Announcements for the Week of July 25, 2015

Dear GDUI Members and Friends,

GDUI Plans Response to new DOJ Technical Assistance Guidance Regarding Service Animals: In early July, the U. S. Department of Justice released a new publication featuring additional technical guidance regarding service animals, available here: The publication is intended to compliment the DOJ publication (published in July of
2011) which GDUI recommends for answers to questions about the civil rights of guide dog users, called “ADA 2010 Revised Requirements.”
According to the DOJ, the new brochure provides practical insight into several so-called “thorny issues” that frequently arise with regard to the definition of service animals, the civil rights of people with disabilities who rely on them, and certain limited restrictions on their access to various venues.

GDUI is concerned about the purported clarification provided in this latest brochure and I have asked Charlie Crawford, who was one of the first GDUI members to bring these concerns to our attention, to form a task force to evaluate the latest guidance provided by the DOJ, and to help us to formulate an appropriate response. The task force will be working closely with Becky Davidson, Chair of GDUI’s Advocacy Committee, and Ginger Kutsch, Chair of GDUI’s Legislative Committee, and others who agree to participate and we look forward to their findings and guidance. Thank you, Charlie, and Becky and Ginger.

GDUI Board Members Step Up to Handle Office Manager Responsibilities:
In addition to handling all her expected secretarial duties including daily correspondence and interfacing with our Treasurer and the Budget and Finance Committee, GDUI’s secretary, Sarah Calhoun, is now answering all of the calls that come into GDUI’s toll-free number, 866.799.8436, and handling product sales, both via phone and online, as well. Dixie Sanderson is putting her database experience to good use in the service of GDUI and will now be adding membership information to ACB’s AMS database for our affiliate. Thanks to everyone’s spirit of cooperation, the transition from Jane Sheehan’s service as office manager to a new administrative model is going smoothly, and GDUI thanks Jane, Sarah, Dixie, members of the GDUI Executive Committee, and others for their generosity with time and talents, and a “Can Do” attitude that continues to serve GDUI so well.

The Issue of Follow-Up Services for California Residents Who are Graduates of Guide Dog Training Programs Not Based in California: Many GDUI members attended the July 20 meeting of the California State Guide Dog Board where the issue of restricting follow-up services for California graduates from International Guide Dog Federation (IGDF)-accredited guide dog schools whose instructors have not been licensed by that board was an important topic for discussion. We shared our organizational concern regarding this issue in a letter sent to the CA State Board in advance of the July 20 meeting, and with members and friends in a GDUI-announcement released in mid-July. We appreciate everyone’s attendance at the teleconference meeting and the continued support so many guide dog users from across the country are expressing for the right of California residents to count on quality and timely after-care from their schools. The CA State Guide Dog Board decided – at that July 20 meeting – to form a task force to define the meaning and scope of after-care. We expect at least one representative from GDUI to participate on this task force. GDUI appreciates the Board’s decision to create a task force to define “after care” for guide dog teams as a gesture of conciliation. However, this limited effort fails to address the needs of those Californians who require immediate assistance, and cannot be construed as consumer protection.

GDUI will send a letter to the governor of California as well as to all California legislators urging them to evaluate the Board’s role, especially with respect to their recent attempts to restrict IGDF-accredited schools whose instructors are not licensed by the Board from providing after-care services to California guide dog handlers. We urge all of our members, especially those who live or are contemplating living in California, to contact the governor and their legislators to express their concern about this important issue.
The California Legislature will return to session on August 17.

A Lovely Thank You Note from the Seeing Eye: Many of the school representatives who assisted us at our convention in Dallas and who attended our reception thanked us personally for the event and the tribute booklet during the week of convention. Then, GDUI received this beautiful thank you from Jim Kutsch, President and CEO of The Seeing Eye. I am sharing it here to thank, not only the GDUI 2015 Convention Program Committee who conceived of this idea and carried it through so successfully, but all of our members and friends who honored their guide dogs and schools by helping to sponsor the Deep in the Hearts of Guide Dogs, Guide Dog Schools Reception, which we held on July 6, at the GDUI convention. Here’s Jim’s note:

“Thank you for the guide dog school appreciation reception at the ACB Convention in Dallas last week. I can tell you that The Seeing Eye team was very touched by the reception and the tribute booklet. The efforts by GDUI and its members to express their appreciation to staff members at all schools is truly meaningful. We are placing the book in our dining room for everyone to browse.

James A. Kutsch Jr., PhD
President and CEO
The Seeing Eye, Inc.”

Another Delightful Thank You Note: Audrey Gunter, the most deserving winner of GDUI’s Moffitt-Gleitz award, sent us this wonderful thank you note.
“Dear Penny and My Other GDUI Family,
Thank you so very much for the confidence and support you all have shown by awarding us the Moffitt-Gleitz plaque. I wish that I felt worthy of such recognition. The words, ‘…for outstanding service and commitment to the canine/human partnership’ certainly ring true for most GDUI guide teams. Anything we have ever accomplished or achieved was truly a result of a united group effort, with the help and guidance of GDUI’s officers and advocacy directors. All that I do on behalf of my school or my beloved GDUI is indeed a labor of love and comes directly from my heart.
I am extremely proud of GDUI’s new leadership and am delighted to be considered a part of such an admirable group.

Thank you again for your confidence and support.
Audrey &Jessie”

And One More Thank You and Brief Convention Update: From our 2015 Convention Program Committee Chairperson, Lillian Scaife:
“Dear GDUI Supporters,
On behalf of everyone at GDUI, we would like to extend a heartfelt “Thank you” to all those who helped make our 2015 GDUI Convention a great success! Attendees (on and off-site), Donors, Vendors, Volunteers, Presenters, and Dallas Raffle and Silent Auction participants, we counted on all of you, and you all came through for us in such a big way! Thank you.

We want to send special congratulations to the winner of Dallas, who is a puppy raiser for Southeastern Guide Dogs and volunteered to help at the convention! And, of course, we congratulate all the successful bidders at our GDUI Silent Auction, and summer raffle winners as well!

The winner of Dallas (our Beautiful Stuffed Plush Black Lab) is Janet Mills of Dallas, Texas, who is a Puppy Raiser for Southeastern Guide Dogs Inc. and worked as a volunteer for GDUI during our Deep in the Hearts of Guide Dogs Convention!
Janet says, ‘I have Marni, my pup-in-training, an 8-month-old female black Lab; Rhythm, a career-change female, yellow Lab from Southeastern, 12 years old; and Walker, a career-change male black Lab from Southeastern , 8 years old. they are a pretty good bunch!!’

We are so happy that Janet can add our beautiful plush Dallas to her bunch!

The total raised from our convention silent Auction was $4,233.00!
Thank you, all.”

The 2016 GDUI and ACB Conference and Convention: Here’s the announcement from Janet Dickelman, ACB’s convention coordinator. “We will be at the Hyatt Regency hotel, 1300 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis, MN 55403. The first ACB convention tour is scheduled for Friday, July 1st, opening ACB general session Sunday, the 3rd, ACB banquet Friday, the 8th.”

So GDUI’s convention will begin on Monday, July 4 (Independence Day, How appropriate!), and go through Wednesday, July 6, 2016.

Janet tells us, “The hyatt did some remodeling so everything will be under one roof, no overflow hotel. Rates are $89 for single or double occupancy. You can add in up to two additional people at $10 per person.”

You can expect to find additional information regarding the 2016 ACB conference and convention on ACB’s web site,, soon.

Before we know it, August will arrive and summer will be winding down.
Let’s all enjoy this last month of summer sunshine. Be safe and happy.
As always, thank you all for your interest in GDUI 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

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 announcements every week. If you are aware of guide dog users who do not have computer access, please share this telephone number with them: 646.653.1900. Recorded announcements available at this number are updated whenever there is a new announcement to share. We look forward to sharing announcements concerning our organization with all who are interested in GDUI.

ACB Lawsuit Against D.C. Taxi Companies

Guide Dog Users, Inc., a proud special-affiliate of the American Council of the Blind (ACB(, Applauds ACB and others for taking a stand against discrimination, and on behalf of all people who are blind, especially those of us who choose to partner with guide dogs! GDUI stands ready, and eager to support this action in any way, since the issues of access and civil rights brought forward by this law suit provide the context within which most of our members live our daily lives. Bravo, ACB! For more information, visit

Sincerely, Penny Reeder, President Guide Dog Users, Inc.

Dear GDUI Members and Friends,

While 93 guide dogs and around 150 of us women and men were enjoying ourselves at Top Dog-Charleston, February arrived! Before you know it, we’ll be thinking about daffodils and asparagus and trying to persuade our dogs to steer clear of the March mud. Meanwhile, staying warm is still a priority for most of us as the snows of 2015 just keep on coming.


Top Dog-Charleston was absolutely fabulous! We’re still basking in the warmth of all those Southern hugs and the great hospitality that was extended to every guest — canine and human — at the Top Dog event! GDUI even received a beautiful plaque to thank us for our support of Top Dog. It is really we who should be giving all of you a plaque of appreciation. We are grateful that you didn’t give up on GDUI and that you, like so many of our affiliates and at-large members, have joined new leadership in GDUI to restore democracy and renew our shared commitment to one another and to the guide dog community.


There were nine schools represented at Top Dog. Their updates were interesting and reassuring. Although raising funds is a never-ending obligation for every guide dog training program, all of the schools remain committed primarily to the priority of providing the kinds of dogs who will be healthy, reliable guides, and matching their training programs to the needs of blind and visually impaired people living in the 21st Century.


There was an informational session on the topic of misrepresentation of pets as service animals, and an informative presentation concerning medical interventions that we can provide at home for injuries or minor illnesses that can affect our dogs. There was an interesting presentation from a canine massage therapist, and he even stayed for an extra hour to provide massages for some of the Top Dogs in attendance. Puppy raisers for several schools shared their stories — all of which made us love puppy raisers even more than we already did! That Frogmore Stew is one delicious dish (no, there are no frogs in Frogmore Stew!), as was every other Southern specialty we were lucky enough to sample. Gullah Geechee gospel music was a new — and wonderful– experience for many of us, and we thank Audrey and the other Top Dog planners for allowing us to enjoy the talented women and men who entertained us during the Saturday evening banquet, and Laurel Jean whose many talents continue to amaze us, as well.


I want to congratulate Ann Marie Medlar from Florida, the lucky winner of sweet hand-made and harnessed Ashley Cooper. I’m sure he will enjoy a happy future with you or whomever you choose to share him with. Thank you to Top Dog for sharing all of the proceeds from the Ashley Cooper drawing with GDUI. The drawing raised $625.00, and with GDUI elections for revised bylaws and directors coming up, as well as new issues of PawTracks, and the summer convention, we promise to put that donation to good and productive uses.


I could go on and on, but there are a few more announcements I need to get to — so, start saving your pennies. You won’t want to miss Top Dog-Florida in 2017. And for more informative presentations, updates from the guide dog training programs, and shared stories and camaraderie, remember the Guide Dog Users, Inc. convention will be coming right up, on July 5, in Dallas!


Debbie Grub, GDUI’s Affiliates’ Liaison, and I want to thank Frank Welte and the GDUC board of directors for the very productive telephonic conversation we had last Sunday. We look forward to the day when GDUC joins GDUI once again as an affiliate, and meanwhile, we continue to treasure the friendships we share with one another and the mutual commitment we have toward our shared mission and goals.


Finally, I want to announce a new — and painless — way for you to contribute to Guide Dog Users, Inc. Now you can support GDUI when you shop at (And who doesn’t spend at least a few minutes and a few dollars online at Amazon at least a couple of times each week?) contributes 0.5 percent of the price of each purchase to not-for-profit corporations registered with their SMILE program, and now GDUI will benefit through this program as well. Follow this link to designate GDUI as the recipient of 0.5 percent of the cost of your purchases whenever you shop at


Thank you all for your friendship and support. We will be back next week with announcements and a reminder about our up-coming Town Hall Meeting for GDUI Members and Friends, scheduled to begin at 1:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, on St. Valentine’s Day, February 14.


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


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 announcements every week. If you are aware of guide dog users who do not have computer access, please share this telephone number with them: 646-653-1900. Recorded announcements available at this number are updated each Tuesday.

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

Announcements for the Week of January 26, 2015

Dear GDUI Members and Friends,


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


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

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

Drop Box:

Send Space:

Play back number:


Access code: 919245 followed by the pound key.


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


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


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


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


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

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

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


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

puppy raisers and we have 20 puppy raisers coming!


I am still amazed at the products companies have so generously

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

his/her registration packet.


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

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

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

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

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

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

with all of His Glorious Blessings.


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



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


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


Penny Reeder, President

Guide Dog Users, Inc

Will Burley, First Vice President

Guide Dog Users, Inc.


Call us, toll-free, at  866.799.8436

Like and visit us on Facebook:

Follow us at Twitter: @GDUInc


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


For our members and friends who do not have access to e-mail (or prefer to listen to the pleasant sound of a human voice reading aloud), we also offer telephonic announcements every week. If you are aware of guide dog users who do not have computer access, please share this telephone number with them: 646-653-1900. Recorded announcements available at this number are updated each Tuesday.

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


Mid-Atlantic Guide Dog Users Organizational Meeting, January 11, 2015 at 1:00 EST! Come One, Come All!

A telephonic conference call to discuss forming a new affiliate of GDUI for guide dog users and their friends who live in the mid-Atlantic region of the USA will convene on Sunday, January 11, at 1:00 p.m.,  Eastern Standard Time. We welcome participants from Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and the District of Columbia. We look forward to lively discussion and making preliminary organizational decisions.


The call will be hosted  by Charlie Crawford, who heads the MAGDU Steering Committee which was formed at the state convention of the American Council of the Blind of Maryland during the first week end of November, 2014.


Dial this number: 1-712.432.5620 and enter pass Code 446 followed by  the pound sign.


While on the call, you can mute your phone by pressing the number 5, and un-mute by pressing the number 4. You can find out how many participants are on the call by pressing the pound key.


What? Mid-Atlantic Guide Dog Users Teleconference Call!

When? Sunday, January 11, 2015 at 1:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time

Where? 1-712.432.5620, Pass Code 446-pound.

2015 Membership Drive

Submitted by:

Betsy Grenevitch

GDUI Membership Chair


I would like to invite you to join Guide Dog Users, Inc. ((GDUI) for 2015. We are an affiliate of the American Council of the Blind (ACB) and several of our states have state affiliates. Below are some benefits of joining our great organization.


GDUI  is the leading consumer-driven organization of guide dog handlers in North America. GDUI offers a variety of outstanding membership benefits.

  • A subscription to PawTracks, our flagship audio magazine for members only.
  • Access to the Disaster Assistance and Preparedness Program (DAPP), which provides monetary compensation for active guide dog teams who have been affected by catastrophy.
  • By joining GDUI at the National level your dues also make you a member of ACB.
  • GDUI leads the way by implementing relevant legislative and advocacy agendas focused on the rights of guide and service dog handlers in the United States.


Since 1972, GDUI has provided quality resources for guide dog users. We offer more ways to support our members than ever before. Online support and social media links can be accessed by visiting where you can join the announcement list, or by liking us on Facebook:

Follow our Twitter feed: @GDUInc

You can also subscribe   to the GDUI Chat list by sending a blank e-mail message to:

Place the word

subscribe in the subject line

We also try to make sure we can reach all of our members even if they do not have a computer.

Don’t have a computer? Telephonic announcements are ready for you: call(646) 653-1900

Founded in 1972, as an affiliate of the American Council of the Blind (ACB), Guide Dog Users, Inc. strives to promote civil rights and enhance the quality of life for working guide dog teams. Drawing on the experiences and varied knowledge of its members, GDUI provides peer support, advocacy and information to guide dog users in every region of the country.

You not only have the benefits listed above but you can have a positive impact on our organization by being involved in the various committees that meet on a regular basis. We are a member—driven organization and would love to have you join us and become an imntegral part of moving our organization forward.


If you have any questions you can contact me at



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