publically Operated Transportation Services

Questions and complaints should be directed to the DOT’s Federal Transit Administration Office of Civil Rights at (888) 446-4511.


How to File a Complaint Against Privately-Operated Transportation Services

Questions and complaints should be directed to The U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division Disability Rights Section at (800) 514-0301


FAQs About Transportation Services

Frequently asked questions about the civil rights of people with disabilities regarding transit vehicles and facilities. Includes service animal related information.

Self-Advocacy and Air Travel

The Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) prohibits discrimination against passengers with disabilities who travel by air with service animals.  The rule applies to flights of U.S. airlines, and to flights to or from the United States by foreign airlines. When passing through security checkpoints, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is responsible for screening air travelers with service animals. Prior to travel, passengers with questions about screening policies, procedures or what to expect when they arrive at the airport security checkpoint may call TSA Cares at 1-855-787-2227 or email


How to File a Discrimination Complaint Against the Airline

Passengers who feel they have been discriminated against by the airline can also request immediate on site assistance from a Complaint Resolution Official (CRO) or call the Aviation Consumer Disability Hotline at (866) 266-1368.


How to File a Complaint Against Airport Security Checkpoints

Complaint form and instructions for filing a disability-related complaint with the Transportation Security Administration.


Frequently Asked Questions Concerning Air Travel of People with Disabilities

FAQ published by the Office of Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings. Includes several questions about service animal regulations under the Air Carrier Access Act.


Screening Air Travelers with Service Animals

Specific information related to screening passengers with service animals at airport security checkpoints.

An Act Regarding Service Dogs in Maine



Legislative Document No. 547


371 House of Representatives, February 26, 2015

An Act Regarding Service Dogs

Reference to the Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry suggested and

ordered printed.




Presented by Representative CAMPBELL of Orrington. (BY REQUEST)

Cosponsored by Senator SAVIELLO of Franklin and

Representatives: DOORE of Augusta, LAJOIE of Lewiston, MAKER of Calais, NADEAU of

Winslow, STANLEY of Medway, TUELL of East Machias.

Printed on recycled paper


table with 2 columns and 33 rows


Be it enacted by the People of the State of Maine as follows:


Sec. 1. 7 MRSA §3922, sub-§4, as amended by PL 2007, c. 664, §11, is further


amended to read:


  1. Service dogs. If a service dog has not been previously registered or licensed by


the municipal clerk to whom the application is being made, the clerk may not register the


dog nor issue to its owner or keeper a license and tag that identifies the dog as a service


dog unless the applicant presents written evidence to the municipal clerk that the dog


meets the definition of “service dog.” For the purpose of this subsection “written


evidence” means a service dog certification form approved by the department in


consultation with the Maine Human Rights Commission. The service dog certification


form must include a letter signed by a physician, psychologist, physician assistant or


nurse practitioner indicating that the owner or keeper or a member of the owner’s or


keeper’s household requires the service dog and a certification or other document


indicating that the service dog has completed training from an established service animal


training organization or has been evaluated by a certified animal trainer and found to have


a sound temperament suitable for a service dog.


Sec. 2. 7 MRSA §3923-B, sub-§1-A is enacted to read:


1-A. Service dog registration tag. In accordance with subsection 1, the department


shall ensure that, with regard to the registration and licensing of a service dog, the service


dog’s registration tag clearly indicates that the dog is a service animal pursuant to Title 5,


section 4553, subsection 9-E. The department shall devise a method of ensuring that a


service dog’s registration tag is clearly visible to the public.




This bill requires that an individual registering a service dog present to the municipal


clerk a letter signed by a physician, psychologist, physician assistant or nurse practitioner


indicating that the individual or a member of the individual’s household requires the


service dog and a certification or other document indicating that the service dog has


completed training from an established service animal training organization or has been


evaluated by a certified animal trainer and found to have a sound temperament suitable


for a service dog. It also requires the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and


Forestry to ensure that the registration tag of a service dog clearly indicates that the dog is


a service animal and to devise a method of ensuring that a service dog’s registration tag is


visible to the public.

You and your Guide Dog welcomes Penny Reeder

You and your Guide Dog welcomes Penny Reeder, the national President of Guide Dog users, Inc., tonight at 8 pm. EST.  If you wish to attend via the telephone, come by ten minutes prior to the event by calling (605) 475-6777; access code: 090807 followed by a press of the pound key.

You can also attend by computer. Go to: and hit h until you hear conference rooms. Then tab down to Guide Dog users Room and enter. If this is your first time, then tab down to download and enter. Download run and install our simple software and you will be prompted to reenter the room. Then put your name in the username field and tab once to log in and enter. No password is needed.


Hope to talk with many of you this evening.

Bob Acosta

Disaster Assistance and Preparedness Program (DAPP)

The Disaster Assistance and Preparedness Program (DAPP) is now available to GDUI members who are teamed with a guide dog. The fund was created in June 2011 with the funding provided by a private donation.  Since then, the program has been renamed to better reflect its purpose.

A devastating event like an earthquake, wild fire, or act of terrorism can leave people feeling confused and not sure where to go for help. Because we know that adversity can befall any one of us, leaving us with few resources and even fewer places to turn for help, Guide Dog Users Inc., (GDUI) offers the Disaster Assistance and preparedness Program (DAPP).

GDUI members with working dogs recovering from a catastrophic event can apply for a stipend to purchase dog food and other essential supplies on behalf of their working dogs.

We encourage all GDUI members who are currently working with guide dogs to read the instructions outlined below carefully; if you find yourselves facing financial crisis in caring for your dog as a result of a natural disaster or catastrophic event, to call or e-mail and ask us for help. Who can apply • Once the application is submitted, the proposed funds shall be issued only to a current GDUI member with a current working guide dog. • Guide dog and handler must have been directly and negatively impacted by a recent

Disaster and in need of financial assistance for the well-being of the working dog.

  • GDUI’s Disaster Assistance and Preparedness Program funds will be available for three (3) weeks from the first date of a known and declared disaster. • Each GDUI member with a guide dog will be allowed a onetime monetary assistance grant of $50.00 after the application is processed. • Prior to releasing any funds, the applicant’s required information and qualifications will be verified and approved by the DAPP committee.
  • Upon approval, the funds will be issued by GDUI ‘Treasurer (or designee), to the applicant or directly to a vendor such as a pet food store or veterinarian depending on each circumstance. • An applicant must live in the affected area and have been negatively impacted. Additionally, the working guide dog must be in immediate need of resources to ensure proper daily care, food, medicine, veterinary intervention and/or to meet other needs.

How to Apply please read this section before proceeding to the bottom of the page for the contact information. Thank you.

Please note, in the event the handler does not have any means of contacting GDUI due to the present disaster, he/she may have one of the following individuals or organizations communicate on his/her behalf: family member, friend, veterinary hospital or clinic, Humane Society, Red Cross/hospital, Salvation Army, religious institution, local or acting police or fire department or similar agency.

Depending on the individual circumstances, additional assistance may be requested by   the applicant,   based upon prior approval by the DAPP committee for possible additional funds.

  • The approved funds may be issued in the form of a gift card from a known store which carries pet/dog supplies or tendered as a pre-paid credit card. Funds may also be directly transferred to a Veterinarian or Veterinary hospital or clinic. The monies may also be issued by a GDUI check or money order, wire transfer or other means depending on the handler’s circumstances. The means of issued funds will be determined by the treasurer (or designee) in consultation with the applicant. • All information submitted to GDUI by the applicant may be used by the GDUI Board of Directors or committee of the Board for purposes of determining approval of the application. All information will be held in the strictest of confidence. A news release may be issued but the name of the recipient and/or guide dog will be kept confidential per applicant’s request.

***Exceptions of Eligibility*** The Disaster Assistance & Preparedness Program is not available for a retired guide dog, a puppy in training and / or puppy raiser, or any household pet.

***APPLICATION Process*** All necessary information is required before any funds will be issued. Required Information: The following information may be provided by telephone or e-mail before eligibility is determined. We are sympathetic to the high stress levels experienced by both guide dog handlers and their dogs, and we will do our best to secure all the required information so we can respond quickly. Please have the following information ready when making initial contact:

  • Handlers full name, home address, city, state, zip code and phone number(s), at the time of the disaster.
  • If applicant’s living situation is unsustainable, i.e., homeless/shelter/family/friends, GDUI require the following information: the name of the shelter, the name of the shelter director, and phone number of the shelter. If staying with family or friends, please provide the name, address and phone number of new location.

How to Contact GDUI DAPP Volunteer Staff:  Applicants and/or those assisting the applicant can call or Email any member of the DAPP Committee:

Sarah Calhoun, Chair (Missouri)

Home: 636-942-5956

Cell: 314-753-5191

Bob Acosta (California)

Home: 818-9980044

Cell: 818-620-2200

Ann Chiappetta (New York)

Cell: 914-393-6605

Lynn Merrill, GDUI Treasurer (Maine)

Cell: 207-458-1362

Ken Metz (California)

Home: 818-882-3610

Cell: 323-793-1805

Dixie Sanderson (Connecticut)

Cell: 203-453-6474

Ron Brooks, Arizona Cell: 602-616-1171

Jane Sheehan, Office Manager (Maryland)


Revised 10/2014 A.C.