GDUI Annoucement, January 1, 2017

Dear GDUI Members and Friends,

First things first, happy new year! As I prepare this announcement, the New Year’s arrival is just hours away. At our house, the holiday season was particularly busy, and lots of fun! Our house was filled-to-overflowing with family members, most of whom we don’t get to spend time with nearly often enough.

Willow was thrilled beyond calculation every time another family member arrived – and so were the rest of us. Preparing and enjoying all kinds of amazing food kept us occupied, along with gifts and conversation and anticipating the arrival of Santa Claus (who even made a brief in-person stop-over for the first time ever in our living room early on Christmas Eve! Our three-year-old granddaughter was amazed and excited; Willow was a little more cautious!) Now that everyone has gone back to their own homes and there are only three humans and one canine in residence again, I want to catch you up, briefly, on what’s happening and what’s coming in GDUI, and to thank each one of you for your friendship and support during this year that’s rapidly disappearing.

It’s time for Membership Renewals! If you haven’t renewed your membership in GDUI for 2017, we hope you will do so soon. Our web master recently installed a new membership plug-in on our web site, which, we believe, will make the job of our Treasurer and Membership Committee Chair a lot less complicated. To complete your membership application and pay your annual dues of just $15, visit this link:

Just a Few Days until Top Dog! Willow and I are looking forward to catching up with many of you and your dogs at Top Dog, which will be here before we know it! I will be participating on a panel discussion concerning possible new regulations that may affect those of us who fly with our guide dogs – and the failed attempt to achieve consensus with the airline industry during this past year’s RegNeg process.

Top Dog is such a wonderful conference. I feel very grateful to be able to attend and renew acquaintance with conference organizers and attendees. If you can come to Top Dog, please find us and say hello!

Several GDUI Committees are seeking new or additional members. Will Burley would like to invite any of you who would like to help with the Disaster Assistance and Preparedness Program (DAPP) Committee to get in touch with him. Will’s e-mail address is

And, Deanna Noriega is still hoping that any of you with a passion for or experience in fund-raising will join the GDUI Fund-Raising Committee. Fund-raising is one of those activities where it’s impossible for too many cooks to spoil the broth! E-mail Deanna

UberProblems with Uber and Lyft! GDUI was pleased to work with ACB and the Council of U. S. Dog Guide Schools (CUSDGS(to conduct a survey which verifies what most of us already knew – that catching a ride in a taxicab with a guide dog at our side is often quite problematic! If you didn’t get a chance to read the summary that Tony Stephens prepared for last month’s ACB E-Forum, we encourage you to take a look. Although the data we collected may not be particularly surprising to those of us and our guide dogs who attempt to travel in taxicabs and Uber and Lyft cars, our hope is that this reliably collected data will help convince regulators at all governmental levels that discrimination is rampant, especially in cities and suburbs, and we need stronger regs and better enforcement of legislation that protects our civil rights!

GDUI was pleased to welcome Julia Marks, one of the attorneys who represented blind and visually impaired guide dog users in the class-action lawsuit which NFB and others brought against Uber for discrimination against guide dog users, to our convention last summer. If you missed her presentation, we featured it again in our November GDUI Juno Report show on ACB Radio (still available as a podcast), and the conference presentation is also still available on our web site.

We are mystified as to why services from Uber seem to have deteriorated dramatically during the past several weeks — since the settlement went into effect! Charlie Crawford and I are planning to speak with Ms. Marks as soon as possible, hopefully during these coming weeks, and we will report what we find out. Meanwhile, we are just as dismayed as all of you are by the outright discrimination which seems to be modus operandi for too many Uber and Lyft drivers, and for drivers of regular commercial taxicab services as well. This issue will remain a priority for our Advocacy Committee and for GDUI.

Next Board Meeting, January 21. 2017! We hope you will attend our next scheduled board meeting on January 21. Our agenda is rapidly filling with important issues and information. The meeting will begin at 1:00 p.m. The number to call is: 712.432.0075, the passcode is 919245-Pound.

Since it’s almost time for the celebrated Waterford crystal ball to descend over Manhattan and summon the arrival of 2017, I am going to sign off now, with one more wish for a happy and peaceful 2017 for all of you and your pups, and our continuing gratitude for your friendship and support.


Penny Reeder, President

Guide Dog Users, Inc.

Deanna Noriega, First Vice President

Guide Dog Users, Inc.


Call us, toll-free, at 866.799.8436

Like and visit us on Facebook:

Follow us at Twitter: @GDUInc

Enjoy the GDUI Juno Report on ACB Radio Mainstream, at8:00 p.m., EST,

every Friday of every month, here:

Download or subscribe to the GDUI Juno Report pod cast here:

Or search for the GDUI Juno Report on ITunes.

Support GDUI when you use this link to shop at

To join the GDUI-Announce List, visit this link:

To subscribe to the GDUI Chat list, visit this link:

To subscribe to the (members only) GDUI Business list, visit this link: businesslist

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.

Call us, toll-free, at  866.799.8436

Like and visit us on Facebook:

Follow us at Twitter: @GDUInc

Enjoy the GDUI Juno Report on ACB Radio Mainstream, at8:00 p.m., EST, every Friday of every month, here:

Download or subscribe to the GDUI Juno Report pod cast here:

Or search for the GDUI Juno Report on ITunes.

Support GDUI when you use this link to shop at

To join the GDUI-Announce List, visit this link:

To subscribe to the GDUI Chat list, visit this link:

To subscribe to the (members only) GDUI Business list, visit this link:

 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.

GDUI Announcement, October 10, 2016

Dear GDUI Members and Friends,

This morning – Thanksgiving Day for all of our friends in Canada – we awoke to temperatures in the 40s and the sure knowledge that leaves will be changing colors and landing on the ground – and all of the sidewalks we walk along with our dogs – quite soon. Since I have the day off from work, I (reluctantly) put away summer’s linen clothing and then cheered myself up by baking a pumpkin pie! Willow has an autumn-is-finally-here spring in her step and an extra wiggle in her waggely tail!

GDUI Board of Directors Update:

Now for some news from GDUI: We held the first meeting of our newly—elected board on September 24. You can listen to the meeting recordings here:

Drop Box:

Send Space:

Telephone Play back: 712-432-1085

Access: 919245.

Since that meeting, there have been two changes in the membership on GDUI’s Board. Debbie Grubb has resigned as GDUI Affiliates’ Liaison. We thank Debbie for getting so many good things started in meetings with all of the GDUI affiliates over the past two years. We know that the shared educational programming she launched as Affiliates’ Liaison and our collective movement toward meeting shared advocacy goals and improved public outreach will continue and blossom – thanks to her excellent motivating leadership.

We are so pleased to welcome Pauline Lamontagne as GDUI’s new Affiliates’ Liaison. Pauline is the president of Guide Dog Users of Maine and has played an active role in affiliate meetings over the past two years. Welcome, Pauline, we look forward to the cooperative spirit you bring to the role of liaison and to your participation in discussions at GDUI board meetings and online.

Annie Chiappetta resigned from her position as director on GDUI’s board, and as the chair of the GDUI Disaster Assistance and Preparedness Program (DAPP). Annie was in the last year of her term of office. she had served on GDUI’s board during Becky Barnes-Davidson’s and our administration, and we thank her for her work on behalf of guide dog users.

We are delighted that Pat Hill has agreed to complete the remaining months in that term of office. Welcome, Pat. We look forward to taking advantage of all of your skills as a social worker and your long experience as an effective advocate and an excellent guide dog handler.

Will Burley is the new chairperson for the GDUI Disaster Assistance and Preparedness Program. He stepped in and stepped up just in time as Hurricane Matthew put lives and safety and property at risk for many guide dog users in the southeastern portion of the country. The storm was not nearly as devastating here in the United States as it was while it traveled north through the Caribbean, especially in Haiti and Cuba, but Matthew still managed to impact the lives of many who live in the South, leaving folks in North Carolina still coping with major flooding today, and causing property damage and the loss of at least five lives in its wake in the United States. Remember, if you are coping with a disaster-related emergency, GDUI can provide financial assistance to help you care for your working guide dog. Visit this page on our web site for details:

GDUI Web Site News

GDUI’s web site is finally comfortably settled with our new web hosting service, and our e-mail discussion lists are up and running! We owe a huge amount of gratitude to our web master, Steve Zelaya, as well as Will Burley, Dixie Sanderson, Lynn Merrill, and Michael Malver. They all spent many hours moving the web site, restoring its contents, and getting our GDUI e-mail discussion lists up and running.

We now have 3 separate discussion lists: GDUI Chat, GDUI Business, and GDUI Leadership. The GDUI Chat list is open to any individual interested in topics relating to guide dogs and life with guide dogs.

There are two ways to subscribe. The first way is to send an e-mail to:,

and Then to reply to the confirmation e-mail you will receive. Or, you can complete the form for subscription at the following link:

GDUI Business is open to any current GDUI members and is for the discussion of programs and policies pertinent to GDUI. For the e-mail Subscription address, send a message to:,

and then reply to the confirmation e-mail message that will arrive quickly in your e-mail In Box. Alternatively, you may subscribe via the internet at the following link:

Finally, the GDUI Leadership list is open to 3 appointed members from each GDUI affiliate:

To join this list please have a representative from your affiliate send the names and e-mail addresses of any individuals to be subscribed to the list moderator at the following address:

The e-mail list through which members receive these announcements is meant to be a one-way list. Instructions for subscribing to GDUI-Announce are included at the end of this announcement.

And now for some news about GDUI’s social networking presence – from the two members of our board who have the most experience with Facebook and Twitter, IOS, and 21st Century public relations and outreach, Minh Ha and Brianna Murray. Minh writes:

Dear GDUI Members,

Brianna and I are working with some very capable young members to spruce up the visual appearance and appeal of the GDUI Facebook page, found here: We intend to include pictures and stories from guide dog handlers going about their daily lives. If you have cool photos of you and your dog working, please do send them to me or Brianna with a little explanation attached so we can share them on Facebook.

Also, we are working on a little project to make a collage of guide dogs to put up as our cover photo. If you have pictures of your dog, by itself and in harness, that you want us to include in our welcoming collage, please send them to us as well. Bri and I are very excited about this new endeavor, and we hope that you will support us by sending us lots and lots of pictures and stories.


The GDUI Juno Report

is now being guided by a new production team, Marlaina Leiberg and Nolan Crabb. We are so grateful to Dan Kysor for getting the ACB Radio program off to such a great start. You set a standard for excellence and entertainment and sharing of information that we are proud to acknowledge and continue. Look for the GDUI Juno Report to come back to ACB Radio and ACB Radio Podcasts on the first Monday of November and December with programming currently under development by Nolan and Marlaina. In January, we expect to make some exciting announcements about new directions for the GDUI Juno Report and a new time slot as well. Thanks again to Dan, and welcome to Marlaina and Nolan! We know that our GDUI Juno Report will continue to thrive. We look forward to an expanded and worldwide audience and much excitement about our ACB Radio project in coming months.

Results from our Taxicab and Vehicles for Hire Survey

Have been collected and tabulated and preliminary analysis has revealed some interesting statistics. Nearly 600 of you completed our online survey. We are grateful and expect to make good use of the information we obtained when we advocate with governmental agencies at all levels for regulations that will improve our chances for procuring timely and affordable transportation that complies with the civil rights protections guaranteed to us – and too often ignored by taxicab and vehicles-for-hire drivers – under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Tony Stephens spoke to members of the Council of U. S. Dog Guide Schools late last week. He shared highlights from the survey with them and he is also writing an article to summarize the results for the ACB Braille Forum and for PawTracks. Here are just a few tidbits of what we learned:

Sixty-eight percent of the respondents have been denied service by a taxicab or vehicle for hire. From those who report service denials, 17 percent report service denials at least half the time they order taxicab or vehicle-for-hire transportation. Most of the people (82 percent) who reported service denials live in urban areas.

Eighty-two percent of people who reported experiencing service denials reported that they were not refused service until a vehicle arrived. Most of the time in service denial situations, drivers didn’t bother to give a reason for driving away and leaving a consumer stranded (69 percent). Sometimes drivers claimed allergies to or fear of dogs(60 percent). Also, approximately 43 percent of denials were attributed by drivers to religious objections to dogs. Approximately 24 percent of people who experienced service denials attributed the discrimination to lack of understanding or knowledge about the laws that are meant to protect us from discrimination.

I know you will find the data we were able to collect as fascinating as we have, and we are looking forward to joining ACB in making use of what we have learned to advocate for better public education and better enforcement of laws that we count on to protect our civil rights.

We have Disappointing News on another advocacy front, the “RegNeg” process

via which the U. S. Department of Transportation sought our input as service animal users who fly, in advance of that agency’s promulgation later this year or early in 2017 of a Notice of Proposed Rule Making for the Air Carrier Access Act. Negotiations between the group of people with disabilities who use service animals and emotional support animals, representatives from the airline industry, and representatives from the Department of Transportation have been ongoing since May. Tony Stephens represented the interests of GDUI and ACB as a member of the 25-person committee who are seeking to negotiate language for anticipated revised regulations, and I served on the Service Animal Working Group which met via conference call and served to inform the committee. There were weeks when it looked like we might be making some important breakthroughs that would guarantee our civil rights and improve our comfort and safety as guide dog users who travel by air. Other calls left me shaking my head and wondering how in the world the three, very disparate groups, would ever come together in agreement. Unfortunately, as the REGNeg committee prepares for their final meetings next Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, the Service Animal Working Group and the Airline Industry have reached an impasse that could not be overcome. Apparently, the airlines cannot bring themselves to shed their reliance on the so-called medical model of disability. They continued to insist that all air travelers who fly with service dogs must carry and present letters from medical personnel verifying their disabilities and presumably their need for assistance from a service animal. Service animal users refused to buy into this discriminatory and outdated mindset, and so negotiations that aimed to develop reasonable regulations for people with disabilities who fly with their service and guide dogs ceased. The next step will be the DOT’s release of a Notice of Proposed Rule Making. Chances are good that we will be calling on our members to step up and make ourselves heard regarding the regulations that the Department proposes.

Regarding still more news on the advocacy front, GDUI wishes to congratulate our friends in colleagues in California on the Governor’s signature of SB 1331, a law which will make it possible for graduates from schools who have not been certified by the California State Guide Dog Board to receive follow-up services from their trainers from those schools. GDUI is pleased that our combined advocacy efforts resulted in a practical approach that will permit Californians to count on receiving post-graduate services from the school personnel who know them – and their dogs – the best! Arriving at this resolution of a serious problem for many guide dog users who live in California involved a long-term advocacy process that included resolutions from GDUI and ACB, a letter-writing campaign from both organizations, and in-person advocacy from many of our members in California as well as members of CCB and GDUC. Congratulations to everyone involved!

Finally, if you’re in the mood for some stimulating online video entertainment – involving people who are blind succeeding at one of the most important tasks any of us ever take on –- parenting – check out the newest video release from ACB. The video features Eric and Rebecca Bridges and their sweet toddler son, Tyler, as they manage the tasks associated with caring for an active two-year-old as parents who are blind. Congratulations to Eric and Rebecca and Tyler, and to ACB for demonstrating so effectively that people who are blind can function – normally – and without vision – as they lovingly care for their son’s needs and demonstrate that blindness – though sometimes inconvenient – is not a barrier to living the kinds of lives all of us want to lead I hope you will share the video, which is professionally described so effectively by Dr. Joel Snyder, with friends and family and anyone you may know who wonders about our abilities to manage the demands of daily living or caring for the people in our lives who depend on us.

Find the video here:

Both Eric and Rebecca are guide dog users and members of GDUI. We want to thank you, both, and to celebrate with your family the joys of living with and caring for your sweet Tyler.

Enjoy the beauty of the Fall, and look for another announcement from GDUI soon again. As always, thank you for your friendship and support.


Penny Reeder, President

Guide Dog Users, Inc.

Deanna Noriega, First Vice President

Guide Dog Users, Inc.

GDUI Homepage:

Call us toll-free at 866.799.8436

Like and visit us on Facebook:

Follow us at Twitter: @GDUInc

Enjoy the GDUI Juno Report on ACB Radio Mainstream, at 11:00 p.m. EDT, the first Monday of every month, here:

Download or subscribe to the GDUI Juno Report pod cast here: http://gdr.xml

Or search for the GDUI Juno Report on ITunes.

Support GDUI when you use this link to shop at

To join the GDUI-Announce List, visit this link:

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.

GDUI Announcement, September 12, 2016

Dear GDUI Members and Friends,

We’re sure you’ve noticed! Our web site and chat and leadership lists have been down for much longer than we, or our new host, predicted.

Our webmaster, Steve, explains it this way: Our transfer to a new web host was successful. However, along with the transfer, several obstacles materialized. We are working to resolve these issues and hope that the web site will be up and running, and even better than before, sometime during the coming week. We appreciate all of your patience.

Remember, patience is said to be a virtue. (I know, I know… Waiting is not my best skill either! But we will be back online and members of our chat list will be chatting again just as soon as we can make it happen). Meanwhile, if you need to reach us, contact Sarah at our toll-free number: 866.799.8436.

A Top Dog Raffle! Would you like to own a pair of Disney one-day only passes for all four of the Orlando theme parks?  These tickets will be good for two years with very few blackout dates.

The Top Dog 2017 team is raffling off two pairs of these passes to assist with funding the Top Dog conference, scheduled for January 12-15, 2017.  With each ticket that you purchase, you will have two chances to win, one for each pair of the one-day only passes for all four of the theme parks.  The cost per ticket is $5.00 or you may purchase three for $10.00.  Please feel free to purchase as many tickets as you like to better your opportunity for winning.  The drawings for the two winners will take place on Thursday, December 1,2016.  This raffle is open to all.

To purchase your tickets, please contact the Top Dog 2017 registrar, Kathleen Trutschel via phone at (386) 307-8275 , or via e-mail at

Registration is Now Open for Top Dog 2017: contact Top Dog 2017 Registrar, Kathleen Trutschel at 386.257.9337 if you wish to register via telephone.

To register online, visit this link:

Top Dog Dates are Friday, January 13 through Sunday, January 15, 2017.

The Top Dog hotel is  The Holiday Inn And Suites across from Universal Orlando, 5905 Kirkman Road; Orlando, FL 32819. You may reach the hotel by telephone at
407.351.3333. or 800.216.0635.

Deadline for Top Dog 2017 registration is December 12, 2016.

The conference schedule, links and  phone numbers for hotel registrations, information about paratransit in Orlando, and all the details about Top Dog 2017 are available at the web site: Willow and I are looking forward to seeing you there!

Meetings and advocacy are Always ongoing for GDUI!

Despite the current status of our web site, GDUI board members and leaders continue to work hard on your behalf. Our committee chairs and co-chairs are all in place, Nolan is working on the Fall PawTracks, committees are holding their first meetings of the Fall, and everyone is gearing up for our first board meeting of the new administration, scheduled for September 24, at 1:00 p.m. Of course, all members are cordially invited to attend, via phone, at this number: 712.432.0075. The Participant Code is: 919245-pound. We haven’t met since our meeting in early July at the GDUI convention, and our agenda is growing. We hope you will attend.

Meanwhile, I continue to participate in the process which we hope will yield more sensible, less ambiguous regulations regarding the Air Carrier Access Act(ACAA),  to make all people with disabilities who fly – including those of us who fly with our guide and service animals – safer and more comfortable while addressing many ongoing concerns of the air carriers. Negotiations have been ongoing since May with conference calls involving the Service Animals Working Group, at which I represent GDUI, scheduled at least twice a month, and monthly meetings of the full committee, at which Tony Stephens represents ACB and GDUI, occurring for several days each month. I cannot predict the outcome of these negotiations, but I can assure you that GDUI is taking your needs and our collective experiences on planes and in airports very seriously as we participate in fact finding and proposing solutions to the problems we have all experienced and advocate for changes that make sense on your behalf.

The TSA’s 14th Annual Coalition Conference is coming right up on September 20. I want to thank GDUI member, Cindy Labon, who will be representing GDUI at the upcoming meeting. We are grateful to Cindy for offering to attend, and we know that she will serve the interests of GDUI members well.

Former GDUI affiliate, MAGDU, to Gain a New Focus – and a New Name! Maryland-Area Guide Dog Users, which has been inactive since 2010, is scheduled to cease its formal existence as a not-for-profit organization representing guide dog users in Maryland within the next several months, but MAGDU’s interim board, ably presided over by Charlie Crawford, met recently and voted to form a new GDUI affiliate, which will represent Maryland, the District of Columbia, and Virginia guide dog users. The new affiliate will call itself CAGDU, which stands for Capital Area Guide Dog Users. If you were a member of MAGDU, expect to receive e-mail concerning the new organization, and if you would like to join, please get in touch with Charlie. Just leave a message at GDUI’s toll-free number, 866.799.8436, and Sarah will connect you with Charlie an CAGDU.

Speaking of GDUI affiliates, the next GDUI Affiliates’ teleconference meeting is coming right up. Here’s how GDUI Affiliates’ Liaison, Debbie Grubb, describes the meeting:

“It is now time for us to meet via teleconference in order to set the agenda toward the realization of our mission and goals for the next year. Toward that end, I have invited Charlie Crawford, Chair of the GDUI Advocacy and Legislative Committee and any members of that committee who wish to join us, to participate in a discussion with us regarding our state and local plans in terms of how this committee might assist us to carry them out. Working with us was one of the major agenda items of the GDUI Advocacy and Legislative Committee and it is one that they enthusiastically adopted.

Please place September 22 at 9:00 PM EST on your calendar.  As the time
approaches, I will provide the call in information in a meeting reminder

Congratulations to GDUI Board member, Annie Chiappetta on the publication of her book, called Upwelling. For more information and to purchase Annie’s book, visit this link:

Each year, it’s challenging to write these announcements for September – there’s such a range of emotions rising and all mixed up with one another for each of us. On the one hand, fall is definitely in the air – even though our temperatures were in the high 90s just a day or so ago. Children are catching school buses, butternut squash and brussels sprouts compete with tomatoes and sweet corn for space at the farmers’ markets, the end of the budgetary year is looming for many, meetings and conferences and events pick up in frequency – and this year we have the added drama of the coming elections in November. At the same time, we continue to be concerned about all those who lost everything in Baton Rouge, LA, and there’s news of more hurricanes heading toward the U.S. – from both directions! If you have been affected by a recent natural disaster, please remember that GDUI has a fund to help with disaster-related expenses for your guide dog. The new Chairperson for the GDUI Disaster Assistance and Preparedness Program is Annie Chiappetta. While we’re waiting for our web site to go live once again, you can reach her via Sarah at our toll-free number, 866.799.8436.

I am writing this as September 11, 2016 comes to a close. As this was the fifteenth anniversary of the catastrophes of September 11, 2001, the remembrances have been particularly poignant and sad. So much loss for so many. If you were one who lost a loved one on that terrible day, please know that we have not forgotten either. All of us, no matter how close or how far removed we were from the Twin Towers and the Pentagon and Shanksville, PA,– lost much that day fifteen years ago. Life was never the same again.

Yet, we continue, memorializing tragic anniversaries year after year, remembering our losses, and longing for the sense of well being and security that all but disappeared fifteen years ago. May we all find comfort and renewed strength within the communities that connect us one to another, and renew our commitment to one another and the ties that reaffirm our humanity and strengthen our hope and desire for peace.


Penny Reeder, President

Guide Dog Users, Inc.

Deanna Noriega, First Vice President

Guide Dog Users, Inc.

Call us, toll-free, at  866.799.8436

Like and visit us on Facebook:

Follow us at Twitter: @GDUInc

Enjoy the GDUI Juno Report on ACB Radio Mainstream, at 11:00 p.m. EDT, the first Monday of every month, here:

Download or subscribe to the GDUI Juno Report pod cast here: http://gdr.xml

Or search for the GDUI Juno Report on ITunes.

Support GDUI when you use this link to shop at

To join the GDUI-Announce List, visit this link:

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.

GDUI Announcement, August 18, 2016

Dear GDUI Members and Friends,

Turn to the GDUI Disaster Assistance and Preparedness Fund for help with disaster-related expenses for your guide dog:

August! What a month of extremes this has been! Some intriguing, some not unexpected, others bringing concern about friends and colleagues and looking for ways to help! Day after day of relentless heat which has suffocated much of the East Coast and Mid-West in unyielding hundred-degree-plus temperatures and astonishing humidity was not unexpected – for August – but still hard on us and hard on our dogs!

Fortunately, here in the Mid-Atlantic, the worst of the heat wave seems to be dissipating, and we’re merely coping with weather that’s typically hot and bothersome in August. But, the fires in drought-suffering California are a frightening reality of this hotter-than-ever-in-history summer, and the flooding in Louisiana – the worst since Superstorm Sandy – are causing so much suffering for so many people who never even considered their homes in danger of
flooding. Please know that if you’re coping with the aftermath of fire or flood – or disaster of any kind – we care, we are sending prayers and looking for ways to help. If you’re a guide dog user, remember that the GDUI DAPP Fund is here for you. Call our toll-free number, 866.799.8436, to get in touch with GDUI’s Office Manager, Sarah Calhoun, or Ken Metz, Chairperson of the DAPP Committee, for financial assistance with disaster-related expenses for your guide dog. Please
tell guide dog users whom you may know who live in California’s
fire-emergency vicinity, or so many Louisiana parishes now coping with flood damage, about our fund, and remember, too, that anyone can make a financial contribution to that fund. Disasters can affect any among us. It’s good to know that there are ways to help.

Heads Up: The ACB/CUSDGS/GDUI Taxicab Survey closes tomorrow! If you’re a guide dog user and you’ve ever been refused transportation by a taxicab or vehicle-for-hire (such as Uber or LYFT) driver, GDUI and ACB need your help! The American Council of the Blind has partnered with the Council of U.S. Dog Guide Schools (CUSDGS) and Guide Dog Users, Inc. to develop a survey to collect data from guide dog users around the country on this infuriating transportation issue. Results will be shared with the courts, legislators, the U.S. Department of Justice, the media and interested respondents to this survey. We encourage all U.S. guide dog users to fill out the survey. The more information we can gather, the more reliable our data will be, which will allow us to present a more complete and accurate picture of the current state of affairs to relevant agencies, companies and organizations. The survey will close at 11:59 PM Eastern
on Friday, August 19th 2016. To take the survey, go to Remember, answer every
question. The survey will stall if you leave out any of the questions, and you won’t be able to submit your data. Thank you for completing the survey, and for telling other guide dog users about it. is moving to a new host! We are looking forward to the expanded space and better connectivity with members that our move to Host Gator will achieve. Our webmaster, Steve Zelaya, along with Will Burley and Dixie Sanderson will be taking care of all of the details over this coming week end. So, expect our GDUI e-mail discussion lists to be unavailable beginning on Friday, August 19, until Close of Business on Tuesday, August 23. We are grateful to Steve and Will and Dixie for doing all the hard work that will allow us to make the change.

We hope you are enjoying the recordings of our GDUI 2016 convention which are available here:
We suggest that you use these last weeks of summer to imagine yourselves in the lovely summer climate of Minneapolis; catching up with friends and meeting new people and guide dogs; grabbing a long, cold drink; and taking advantage of the excellent convention recordings prepared for us by ACB Radio. Unfortunately we can’t provide one of Carla’s excellent canine massages for your dog or re-create the friendly atmosphere of the GDUI convention suite, but our convention recordings will be almost as good as being there in person, and whet your appetite for next summer’s convention in Reno!

If you were able to be with us at convention in Minneapolis, the GDUI Convention Program Committee is interested in hearing from you. Please tell us what you liked, what was missing, and how we might make the experience even better next summer! Send e-mail about your convention experiences to: Thank you.

We will be back in touch after Labor Day. Until then, take care of yourselves and your guide dogs and one another. Thank you for your friendship and support.

Penny Reeder, President
Guide Dog Users, Inc.

Deanna Noriega, First Vice President
Guide Dog Users, Inc.

Call us, toll-free, at 866.799.8436
Like and visit us on Facebook:
Follow us at Twitter: @GDUInc
Enjoy the GDUI Juno Report on ACB Radio Mainstream, at 11:00 p.m. EDT, the first Monday of every month, here:

Download or subscribe to the GDUI Juno Report pod cast here: http://gdr.xml

Or search for the GDUI Juno Report on ITunes.

Support GDUI when you use this link to shop at

To join the GDUI-Announce List, visit this link:

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.

UBER Settlement Agreement Pending: All Guide Dog Users, Please Read and Share


This notice is to inform you about the proposed settlement that would resolve the class action lawsuit National Federation of the Blind of California, et al. v. Uber Technologies, Inc., Case No. 3:14-cv-4086 (N.D. Cal.). The lawsuit alleges that Uber Technologies, Inc. and its subsidiary and affiliate entities (collectively, “Uber”), violated the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 12101, et seq., by failing to take the necessary steps to ensure that transportation providers using the Uber mobile software application (“Drivers”) do not discriminate against blind or visually disabled riders who travel with service animals (“Riders”). Uber denies all liability in the case and asserts that its current practices do not violate applicable federal, state, and local law. The settlement, which must be approved by the Court, would resolve the lawsuit.

Under the settlement, Uber agrees to take additional steps to inform Drivers of their obligations to transport all Riders. Uber will require that new and existing Drivers expressly confirm that they understand and agree to these obligations, through a pop-up interactive questionnaire in the Driver mobile software application and changes to the technology services agreement. In addition, Uber will send quarterly email reminders to Drivers.

Uber will also adopt a new enforcement practice. If, following a complaint from a Rider, Uber determines that a driver knowingly refused to transport a Rider because the Rider was traveling with a service animal, Uber will terminate that Driver’s contract and permanently remove the Driver from the Driver platform. In addition, if Uber receives plausible complaints on more than one occasion that a Driver denied service to a Rider because the Rider was traveling with a service animal, Uber will terminate the Driver’s contract and the Driver will be permanently removed from the Driver platform. This second basis for contract termination will apply where Uber was unable to determine whether the first denial was a knowing violation.

Under the settlement, Uber will also enhance its response system for complaints that a Driver denied service to a Rider because the Rider was traveling with a service animal, and will provide greater transparency to Riders regarding what action has been taken in response to a complaint about a Driver. Uber will also limit the circumstances in which a Rider can be charged for cleaning issues related to his or her service animal.

Additionally, Uber will record each allegation that a Driver is alleged to have denied service to a Rider, or otherwise discriminated against a Rider, because the Rider was traveling with a service animal, and will report aggregated data to Class Counsel. The National Federation of the Blind and its California affiliate will administer a testing program, through which blind individuals request and take trips to evaluate the effectiveness of the settlement. A third-party individual will monitor Uber’s compliance with the settlement as well.

The settlement also provides that the three named individual plaintiffs who served as class representatives will receive payments of $15,000 each in return for their release of their individual damage claims. In addition, the National Federation of the Blind will receive three annual payments of $75,000 during the term of the settlement, and a fourth payment of $75,000 if the term of the settlement is extended. These payments are intended to support the Federation’s testing program.

Finally, Disability Rights Advocates, Rosen, Bien, Galvan & Grunfeld LLP, and TRE Legal Practice (collectively, “Class Counsel”), the attorneys who represent the class, will have the right to seek attorneys’ fees and costs for their work on the case. Class Counsel will file a motion asking the Court to award reasonable fees and costs for work on the merits phase of this case. The Court must approve the amount awarded even if the parties reach an agreement on the amount. This motion for fees and costs will be available on on September 21, 2016. Class Counsel will also be entitled to seek reasonable fees and costs for their future work monitoring compliance with the settlement and enforcing the agreement. Uber retains the right to contest the amount of any attorneys’ fees requested by Class Counsel.

All blind or visually disabled individuals nationwide who travel with the assistance of service animals and who have used, attempted to use, or been deterred from attempting to use transportation arranged through the Uber rider app.

All class members will be bound by the terms of the settlement relating to access to transportation services arranged using the Uber app for blind or visually disabled persons who use service animals, if the settlement agreement is approved by the Court. If the settlement is approved, all class members will release and forever discharge all claims for injunctive relief under all federal, state, and local laws related to alleged discrimination by Uber against blind or visually disabled persons who use service animals that arose before the Settlement Agreement becomes effective. Class members, other than the named plaintiffs in the lawsuit, are not releasing any claims for monetary damages.

You can ask the Court to deny approval of this settlement by filing an objection with the Court. You cannot ask the Court to order a different settlement; the Court can only approve or deny this proposed settlement. If the Court denies approval, any settlement changes necessary for approval may not be made, and the lawsuit may continue. If this is what you want to happen, you must object.
If you wish to object to the proposed settlement you must object to the proposed settlement in writing. You may also appear at the fairness hearing for final approval of the settlement, either in person or through your own attorney. But if you wish to appear and present your objection orally at the fairness hearing, you must first submit a written objection and in your written objection you must indicate your intention to appear and be heard at the fairness hearing. If you appear through your own attorney, you are responsible for paying that attorney. All written objections and supporting papers must (a) clearly identify the case name and number, National Federation of the Blind of California, et al. v. Uber Technologies, Inc., et al., Case No. 3:14-cv-4086 (N.D. Cal.), (b) be submitted to the Court either by mailing them to the Clerk of the Court for the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, 280 South 1st Street, Room 2112, San Jose, CA 95113, or by filing them in person at any location of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, and (c) be received on or before October 13, 2016.

This notice summarizes the proposed settlement. For the precise terms and conditions of the settlement, please see the settlement agreement available at, contact Class Counsel using the information below, access the Court docket in this case through the Court’s Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) system at, or visit the office of the Clerk of the Court for the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, 280 South 1st Street, Room 2112, San Jose, CA 95113, between 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding Court holidays.
To obtain a copy of this notice in alternate accessible formats, contact Class Counsel using the information below.

Please do not contact the Court, the Court clerk’s office, or Defense Counsel with questions about this settlement. Any questions must be directed to Class Counsel at the numbers and addresses below.

Class Counsel:

Laurence Paradis
Disability Rights Advocates
2001 Center Street, Fourth Floor
Berkeley, CA 94704
(510) 665-8644

Timothy Elder, Esq.
TRE Legal Practice
4226 Castanos Street
Fremont, California 94536
(410) 415-3493

Michael Bien
Rosen Bien Galvan & Grunfeld LLP
50 Fremont Street, 19th Floor
San Francisco, California 94105-2235
(415) 433-6830

GDUI Announcement, August 2, 2016

Dear GDUI Members and Friends, Welcome to the Dog Days of Summer! And, to the first months of our new GDUI administration. I received an e-mail message today from Jane Woods, one of our wonderful Louisville Ladies. I had written to Jane, asking if she and Connie Smith had recovered after so many days of such hard work selling products and answering questions and generally being helpful to anyone and everyone who visited our GDUI Suite. Jane speculated that it probably took me a whole month to recover my energy, and she wasn’t far from wrong!

Our convention in the lovely city of Minneapolis was so successful. Willow and I enjoyed meeting many of you there, and wasn’t our program fabulous? Thanks again to Lillian Scaife, and Connie Jacomini, the person who made our sales the most successful products sales enterprise there has ever been in the history of our having a GDUI Convention Suite! And to Sarah Calhoun and Jeff, who sold summer drawing tickets and ran the mike and did anything that needed to be done! It was wonderful to have Maria and Frisco there, and Vickie Curley, and Minh and Brianna and Deanna Noriega and Caitlin! I know that if you and your guide dog were lucky enough to spend some time with Carla Campbell who was providing canine massage in our suite and who also conducted a very successful program session, teaching attendees how to bring some of those massage skills home with them, your convention experiences were especially revitalizing. We have so many people to thank, including members like Ginger Kutsch, Joel Isaac, Audrey Gunther, and Lynn Merrill and others, who worked on the convention program committee from behind the scenes; the many guide dog trainers who gave directions, answered questions, walked members and their dogs to and from the breakfast club, helped with pick-up and clean-up, and were supportive in every possible way; all of our friends and members who purchased summer drawing tickets and donated prizes and items for sale to the drawing and our silent auction; and all of the presenters who educated us and entertained us and made our convention experiences so worthwhile. Putting on a convention is no small feat. It’s obvious that Lillian and the people who work so hard with her on the GDUI Convention Program Committee know what they’re doing, and we are grateful!

Our convention fund-raisers were successful, and we thank all of you who purchased summer drawing tickets, took a chance on bringing Viking home with you, and bid on our fabulous assortment of summer auction items. We appreciate all of your support. Beautiful hand-made and harnessed GSD Viking recently arrived in lovely southwest Missouri, where he’s happily keeping Melita Waters and her more active German Shepherd Lizzie company in style. The Viking raffle brought in$355. The summer auction, which raises funds to help GDUI pay for all those convention expenses, brought in $2,547.00. And, the Fund-Raising Committee’s Summer Drawing raised$1,870. The goal for the summer drawing was to fund one or more first-timers to attend GDUI’s convention next summer in Reno. The GDUI Board and members of the Fund-Raising Committee will be exploring ways to meet that goal and spend this welcomed resource fairly and efficiently.

Recordings of our convention program will become available soon on our web site, We are so pleased to be able to make these excellent recordings available to all of our members, including those of you who couldn’t attend our convention. ACB’s board authorized ACB Radio to record our convention program on the 2nd of July, and Larry Turnbull and his staff worked very hard creating excellent recordings of many of our program segments. (We did not record hands-on sessions, believing that listening without an ability to handle items being demonstrated or audio description might be too confusing.) Larry and his staff received authorization to record GDUI’s convention program at the very last minute. We are so grateful and so awe-struck by their dedication and their skills and their willingness to provide terrific recordings, as well as on-site assistance with sound quality and assistive listening devices, even without much prior planning.

Watch our web site for the arrival of our GDUI Convention Recordings, and start saving your pennies for 2017 in Reno, NV.

The GDUI/ACB/CUSDGS Taxicab Survey is still online. If you haven’t completed the survey yet, please do, and encourage your friends who are guide dog users to do so as well. One tip for filling out the survey is to be sure to answer every single question. If you skip a question, the survey stalls and you can’t go forward or submit the completed survey. Even if your answer to a question like, “Do you allow your dog to ride on the seat in a taxicab,” is no, and the next question is a follow-up that asks about the circumstances under which you might allow your dog to sit on the car seat, it’s important for you to read all the choices available and to choose the one that says something like, “Not applicable, I never allow my dog to sit on the taxicab seat.”

The more guide dog users who complete the survey, the more comprehensive will be the data we collect, and the better (and bigger!) our data, the more attention agencies like the U. S. Department of Justice and the U. S. Department of Transportation are likely to pay to us when we advocate for stronger regulations to protect our civil right to ride in publicly available transportation vehicles just like other members of the public who do not have disabilities. You don’t have to be a GDUI member to add to our data, and I hope you will encourage everyone you know who has been frustrated trying to catch a cab or ride in a Uber or a LYFT vehicle to complete our survey. Find the survey here:

Speaking of Uber, the terms of the proposed settlement agreement between the National Federation of the Blind of California and Uber were announced on August 1.A summary of that settlement agreement, which, if no one objects, should go into effect in December 2016 will be on our web site soon. You can also listen to the recording of the GDUI Convention program segment in which Julia Marks, of Disability Rights Advocates, discusses her participation in the law suit and proposed settlement agreement and answers specific questions regarding the settlement and its probable impact on access to Uber transportation for all of us who use guide dogs and access Uber with their smart phone app. You can find more information about the case and the settlement here:

Top Dog is on the horizon! Are you thinking that July of 2017 is just too long to wait for more convention fun? Well, be of good cheer because Top Dog 2017 is scheduled to take place in sunny Orlando, FL, from Thursday, January 12 through Sunday, January 15, 2017! The event hotel will be The Holiday Inn And Suites, located across from Universal Orlando. The cost per standard room is $89.00 per night plus applicable tax. Prices for other hotel accommodation options will be available in the registration announcement. The pricing will be in effect for three days before and after Top Dog for your vacation pleasure.

Registration will be available online in late August or early September, at which time conference planners will provide complete descriptions of Top Dog events as well as specific registration instructions. Already being planned are seminars on airline safety and providing CPR for your dog. And, if you’ve attended a Top Dog conference in the past, you’re already looking forward to a guide dog schools update, a fabulous exhibits hall, and the always moving Blessing of the Guide Dogs.

Can’t wait? You can call the hotel right now to book your rooms. In order to reserve a room, call (800) 216-0635 and say that you are registering for Top Dog 2017. Be sure to provide the event code which is “Top.” You may also register online at where you will use the code “top” as well.

The cost per standard room is $89.00 per night plus applicable tax.

The cost for a one bedroom suite is $149.00 plus applicable tax and the cost of a two bedroom suite is $189.00 plus applicable tax. The pricing will be in effect for three days before and after Top Dog for your vacation pleasure.

Are you planning a Stay-cation this summer? Since you’ll probably be staying inside in the air conditioning during these next few end-of-summer scorching-hot days, how about learning some new skills that will serve you in good stead and allow you to improve your assistive technology abilities for the upcoming school year or work-related projects? The American Foundation for the Blind may have just the summer learning opportunity you’ve been waiting for – and it’s free of charge via their web site. AFB offers a set of free tutorials called “Learn NVDA,” for learning the free screen reader:

The tutorials walk you through acquiring the open source free screen reader, installing it, and using it to accomplish what you need to do with your computer, including word processing, e-mail, and using the internet.

We suggest stocking up on a supply of tasty ice cubes, icy-cold baby carrots, and occasional Frostee Paws to keep your dogs busy inside while you’re learning a new skill and they’re relishing these August days named in their honor!

The August GDUI Juno Report aired on ACB Radio last night. Remember, you can subscribe to the GDUI Juno Report as a podcast on ITunes, and listen wherever and whenever you choose. Thanks to Dan Kysor and Ken Metz who spent quite a lot of time exploring the history of and providing their own unique perspective concerning the California State Guide Dog Board and controversies surrounding that board’s recent history, as well as legislation pending in California’s legislature which may portend changes in the regulatory environment for guide dog users in the state of California.

As we ease into getting to know our new First Vice President and board members better and evaluating which committee assignments are best suited for which GDUI members and leaders, we wish all of you a pleasant August, with lots of juicy tomatoes and sweet corn, maybe some ocean breezes, pleasant walks with your guides, and perhaps some recreational reading. Until next time, thank you for your friendship and support.


Penny Reeder, President
Guide Dog Users, Inc.

Deanna Noriega, First Vice President
Guide Dog Users, Inc.


Call us, toll-free, at 866.799.8436
Like and visit us on Facebook:
Follow us at Twitter: @GDUInc
Enjoy the GDUI Juno Report on ACB Radio Mainstream, at 11:00 p.m. EDT, the first Monday of every month, here:
Download or subscribe to the GDUI Juno Report pod cast here: http://gdr.xml or search for the GDUI Juno Report on ITunes.
Support GDUI when you use this link to shop at
To join the GDUI-Announce List, visit this link:

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.

ACB Reaches Agreement with DC Taxi Companies

American Council of the Blind Reaches Agreement with DC Taxi Companies to Enhance Accessibility of Street-Hail Service for Blind Individuals with Service Dogs


Matthew Handley, Director of Litigation, Washington Lawyers’ Committee; 202-319-1000

Eric Bridges, Executive Director, American Council of the Blind; 202-467-5081

Matthew MacLean, Partner, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP,; 202-663-8183

WASHINGTON, DC (June 21, 2016) – Four DC taxi companies: Yellow Cab Company of DC, Inc., Grand Cab Company, Elite Cab Association, and Pleasant Taxi Club LLC have reached an agreement with the American Council of the Blind (“ACB”), a civil rights advocacy organization for the blind, to carry out an Accessibility Initiative to ensure that blind and visually-impaired individuals accompanied by service animals have full and equal access to taxi services in the District of Columbia, including street-hailed taxicab services. Together, these four companies represent more than one-fifth of the taxicabs in DC.

The Accessibility Initiative, pioneered by these four companies, is available for any DC taxicab company or driver wishing to voluntarily promote equal access for a contribution of only $15 per cab. As part of this Accessibility Initiative, the taxi companies have agreed to collaborate with ACB and contribute to a testing fund overseen and administered by ACB. ACB will monitor learning, education effectiveness, and compliance by associated drivers with their legal obligations to provide street-hail taxicab services in DC. Contributions to the Accessibility Initiative will be used to fund this monitoring and a third-party testing program to ensure that blind and visually-impaired individuals with service animals are successfully able to hail taxis on DC streets. Those contributing to this testing fund and agreeing to the Accessibility Initiative will be notified of any complaints and given feedback on their drivers’ performance. The Accessibility Initiative also protects signatory drivers and taxicab companies with a commitment to resolve complaints against participating taxicabs without formal litigation.

As part of their mutual goal of promoting equal access to taxicab services in DC, all four companies have agreed to develop and implement a model Non-Discrimination Policy that accompanies the Accessibility Initiative. The Accessibility Initiative requires each signatory to incorporate such a policy into its association licensing agreements with its drivers when signing new drivers or renewing agreements, and to distribute the policy to all existing drivers. The Non-Discrimination Policy will make it clear that a driver may not assume that an animal accompanying a passenger is not a service animal. All drivers who do not have a valid medical exemption will be required to always stop to provide service to a passenger accompanied by a dog and hailing a taxi, or inquire whether the dog is a service animal where not obvious. The Non-Discrimination Policy also specifies that the taxicab company will promptly investigate any complaints it receives regarding any discriminatory conduct by its associated drivers, and discipline any associated driver who has proven to have engaged in a violation of the policy. Such discipline will include training of the driver on the Non-Discrimination Policy, suspension, reporting the driver to the DC Taxicab Commission (“DCTC”), and terminating the driver’s association with the company.

Additionally, in a joint letter, Grand Cab, Yellow Cab, Elite Cab, and Pleasant Taxi recommended needed changes to DCTC policies and rules to promote and safely provide street-hail taxi services in DC to the visually-impaired. DCTC will now provide disability sensitivity training to new and renewing licensed taxicab vehicle operators and has implemented a disability sensitivity training module.

Eric Bridges, Executive Director of the ACB, stated: “We are encouraged that these four taxi companies are willing to work with us to promote equal access to taxicab services in the District of Columbia. We hope that other cab companies in the District will join this Accessibility Initiative and contribute to the testing fund in order to become the gold standard for taxi service in DC, including street-hailed taxis.”

Matthew Handley, Director of Litigation at the Washington Lawyers’ Committee, said: “Public transportation, including taxi services, should be available and accessible to everyone, including persons with disabilities who use service dogs. We are pleased that we were able to come together to implement this Accessibility Initiative in the District of Columbia. We are also pleased with the jointly recommended changes to the Taxi Commission’s policies and regulations, which will apply to all DC taxicab companies and set the standard for equal access.”

Matthew MacLean, Partner at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP, added: “Launching the Accessibility Initiative through the American Council of the Blind is a great accomplishment. This program has the tools to create meaningful change in the accessibility policies of taxicab providers in DC, and is an opportunity for companies to engage in a constructive program to ensure the rights of taxi passengers relying on service animals are understood and respected.”

ABOUT THE WASHINGTON LAWYERS’ COMMITTEE: Since 1968, the Washington Lawyers’ Committee has represented individuals and groups seeking to vindicate their civil rights, handling thousands of civil rights cases in employment, housing, public accommodations, and other aspects of urban life. The Committee represents people with claims of discrimination based on race, gender, national origin, disability, age, religion, sexual orientation, and veteran’s status. The Committee’s litigation efforts have become nationally known for landmark court victories, record judgments, and precedent-setting consent decrees. For more information, contact: Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs, 11 Dupont Circle, NW, Suite 400, Washington, DC 20036; phone (202) 319-1000; fax (202) 319-1010; or

ABOUT AMERICAN COUNCIL OF THE BLIND: The American Council of the Blind is the largest consumer-based organization of blind and visually impaired Americans advocating for the rights of blind Americans. Comprised of more than 70 affiliates across the United States, the organization is dedicated to making it possible for blind and visually impaired Americans to participate fully in all aspects of American society. For more information, visit; write to American Council of the Blind, 1703 N Beauregard Street, Suite 420, Alexandria, VA 22311; phone (202) 467-5081; or fax (703) 465-5085.

ABOUT PILLSBURY: Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP is a leading international law firm with offices around the world and a particular focus on the energy & natural resources, financial services, real estate & construction, and technology sectors. Recognized by Financial Times as one of the most innovative law firms, Pillsbury and its lawyers are highly regarded for their forward-thinking approach, their enthusiasm for collaborating across disciplines and their unsurpassed commercial awareness. For more information, visit

To read this press release on our website, please visit:

GDUI Responds to the Tragic Violence and Loss of Life in Orlando, June 12, 2016

Dear GDUI Members and Friends,

We in GDUI want to share our profound sadness, and shock and sympathy with all of our members and friends in the Orlando, FL and LGBT communities, especially our brothers and sisters in the ACB BPI affiliate. Your losses are our losses, your sadness, is our sadness as well. We are all one in grief, and in love for one another.

Penny Reeder, President
Guide Dog Users, Inc.

GDUI Announcement, May 19, 2016

Dear GDUI Members and Friends,

Election Days Are Drawing Near! May 21 is the opening date! You may begin voting at 12:00, Midnight on May 21, and the ballot will continue to be available, both online and via your telephone, until the following Sunday, May 29, at 11:59 p.m., Eastern Daylight Time (That’s 8:59 p.m. if you live on the West Coast)!)

Your personal voter identification number will arrive in your e-mail in-box, or, if you don’t have access to e-mail, via the U. S. postal Service on a post card, within the next day or two.

If you have any problems at all with casting your ballot, or any questions, refer to the VoteNow! toll-free number which will be included in the e-mail or post card from the company, or contact Dixie Sanderson, Nominating Committee Chairperson, via the GDUI toll-free number, 866.799.8436, or via e-mail at this address

Our GDUI Nominating Committee hosted two informative Candidates’ Forums. We hope you were able to attend one or both, and all of us who are candidates for office want to thank the Nominating Committee, and especially Debbie Grub and Nolan Crabb, who served as moderators during successive forums, and Jane Sheehan and Annie Chiappetta, who kept time. Thanks to all of you who submitted questions, as well. And, to all of you who attended.

The recording of the second forum is still available via the following options:


Send Space:

Play back number: 712.432.1085, Access Code: 919245-Pound.

Thank you to Sarah Calhoun for making the recording available so quickly.

GDUI Board Meeting, May 21!
A few hours after our ballot becomes available, the GDUI board will meet, beginning at 1:00 p.m.,  for our scheduled meeting. The phone number, as always, is 712.432.0075, and the Access Code is: 919245-Pound. We welcome your attendance, and we hope you will feel free, at the end of the meeting, and while the recording is still happening to ask us questions, share your opinions and suggestions, and participate as a welcomed guest.

Help GDUI Honor the People Who Make a Positive Difference in the Lives of Guide Dog Handlers!

Guide Dog Users, Inc. has a long tradition of honoring the people who have assisted us as guide dog handlers and improved our communities in positive ways.  Again this year, we are seeking candidates for our Ethel Bender and Moffitt-Gleitz awards.  In addition, we wish to honor the writers who make our quarterly magazine, PawTracks, such an informative and entertaining publication.

To that end, we encourage you to think about all the PawTracks
contributors whose stories, articles, and poems have informed and
entertained you since the magazine converted from a purely audio
format to a digital publication that can be read by any member of
GDUI.  If an article that appeared over the past two years moved you
or made you smile or taught you something new about yourself or your dog or your experience as a person who is blind, we hope you will nominate that writer for the PawTracks Excellence in Writing Award. Past winners of the PawTracks writing excellence award include Janet Ingber and Rebecca Kragnes.

The Ethel Bender award honors a sighted person who has made a
significant contribution to the guide dog community.  Past winners
include Ted Zubrycki, Lukas Frank  and Michael Lilly.

The Moffitt-Gleitz Award honors a person who is blind who has improved the lives of guide dog users. Past winners include Jane Sheehan and Audrey Gunter.

Awards will be presented at the GDUI annual luncheon on Wednesday, July 6 in Minneapolis.

All nominations must be submitted in writing.  E-mailed submissions
should be sent to Vickie Curley, Awards Committee Chair at with the words “GDUI AWARD Nomination” in your subject line.

No access to e-mail?  Nomination submissions may be sent in Braille or print to Vickie Curley at:
16 Green Farm Ln.
Stockton, NJ  08559.

All nominations must be received no later than 9 a.m. on June 6, 2016. Thank you for helping us honor the people who make life for guide dog teams better every day!

A Note from Former Candidate, Caitlin Mongillo
A few weeks ago, Caitlin made the difficult decision to resign as a candidate for an open seat on our board of directors, and she shared the following note of explanation with the GDUI Nominating Committee. I have to tell you, we love Caitlin, and we were disappointed that she felt she could no longer run for a seat on the board, but we understand why. Caitlin has been a tireless worker for GDUI. She has taken on many of the writing responsibilities of the Publications Committee, and, like many of the other volunteers spending time with Lillian Scaife on the Convention Program Committee,  she has nearly a second full-time job planning events and making preparations for the upcoming GDUI convention! Even though her time will be more limited than she had anticipated, I know we will continue to be able to count on Caitlin’s skills and enthusiasm for GDUI and all things guide dog related, and we are grateful. Here is Caitlin’s note to our Nominating Committee:

Dear GDUI Nominating Committee:
I hope this message finds you well. First off, please allow me to thank you for the privilege of having my bid to run as a board member accepted. I truly appreciate GDUI’s universal elections procedure, and I was privileged to yet again gain your support for my candidacy.

I’m reaching out today because I am withdrawing from the race. I have been recently afforded an opportunity in my professional life that I cannot pass up. It will keep me fairly busy during the summer months, and it comes on top of my already somewhat chaotic work schedule. There are three terrific candidates running for board positions in Minh, Brianna, and Charlie. It would be unfair of me to continue to run and potentially deny them a position when I know my free time will be scant in the third quarter of the year. Therefore, I would ask that my name no longer be considered for this position. Brianna, Charlie and Minh will serve with confidence, loyalty, and compassion. I am excited to vote for them in a few weeks time.

Thank you for your understanding in this matter and for running such a well organized election.
With sincere thanks,
Caitlin Mongillo

Have you tuned into our GDUI Juno Report on ACB Radio yet? If you haven’t yet been able to check out Dan Kysor’s terrific half-hour show that centers on GDUI, you will be pleased to learn that the GDUI Juno Report is now a pod cast, online, and even via the ACBLink app on your Iphone or the podcatching application on your Victor Reader Stream, for your any-time listening pleasure! Find the GDUI Juno Report podcast here:

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announces the availability of draft Advisory Circular, (AC) 150/5360-14A, Access to Airports by Individuals with Disabilities, for public review. This advisory circular  will provide guidance and recommendations for ensuring access to airports by individuals with disabilities. The draft AC substantially revises and incorporates regulatory updates and recommendations for Service Animal Relief Areas (SARA) at airports. The draft AC was rewritten to improve readability, and to simplify and clarify the regulations for airport operators regarding airport access by individuals with disabilities. TO FIND  the newly released DRAFT ADVISORY CIRCULAR GO TO:

Additionally, the FAA is interested in public input regarding the use of wayfinding technologies and other technology innovations at airports. TO COMMENT  GO TO:!documentDetail;D=FAA_FRDOC_0001-13632
Claims for Compensation Under Historic Settlement Between DOJ and Greyhound May Now Be Filed

A claims process is now available to compensate people who experienced disability discrimination while traveling or attempting to travel on Greyhound. The claims process is part of a consent decree that resolves nationwide Americans with Disabilities Act discrimination claims brought by the Justice Department. Greyhound Lines, Inc. has hired a Claims Administrator to distribute an uncapped amount of compensation to people who experienced disability discrimination while traveling or attempting to travel on Greyhound. Individuals eligible for compensation must:

  • Have a disability;
  • Have traveled or attempted to travel on Greyhound between February 8, 2013, and February 8, 2016;
  • Have experienced a disability-related incident during the travel or attempted travel (for example, lack of accessible transportation or transportation-related services, Greyhound’s failure to make disability-related accommodations, etc.); and
  • Submit a Claim Form by mail, email, or online, to the Claims Administrator by no later than November 10, 2016. For further information, or to file a claim, contact the Claims Administrator by telephone, toll-free at 844.502.5953, or 800.659.2656 (TTY), or by mail at U.S. v. Greyhound Claims Administrator, c/o Class Action Administration LLC, PO Box 6878, Broomfield, CO 80021.

Assistance is available from the Claims Administrator for those who are unable to complete the Claim Form due to a disability.

For comprehensive information concerning the settlement and the claims filing process, visit this web site:

Today’s the day! You can Register, beginning today, Thursday, May 19th for the ACB 2016 Conference and Convention, as well as our very own GDUI Convention activities and events!  To view the form, you have several options:

  1. visit the ACB website, Locate the heading, 2016 Convention Pre Registration opening soon! Screen readers hit h7 times to reach the heading. You will find options to print a form in either MS word or PDF. you don’t have to print the form, simply open the link and you can view the form.
  1. Listen to the form via telephone.  You can call either Audio Now, sponsored by ACB radio  or NFB newsline to hear the pre-registration form. Call Audio Now at 1-605-475-8154, and select option 4.

If you are subscribed to NFB Newsline call 1-888-882-1629. You will select national papers, and then national blindness organizations and then select ACB.  Both telephone systems will read the entire pre-registration form.

Registration for the 2016 conference and convention will open on Thursday, May 19th and run through Wednesday, June 22nd.

Don’t miss out on the fun! Make your hotel reservations today!  Room rates at the Hyatt Regency Minneapolis are $89 single or double; there is an additional $10.00 per night charge per person for up to four people per room.  Applicable state and local taxes are currently 13.4%.  When you make your reservation, one night’s stay will be charged to your credit card.

For reservations by telephone call Central Reservations at 1-888-421-1442; make sure to mention you are attending the ACB convention in order to obtain our room rate.  To make reservations online go to

ACB Convention dates are Friday, July 1 through Saturday, July 9. GDUI convention activities will begin on Sunday, July 3, and continue through the end of our convention on July 6. All GDUI convention activities which require you to register are included on the ACB Convention Registration Form. For more information about our GDUI convention, including our Convention Auction Catalog, Summer Drawing, and the GDUI Convention Program, visit our web site here:

As you can tell, there are lots of important events happening and plans being made in GDUI! Springtime is our busiest season – for sure! We hope you can attend our board meeting on Saturday.  we know you’ll enjoy learning about and anticipating all the GDUI convention excitement as you look over the registration form and make all those difficult choices about which events to attend and which to visit via a post-convention recording. And, no matter what choice you make and how you plan to spend Saturday, May 21, we want to encourage you to vote! Our universally, accessible elections are one of GDUI’s accomplishments of which we are most proud. We have some terrific members running for office and for directorships in GDUI, and all of us are counting on your participation as voters in our election! Voting is crucially important, as, according to our Constitution and Bylaws, our election results will be considered valid only if we reach a quorum of members eligible to vote – and that is 15 percent of our membership. Voting is easy, voting is accessible, and help is readily available!

Thank you for your friendship and your support.


Penny Reeder, President

Guide Dog Users, Inc.

Will Burley, First Vice President

Guide Dog Users, Inc.

Call us, toll-free, at  866.799.8436

Like and visit us on Facebook:

Follow us at Twitter: @GDUInc

Enjoy the GDUI Juno Report on ACB Radio Mainstream, at 11:00 p.m. EDT, the first Monday of every month.

Support GDUI when you use this link to shop at

To join the GDUI-Announce List, visit this link:

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.