PawTracks Fall 2015

PawTracks
Fall 2015
Volume XLII, No. 3
Editor: Nolan Crabb
Technical Assistant: Dixie Sanderson
PawTracks is the quarterly magazine of Guide Dog Users, Inc. (GDUI)
An Affiliate of the American Council of the Blind

Visit GDUI Online at: www.guidedogusersinc.org
Toll-Free: (866) 799-8436

Table of Contents
President’s Message by Penny Reeder
Thoughts From the Editor by Nolan Crabb
News Kibble From the Announcement Pouch
The GDUI Summer Drawing Report by Robert Acosta
Get Ready for the Spring Radio Auction by Robert Acosta
New! Frequently Asked Questions Publication From the Department of Justice
Preaching to the Choir: Goodbye Is Still Goodbye by Rebecca Kragnes
The Last Battle (author unknown)
Sundance the Talking Dog Is Gone by Steve Eaton
Man Makes Sacrifice to Give His Two Best Friends a Better Life by Steve Eaton
Dealing With Scavenging Issues in the Working Guide by Graham Buck
Harnessing the Power of Your Guide Dog Then and Now: A History of Harnesses by Nolan Crabb
How Many Purposes Does Your Guide Dog Serve? by Nolan Crabb
The Weekly Telephonic Announcements Are Going Strong by Robert Acosta
GDUI Affiliate Meeting Summary, October 15, 2015 by Debbie Grub
Where Has This Year Gone? by Betsy Grenevich
Treasurer’s Report by Lynn Merrill
GDUI Board Meeting Minutes, May 30 and July 5 by Sarah Calhoun

Note that individual articles are separated by asterisks while subsections within articles are separated by plus signs.

*****
President’s Message
by Penny Reeder
It seems as though summer took a long time to arrive; we were all so busy making sure our elections ran smoothly and then preparing for our Deep in the Hearts of Guide Dogs summer convention. The telephonic and online election process was very accessible for voters, and representatives from VoteNow! went out of their way to solve problems and assist any members who had problems with connectivity. Voter turn-out was great! We are so pleased to have a brand-new constitution that strengthens our membership-driven style of governance, and we welcomed Vickie Curley and Dixie Sanderson to new terms on our board. We made our plane reservations for Dallas and registered for ACB convention attendance. We bade farewell to June, and then, before we knew how it had happened, convention was upon us – and the four days of GDUI convention and the remaining two of ACB convention were speeding by. Now – already — we’re in the last week of August as I write this. Where did the summer go? Time is flying, and by the time this issue of PawTracks finds its way to your in box or your mailbox, fall will be a reality, our dogs will be enjoying the crunch of leaves underfoot, and sniffing, sniffing, sniffing the air to appreciate all those autumn aromas.

It’s funny how time works That way it can drag on and on one week and fly by the next giving all of us an inkling of what Einstein meant when he taught us about relativity. Our dogs have the right attitude, I think: Live in the moment and enjoy every single moment to the fullest!

There were so many things to enjoy at our summer convention. The suite was a wonderful place for all of us to gather. It was great to get to meet and become reacquainted with so many of you, and your guide dogs; to offer so many popular products for sale – we sold out of many of them! – to hang out with Carla Campbell while she helped our dogs relax and revive with her magic canine massages; to spend time with Connie Smith and Jane Woods, our Louisville Ladies, who came to help with all of the tasks associated with efficiently running our suite, and with Judy Brangwin, who came all the way from Germany once again and kept our program events running so smoothly. This is the first convention I can remember when we were able to hold an official board meeting because we had a quorum! We were grateful that so many of us could attend and work together to accomplish a wonderful convention and good things for our members. Convention confirmed for all of us once again that, even though members of GDUI are scattered across the USA – with some from even farther away – we do know how to come together, to work hard on the issues that are important to us as people who are blind who use guide dogs, and to enjoy one another’s company!

Our Deep in the Hearts of Guide Dogs silent auction was a big success, and I’m already thinking about what kind of cookies I’ll be baking and sending to Melvin Smith, our top bidder, in a week or two! The winner of Dallas, our plush black labbie in harness, was one of our volunteers who raises guide dogs for Southeastern. She is thrilled to be a winner, and we were thrilled to leave our plush convention mascot in her capable hands!! The Fundraising Committee’s summer drawing was also quite successful, and it was fun at the conclusion of our luncheon to listen as Bob drew each of the winning tickets and read the braille to identify each of the winners! Presenters during our multi-day program were excellent (Some recordings are available on our website). We learned so much from them and from one another. We couldn’t have managed even one of these events had it not been for the dedication and expertise of all the volunteers in our GDUI suite, who sold tickets, kept track of bids, described items – in person and via the telephone – and then made sure that each item went to the person with the winning bid. Thank you to every member of the program committee, every member of the board who stepped up to help whenever there was a need, every volunteer, and every GDUI friend or member who came and made our Deep in the Hearts of Guide Dogs GDUI Convention such a success and so much fun.

Our Guide Dog Schools Appreciation Reception was truly a convention highlight. School representatives who came to Dallas to interact with graduates and to recruit new students, to help us and to present a number of GDUI program items were genuinely moved by our efforts to thank our schools, and we were pleased to be able to share a Guide Dog Schools Appreciation keepsake booklet with the 33 staff members, representing 11 guide dog training programs, who were there. You can view the contents of that publication here, http://guidedogusersinc.org/guide-dog-school-tribute-booklet/. Thank you to each one of you whose generous contributions helped to sponsor the event.

During the late spring and throughout the summer, GDUI spent time and energy attempting to address the California State Guide Dog board’s recent re-interpretation of its mission with respect to prohibiting unlicensed instructors from out-of-state International Guide Dog Federation-accredited schools from providing after-care (i.e., follow-up services) for their graduates who live in California. GDUI leaders and many members from across the country attended the board’s public meetings and spoke out to condemn this policy decision. At the GDUI convention, our board approved the submission of a resolution to ACB’s Resolutions Committee on this topic. We did submit the resolution, and it was adopted unanimously by the ACB convention. When we came back from convention, we wrote and mailed letters to the governor of California and to every assemblyman and woman and every state senator, explaining the issue and asking that the governor and the state legislators address the board’s practice of prohibiting instructors from the Seeing Eye from providing in—person follow-up services to their graduates who live in California. We will continue to work hard to persuade the California State Guide Dog Board of the recklessness of its decision and recent actions, and to persuade California government officials and legislators to curb the board’s over stepping of its mission and authority over programs not based in the state. If you live in California, I urge you to get involved and speak with your lawmakers and government officials to explain how the board’s actions could very well compromise the safety of guide dog users who live and work in California and choose – as is their right – to acquire their guide dogs from out-of-state programs.

The International Guide Dog Federation’s process for granting accreditation to guide dog schools is a rigorous one, recognized by more than 30 countries, including the USA, and we believe that instructors who work for IGDF-accredited schools have the skills, capabilities, and backing of a trusted authority that is at least as rigorous as that bestowed by the California State Board on instructors who receive their certification.

Presumably in an effort to placate GDUI and others who object to the Board’s re-interpretation of its authority and mission, the Board decided at its July meeting to create a task force with the mission of defining what is meant by “after-care.” GDUI was asked by the Board’s Executive Officer, Brian Skewis, to name a member to that task force, and we were pleased to name Carla Campbell. We are grateful to Carla for agreeing to serve in this role. She is an excellent representative, since she is an experienced guide dog user who lives in California and works with a guide dog recently acquired from the Seeing Eye.

Although we appreciate the Board’s recent decision to create a task force to define “after care” for guide dog teams as a gesture of conciliation, this limited effort fails to address the needs of those Californians who require immediate assistance from the schools where they obtained their training and their dogs, and cannot be construed as ‘consumer protection.

The American Council of the Blind Resolution 2015-15 and a copy of the letter we sent to California state legislators and to Governor Brown are included in this issue of PawTracks. Even for those of us who don’t live in California, this issue is an important one. We have friends who use guide dogs and live in the state, any one of us could for any number of reasons decide to move to California or to spend some time there as a student, an intern, a guest. And, as members of ACB and GDUI, we understand the importance of consumer choice with respect to training and services, and it is an affront to us and our belief in the importance of consumer choice for an entity to make rules that have the consequence of denying us that choice. Nothing about us without us!

Thank you all for your friendship and support. We are so proud to have been the winner of the American Council of the Blind’s annual award for the affiliate with the largest growth in membership! That signifies to those of us whom you have elected as custodian’s of GDUI’s governance that you believe in us and that you want to be involved with our goals and with one another. Nothing could make us happier. We held a board meeting at the end of September. We appreciate those GDUI members who attended.

Schedules become crowded when Fall arrives. No matter what’s on your schedule, we wish each one of you and each of your dogs safe and happy travels.

GDUI’s Letter to California Legislators:
I am writing on behalf of Guide Dog Users, Inc. (GDUI), the leading membership organization of men and women who are blind and visually impaired, and who rely on guide dogs for independence and safety.

GDUI is an affiliate of the American Council of the Blind (ACB). Like our parent organization, we advocate on behalf of people who are blind and visually impaired – in our case specifically, on behalf of people who choose to use guide dogs. We educate the general public regarding blindness, the capabilities and goals of people who are blind, about the handling and etiquette associated with guide dogs and about the laws and regulations that are meant to guarantee our civil rights as people with disabilities and in particular as guide dog users.

On Friday, July 3, 2015, over 1,500 GDUI and ACB members attending our 54th National Convention passed a resolution against the California State Board of Guide Dogs for the Blind. We have long respected the California State Guide Dog Board, understood its reason for being, and acknowledge the standards of excellence that the Board strives to develop and administer. The excellence and reliability of guide dog training programs is as important to our members, most of whom partner with guide dogs and count on them to maximize our quality of life on a daily basis, as it is to members of the board. We commend the early efforts of the Board for developing standards for excellent training programs, stamping out fraud with respect to fund-raising for California-based guide dog training programs, and insisting on the highest standards for guide dog training programs and instructors. However, we believe that, recently, the Board has misinterpreted its mission with respect to monitoring follow-up services for guide dog school graduates, particularly with respect to guide dog training programs which are not based in California and which comply with the rigorous standards of excellence developed by the International Guide Dog Federation (IGDF), an internationally recognized body that accredits guide dog schools around the world.

GDUI considers the Board’s current aggressive interpretation of its mission with respect to requiring Board licenses for instructors who provide follow-up services for graduates an overreach of the board’s authority. It is certainly a dramatic departure from the way the board has addressed the provision of after-care services for guide dog teams who have graduated from schools not based in California during the majority of the Board’s history.

Many of our members live in California and have chosen to acquire guide dogs and training from out of state Guide Dog schools that are accredited by the IGDF. Denying or delaying the provision of after-care services to graduates of out of state programs who have a personal relationship with a particular school, understand its particular training regimen and know its staff, may put the safety of these guide dog handlers at great risk. At the very least, the Board’s current interpretation of its regulations appears to discriminate against Californians who choose to procure their guide dogs and training from out-of-state programs.

We want to stress that consumer choice is a guiding principle for both GDUI and ACB, and that the Board’s actions which disadvantage Californians who choose to attend out-of-state training programs violate a principle that is important to us.

As you evaluate the purview and future of the Board, We implore you to find a way for Californians who choose to acquire their dogs and their training from schools that are not based in the state to receive timely and appropriate follow-up services from instructors from their schools and to acknowledge that accreditation by the IGDF is rigorous and meaningful. We have urged the California State Guide Dog Board to reach a similar conclusion and to find a way to execute it, so as to put an end to the State mandated attenuation of services that a number of guide dog users who live in California and who received training from IGDF-accredited schools are now experiencing. The Board’s recent decision to create a task force to define “after care” for guide dog teams is appreciated 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.’

Thank you for taking our concern into consideration and for acting to guarantee, as much as possible, the safety and viability of every guide dog team working in your state, regardless of whether or not a school’s instructors have received a license from the California State Guide Dog Board.

Sincerely,

Penny Reeder, President
Guide Dog Users, Inc.
President@Guidedogusersinc.org
Toll-Free 1-866-799-8436.

Attachment: American Council of the Blind Resolution 2015-15

American Council of the Blind
____________________________________________________

2200 Wilson Blvd., Suite 650 • Arlington, VA 22201 • Tel: (202) 467-5081 Fax: (703) 465-5085
California State Board of Guide Dogs for the Blind
Resolution 2015-15

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now, therefore, be it resolved by the American Council of the Blind in convention assembled on the tenth day of July, 2015, at the Sheraton Dallas Hotel, Dallas, Texas, that this organization call on the legislature and governor of the state of California to enact legislation during the 2016 session to permit instructors employed by IGDF accredited schools to provide follow-up services to their graduate guide dog teams in California, without requiring these instructors to be licensed by the state; and

Be it further resolved that this organization call on the governor of the state of California to reach out to the board to create approaches to alleviating the dangerous situation described above by encouraging the creation of an interim approach that will allow after-care services to be delivered by out-of-state instructors; and

Be it further resolved that copies of this resolution shall be sent to the governor of the state of California, to the members of the California State Legislature, and to the members and Executive Officer of the California State Board of Guide Dogs for the Blind.
Adopted.
Ray Campbell, Secretary
*****
Thoughts From the Editor
Seasons and Transitions
by Nolan Crabb
Autumn is a season of often quiet introspection and contemplation. I don’t engage in all that angst-promoting life examination stuff; I prefer to do that as the new year approaches if at all. But autumn is that transitional breath between summer’s heat and winter’s chilly silence, both of which have much to offer. Autumn is that single place on the seesaw where everyone is as high as one can go before one end or the other drops. It’s that moment in life’s symphony when all the players in your personal concert quietly tune instruments in preparation for the next movement. It holds out summer’s memories and holiday promises all in the same graceful hand.

It was in the autumn 20 years ago that I received my first guide dog. In mere weeks, I will return for a replacement for Warner, who will adjust to a quiet life at home. This autumn then carries a special payload of memories of my first dog, which I received almost 20 years to the day from when I will receive my fourth one. Memories of that first dog and promises of great adventures with the newest one held by autumn in the same graceful hand.

In this issue, since transitions have been on my mind a great deal, we look at transitions as dogs retire or die from the perspective of three authors, one of whom is anonymous.

You may recall that last winter, I ran a column by a much-beloved and highly talented friend of mine who eloquently wrote about the merits of avoiding procrastination and thereby being excluded from the highly desirable pink cap group. Steve Eaton is back in this issue with two pieces, one that pays loving tribute to Sundance, the talking dog, and another that focuses on steps he took to fill the void left by the sudden and brutal death of Sundance. I think you’ll enjoy both pieces, and I’m honored to once again include his work here.

The award-winning Rebecca Kragnes is back with a well-written and thoughtful column on dog transitions as well. Ginger Kutsch has submitted a poem from an anonymous author that focuses on saying goodbye from the dog’s perspective.

There are stories that focus on events from the GDUI national convention, an informative piece that looks at how to minimize scavenging, and much more. As always, please provide any feedback, positive or otherwise, to me via email at nolan.crabb@gmail.com, and enjoy the issue.
*****
News Kibble From the Announcement Pouch
What does a working dog do when a working dog isn’t working? This question has been asked by an off Broadway producer and I know we all have answers to that one.

Would you have stories to share? “tails” can range from the raunchy to the ridiculous; from humorous to inspiring. Mention of school names is highly discouraged and identities of both human and dog shall be disguised to protect the guilty.

Send an email with your story to Maureen at
voicepro4u@verizon.net
. If possible, send an audio file attachment.
+++++
SAVE The DATE
TOP DOG 2017
Sponsored by Guide Dog Users of Florida, Georgia Guide Dog Users and Dixieland Guide Dog Users

Event Dates: Thursday, January 12, 2017 through Sunday, January 15, 2017.

Location: Orlando, Florida, Holiday Inn and Suites Across From Universal Orlando

Room Rate: $89.00 per night with an additional 12.5% applicable taxes

Deluxe rooms are also available at reduced rates

Hotel rates are in effect three days prior and post event dates

We are bringing a very delicious and affordable food package

Guide Dog Users of Florida is excited to host Top Dog 2017 with the able assistance of our friends in Georgia Guide Dog Users and Dixieland Guide Dog Users. As we move forward with event planning, I will be sending out requests for your ideas for programming and fun activities, so start thinking about that. If you have questions or comments now, please feel free to contact me at the information below my signature.

Every Top Dog program brings us to a higher level. With your assistance and participation, we believe that Top Dog2017 will be no exception to this historical reality.

Please feel free to spread this announcement far and wide. All guide dog users and those interested in the movement are welcome to join us for exciting and educational programming and the opportunity to engage an meaningful fellowship and friendship building. Please plan to join us.

Respectfully,
Debbie Grubb, Event Coordinator

Kathleen Trutschel, Registrar

Debbie Grubb (h) (941) 281-2728 (m) (941) 228-6296
Debbiecgrubb1@gmail.com
+++++
For information about dog relief areas at airports, visit the following website:
www.dogjaunt.com/guides/airport-pet-relief-areas/

+++++
From the website click and treat comes a valuable reminder to not stack commands. The article has a 1994 copyright date, but its information is relevant. There are tips here on how to stop stacking commands and thereby get a faster response from your dog. Visit http://www.clickandtreat.com/dfogb7.htm to read the article.
*****
The GDUI Summer Drawing Report
by Robert Acosta
(Robert Acosta chairs GDUI’s fundraising committee)

The GDUI Summer Drawing was truly a great success. Together, we made a profit of $2,810.00 for Guide Dog Users, Inc.

The Fund-Raising Committee wishes to thank all persons who participated in this year’s Summer Drawing.

The Grand Prize Winner of $1,000.00 is Charles Navarrette of California.

Bob Collins of New Jersey won our First prize which is a $500 gift card.

Second Prize went to Phyllis Stevens of Tennessee who received a $500 Silpada Jewelry Card.

Our Third Prize of a Keurig Coffee Machine went to Mike Gravitt of Pennsylvania.

Our Fourth prize, a George Foreman Grill with removeable plates went to Darla Rogers of Missouri.

The Fifth prize a Sky-wave Radio donated by the C. Crane Company went to Katherine Bielfeldt of Illinois.

Our Sixth prize, which was a lovely chiming clock donated by Speake To Me went to Tyler Acosta.

Our Seventh prize, a Bose Wave Radio was sent to Vickie Prahin of Ohio.

Our Final Prize, donated by Travel One Cruise Company, is a basket containing beachwear along with a $500 gift card to be used on a cruise within one year was won by Toni Eames of California.

We conclude by thanking all of you who supported our Summer Drawing and very much look forward to a 2016 Summer Drawing.
*****
Get Ready for the Spring Radio Auction
Sunday, April 3, 2016 Spring Radio auction
Time: 7 to 9 pm EDT (4-6 pm PDT)
by Robert Acosta
On August 27, 2015, the board of directors of GDUI unanimously adopted a Motion to approve a project sponsored by the fundraising committee. We will be sponsoring a radio auction, using the facilities of ACB Radio.

We wish to thank Larry Turnbull and other outstanding ACB personnel for lending us their guidance along the way. Now, it is up to us GDUI members to provide, for this event, new prizes with a minimum value of 50 dollars.

Although we welcome new items for our prizes, we are providing them at the auction “as is.”

Please send all prizes with descriptions, with the exception of food items, to Robert Acosta, 20734C Devonshire St., Chatsworth, CA 91311. Phone: (818) 998-0044. Email: boacosta@pacbell.net.

Our first prize has already been promised by our President, Penny Reeder. Yes, Penny’s Kitchen will be shipping five dozen delicious cookies to the lucky winner. Description: Oatmeal with raisins, walnuts and chocolate chips!

A second prize, which we have collected, is from the C. Crane Company. It is a pocket radio with a carrying strap allowing you to go outside to hear the radio while barbecuing for example.

The deadline for the receipt of prizes is February 15, 2016. We expect in the future to put the prizes, with the descriptions and the donors names, on the GDUI website: www.guidedogusersinc.org.

At the time of the auction, credit cards will be the only acceptable form of payment. A reasonable shipping cost will be added to your winning bid.

The purpose for this auction shall be to provide the funding for our voting process in GDUI. Yes, we provide universal voting for all of our members. To my knowledge, we are the only ACB affiliate which does this. Let democracy prevail, and please support our radio auction with great prizes and strong bids.

Disclaimer: Guide Dog Users, Inc., is held harmless for any prizes which do not function as stated in the descriptions. However, we shall do what we can to encourage a fair relationship between the winning bidder and the prize donor.
*****
New! Frequently Asked Questions Publication from the Department of Justice
The U.S. Department of Justice has released a new publication called Frequently Asked Questions About Service Animals and the ADA. This multi-page publication provides additional guidance on the ADA’s service animal provisions. The publication is meant to supplement the DOJ’s earlier publication ADA Revised Requirements: Service Animals (reprinted in the Fall 2014 issue of PawTracks).

The new publication is divided into seven sections including Definitions, General Rules, Certification and Registration, Breeds, Exclusion of Service Animals, Miscellaneous, and Resources. These topics address common issues involving service animals such as going through a salad bar or other self-service food line; leaving service animals alone in hotel rooms; and allowing service animals in ambulances.

There are also questions and answers that focus on the appropriate behavior of service animals. This information could be very useful when educating businesses about when it is acceptable to exclude an animal from the premises. There are even questions about whether stores are required to allow service animals to be placed in a shopping cart, or if places that serve food or drink are required to allow service animals to be seated on chairs or allow the animal to be fed at the table.

To view the publication in its entirety or to download a copy in PDF, please visit
http://www.ada.gov/service_animals_2010.htm
*****
Preaching to the Choir
Goodbye is still Goodbye
by Rebecca Kragnes
The year 2015 has been a tumultuous one in our house. We started it with two dogs and a single amputee, and we may be ending it with a double amputee and no dogs. We’re saying goodbye to our dogs in two very different ways, and even though my Zane and Phil’s Garron have been dogs number four, the goodbyes are still just as painful. Whether through death or retirement, goodbye is still goodbye and very hard.

Many may already be aware that in February of this year, Phil somewhat unexpectedly lost his second foot due to the effects of Diabetes. He was moved to rehab late that Month, and his Shepherd “The Love Sponge” Garron joined him as soon as was feasible. Unlike the hospital environment, the acute rehab floor wanted to do everything they could to motivate Phil. They understood Garron was a big motivator! Many staff and patients were dog people missing their own, and there were mock fights about who got to take Garron outside. Probably the most touching moments were with a nurse who began taking him out while being afraid of dogs. Garron was lovable enough to allow her to trust him, and Phil told me the transformation was pretty incredible to watch.

Garron was also very intuitive, and it soon became apparent that he was great at guiding Phil’s chair. No, Phil didn’t expect it or correct any bumps, but Garron practically seemed to correct himself. The next time he approached a spot where he’d made a mistake, his guiding was flawless. This earned him new respect among the floor members.

Phil was due to come home on March 20, and he made arrangements for a ramp to be installed in our front yard. It was temporary, because Phil planned to get on two prosthetic feet as soon as possible to work his dog. As a quick aside, a little known fact is that ramps are much harder for amputees, because of no ankle control. After Garron was brought back to him on the morning of March 18th, he wouldn’t eat. Phil didn’t think a lot of it, because Garron regulated his diet himself. It bothered Phil how much and how hard Garron was panting, as he laid his head in Phil’s lap. Phil felt his stomach to ensure there was no bloat. It really worried Phil when he felt how ice cold Garron’s mouth was. Then Garron wouldn’t even take one of his very favorite treats – another sign something was terribly wrong. Phil started working the phones either trying to get Garron to the vet or a vet to Garron. It was seven in the morning, and as Phil tried in vain to get emergency help before opening time, Garron started out lying right beside the bed and gradually moved away. Apparently this is something pack animals do when they know they are going to die, so their death doesn’t draw predators and impact the rest of the pack. He finally got a hold of a co-worker to come get Garron for a short ride to the University of Minnesota Veterinary Medical Center. By the time she arrived, Garron couldn’t walk, so he was carried out of the building in an improvised sling made of sheets. Garron died in the backseat of the coworker’s car. Veterinarians performed an autopsy. Garron was posthumously diagnosed with cancer in the spleen, liver, and one chamber of his heart. The veterinarian suspected that a vessel had ruptured which caused internal bleeding and ultimately his death. Garron was nine years old.

I awoke late, as Zane was so flexible letting me sleep if I took him out late at night before I went to bed. I thought something was funny about a hang-up on our voicemail, but I called Phil just to say good morning. His voice sounded odd, and then he blurted out “Garron’s dead!” and began to cry. I told him I’d get up there as soon as I could and quickly spread the word on the social networks. I at least had the presence of mind to think about what really might help Phil and picked up some attachments he had ordered for his wheelchair. The physical therapists gave him a day of mourning, and I saw staff and patients stop in Phil’s room just to say how sorry they were. I met the woman who had been afraid of Garron and underwent such a dramatic change. Staff members were apparently crying as they went about their daily work. Phil and I listened to podcasts together, and I was right to bring the attachments to give Phil something to do and think about other than Garron. Phil was later presented with a card from the staff detailing thoughts about Garron. The vet hospital not only sent the ashes but a plaster cast of Garron’s paw print. The social networks were also busy with condolences, and some people even gave additional money on a GoFundMe page for the ramp in recognition of the loss of Garron.

Being at home was difficult enough with all of the machines and other routines, but none of that compared to the pain of Garron’s absence. Zane kept looking for Garron for a day or two. Phil’s been to the office a few times, but when he returns to work, that will probably bring the grief home again. In the meantime, Zane and Phil have developed a really close relationship. Phil has loved all my dogs, and they all knew he was a softy with them. However, his dogs were definitely dominant and took toys away or pushed mine out of the way. Zane was afraid of the wheelchair for the first few days, but now Phil calls Zane his “black side car”, and Zane asks for Phil’s attention even more than mine. I think Zane has comforted Phil in a way no one else really can during Phil’s continuing long recovery at home. Phil won’t be ready for a guide until next spring. it’s because of the relationship between Zane and Phil that I’m trying to hold off on retiring Zane until after Phil has gone back to work.

Zane is also nine years old and was about six months younger than Garron. In April he had a clean bill of health from the vet, and he doesn’t have any gray or white in his fur. In late May or early June, I started to notice that slow down in the street and generally acting less confident if he wasn’t following someone else. Obstacle courses made him unsure, and he stopped in hopes that someone would help us around them. He still comes for the harness, but I can tell he enjoys being a regular dog more than he enjoys his work now. I have my essay written for my next application, but I’m really having a tough time making myself apply and get the paperwork to the school. Staffers know his retirement is coming, and I’m grateful they are letting me do it when I feel it’s best. Sometimes I have those “Maybe this is my imagination” thoughts. However, I’ll get out with him and see my hunch confirmed again and again.

Things became even more clear when some little girls stopped to ask me questions about Zane outside of church one evening. Part of the discussion was an explanation of what it means for Zane to retire. Over the past few months, Zane and I have developed a friendship with a woman at church who is a retired teacher with a part-time side job and a 5-year-old Black Lab of whom she says Zane reminds her. She heard the conversation and later told me she would be honored if I would allow her to adopt Zane into her home. He gets along with most dogs, and even though we haven’t had the interaction between the two dogs yet, I’m 99 percent sure I have found his new home. I know some keep their retired dogs as pets, but I feel it’s more fair to the retired dog and the new one to give my attention and love to one at a time. Because church is where we met, I am considering having church or a ride from church being the ending point of his work and the beginning of his retirement.

Retirement or loss of a dog due to death are both painful times, and whether drawn out or sudden, goodbye is still goodbye. I lost my first dog to sudden illness, and Phil has had to make the difficult decision to retire a dog. It’s comforting to know we have each been through what the other is experiencing now. However, in the 19 years of our marriage, there has never been a time when neither of us has had a dog. So the next column is likely to focus on being … “Dogless in Minneapolis”.
*****
The Last Battle
If it should be that I grow frail and weak
and pain should keep me from my sleep,
Then you must do what must be done,
For this–the last battle–can’t be won.
You will be sad I understand,
Don’t let grief then stay your hand,
For on this day, more than the rest,
Your love and friendship must stand the test.
We have had so many happy years,
What is to come can hold no fears
You’d not want me to suffer, so.
When the time comes, please let me go.
Take me to where to my needs they’ll tend,
Only, stay with me til the end
And hold me firm and speak to me
Until my eyes no longer see.
I know in time you will agree
it is a kindness you do to me.
Although my tail its last has waved,
From pain and suffering I have been saved.
Don’t grieve that it must be you
Who has to decide this thing to do;
We’ve been so close–we two–these years,
Don’t let your heart hold any tears.
-Author Unknown
*****
Sundance the Talking Dog is gone
By Steve Eaton , For the Deseret News
July 25, 2015, reprinted with permission
He was not just a dog.
He was Sundance the Talking Dog. He earned his “Talking Dog” nickname because he was a Basenji, a breed that is not supposed to know how to bark. But with Sundance, if there was an emergency, such as the need to claim a treat or acknowledge that a marvelous friend was at our front door, oh could he bark.

He didn’t yap. His one-time purposeful bark wasn’t just noise. It was an announcement.

Technically, Basenji trainer types would say he could only “bray” because Basenjis can’t bark. Our dog, however, was not just any Basenji. He was Sundance the Talking Dog.

He would bray when we came home because he was proud of the fact he had done a good job of being in charge of the whole house. We could tell it must have been extremely difficult for him to resist the urge to pull things out of the tiny waste baskets in our bathrooms and put them on display for us. He would make a joyful noise whenever my daughter visited because he was sure she was about the best person who ever lived on the planet and couldn’t believe she was at his house again!

Sundance just wanted to become lifetime friends with everyone.
He was like our own personal Secret Service dog in that he really would get frustrated if we went outside to mow the lawn, plow the snow or even get the mail without him. When we made foolish decisions like that, there was no way he could protect us.
His method of dealing with threatening strangers didn’t involve any sort of teeth-baring aggression, however. It was much more effective than that. His first step would be to get the intruder to sit down so that he could get his nose within one inch of their mouth. It’s been documented in many movies that often aliens will take on the appearance of a human or someone from Congress. It’s not widely known that if you get within an inch of an alien’s nose you can sniff him or her out. It can be awkward to do that, however, but we were lucky that Sundance would volunteer for the job. We never once had anything pop out of the chest of one of our friends when they visited, and I think that was due, in large part, to his diligence.
If we were outside, Sundance would watch from the window wondering why we couldn’t understand that he could protect us better if he was with us.
Once Sundance determined a visitor was not a threat to us, he would climb into their lap, communicating in the clearest way possible, as he looked up at them, that this was the greatest moment of his life and that he was ready to go live with his new friend and watch over them forever.
We didn’t take it personal because we understood how Sundance thought. His heart was so big, his love just had to be shared. We just knew that for Sundance, nothing could be more important than making a new friend. If offered a tasty treat at the same time a visitor appeared at the door, the new person would always win out.
Besides, he would have time for the treat later. He never gobbled them down. He would place them where he wanted them and test them out carefully to be sure they were not poison or celery before he ate them. He took his time with his treats and always returned to thank you when he was done with them.

Sundance was a good listener. He saw himself as a “good dog,” and that’s what good dogs do. They listen.

He was not just any dog.
Each day, Sundance would try to find a patch of sun so he could soak up some rays. That’s where his hugs came from. Sundance was always there for hugs. If you were home, hugs were available.
People who don’t have dogs can’t understand what it’s like to have a friend who is so consistently loyal and loving. Dog lovers know how important it can be to have at least one person in your life who thinks you are amazing every single day no matter what you do.

And yes, I did say a “person.” Sundance was not just a dog. He was a member of our family. That’s why it was unbelievably painful this week to scoop up his lifeless body from the street and rush him to a kind veterinarian who tried to revive him even though she knew from the start that her efforts would be futile. I took him to Bridgerland Cache Animal Hospital, the closest vet I could find. Even though Sundance was not on their rolls, they tried desperately to revive him. When the battle was over, they wrapped him in a tiny blanket and put him in a simple cardboard box that sort of looked like a coffin. A woman carried the box out to the car for me, a painfully symbolic move I couldn’t accept because I was still hoping he would get up, shake it off and trot out to the car on his own.

When we woke up that morning, we had no idea we had just begun our last day with him. We never imagined we’d be digging a little grave for him in the backyard before the day was over.

Adjusting is impossible. It’s a bad dream that won’t end. It’s like when you know the power is off and yet you still flip that light switch when you go into a darkened room. We keep looking for the light and love that he offered us. It’s gone.

I know many people will not understand. And it’s true that people who lose family members who aren’t dogs suffer a pain far deeper than we are facing now. For us, this pain is bad enough.

That’s because, to us, Sundance the Talking Dog was not just a dog. He was a person — a person we loved who is suddenly gone from our lives.

We will miss him.

Steve Eaton lives in Logan, Utah. He can be reached at
eatonnews@gmail.com
Copyright 2015, Deseret News Publishing Company
*****
Man makes sacrifice to give his 2 best friends a better life
by Steve Eaton , For the Deseret News

A few weeks ago I wrote a column that paid tribute to our dog Sundance who was struck by a car and killed late last month. I now have a part two to that column.

Sundance was a Basenji and it turns out Basenji owners online are a very close-knit group. Basenji owners started sharing my column with their friends and I began receiving emails of support and encouragement from as far away as Sweden.

“Even though we live in Sweden with our two Basenjis, we still feel the pain as if it flew across the ocean and found us,” a kind woman wrote.

The emails really helped. It never occurred to me that so many others would empathize with what we were going through.

The most unusual life-changing email, however, came from a man who lives in Tucson, Arizona, named David Davis. He was moved by the column and wondered if we would adopt his two Basenjis. His health is failing and his doctors have told him he does not have long to live. He had been worried about how he would care for his dogs as it got harder for him to get around and had been concerned about what might happen to them if he died. For months, he had been wrestling with the feeling that he should find a home for them while he could.

So, he made his offer, and, after many emails and several long phone calls, we decided we would adopt them. We were excited at the prospect of having two new dogs to help us cope with our loss but we were also worried about what this would do to him.

We learned that because of a number of clearly unjust turns in his life, he found himself without much of a nearby support network. He says he has no close friends or family nearby. He had moved to Tucson in hopes he could find some relief for some of the many aliments that are wearing him down.

Many of you may not know this but every city in Arizona is required by law to be south of St. George. That means many of them are hotter than St. George. When we went through Phoenix, for example, they were evacuating the city because the temperature had reached 118 degrees.
Tucson was a cool 107 degrees, but we checked into an air conditioned hotel anyway. Then we went to meet our dogs. These are very smart dogs who were very suspicious of us at first and not at all like our last Basenji, Sundance. They had lived a simple life with our new Tucson friend, a life where money was in short supply but love was not.

The Grand Canyon was impressive but not nearly as remarkable as the love we witnessed as this strong man said tearful goodbyes to his best friends and watched us lead them away to our car. They didn’t understand they were saying goodbye to the man who had cared for them for years.

It was a long ride back, but the dogs never complained and now they seem to enjoy their new home. Nine-year-old Pipet is sort of like an incumbent senator who has been there and done that. She likes to be in charge, keep things mellow, quiet, take naps and really would rather not be told to do much of anything if it doesn’t involve getting treats or going on a walk (think junket for a senator).

Diesel is a very friendly and kind-hearted dog who seems to have been born to appear in action-oriented Mountain Dew commercials. We cannot give him access to credit cards because he would use his money to go skydiving, rock climbing and perhaps even whitewater rafting. Mountain biking might prove challenging, but I wouldn’t put it past him. When he sees other dogs he immediately drops flat to the ground so they can’t possibly see him and we assume he would completely take them down if he wasn’t on a leash. He probably should have been named Jet Fuel instead of Diesel.
And where’s the happy part of the story where I tell you that David was asked to be on the “Ellen DeGeneres Show” and given enough cash that he could go to Disneyworld, get cured and adopt 101 dalmatians? That part is just not happening. David says he cries a lot, talks to his dogs even though they are not there and wishes things were different. That’s exactly where I was a few weeks ago before he contacted me. I didn’t want him to have to go through that so I’ve offered to return the dogs to him several times but he firmly believes he is doing what must be done for his only true friends in the world.

So, if you ever go through Tucson and see a tall bald-headed man with tattoos on his arms and legs, who looks like he could hold his own as an action-movie hero if he weren’t crying so much, that’s David. Take him out to lunch. And listen as he talks. This is no ordinary man. We are reminded of his strength every time we see Pipet and Diesel and are humbled to realize that because of David, these are no ordinary dogs.
Steve Eaton lives in Logan. He can be reached at
Eatonnews@gmail.com
*****
Dealing with scavenging issues in the working Guide
by Graham Buck, Assistant Director of Training, Guiding Eyes for the Blind
(Reprinted with permission from the Summer issue of the graduate newsletter.)
Scavenging issues in guides is something that is always worth offering more discussion about. It can be a difficult problem to deal with and there is no easy answer or instant fix. However with that said, there are some methods that can help to reduce this unwanted behavior in our working dogs. First though it is important for us to look at some basics with the dog in general, specifically in most cases the Labrador.

There are many types of distractions that individual dogs appear to have. Some dogs may be distracted over other dogs, while with others small birds may get their attention. Some dogs may be more aware of movement through their vision while others are more olfactory and tend to be distracted by the information that is coming through their noses. In any event distraction is a natural part of having a working dog. In many dogs distraction will hold value as a stress reliever, and if not redirected often enough will become problematic. In other words there is no perfect dog. The fact is that we are training dogs as guides and with that come some inherent behaviors or responses to different stimuli. A well trained dog will always need tending to in order to keep the work accurate and the dog in focus.

This can also be referred to as the natural working rhythm of the dog. What the dog feels like when it is working as it normally does.
Distraction can throw off or take the dog out of that rhythm. It is our job as handlers to help them get back into their rhythm through use of redirection. There of course are many different ways in which we can do this as a handler. Let’s explore some of the techniques and then go through a way to run practice sessions with or without sighted assistance.

With anything in dog training the more repetitions you can do when working on something the more it will hold. Negative reinforcement has its place but we should avoid using this as our only tool. Let us put our focus on attempting to redirect the dog onto something else. This will require work on our part but you should see some benefits carried over in the work. There is always the risk of using both positive and negative reinforcement in a manner that is not effective. We also have to be mindful and be sure we are attempting to pattern the dog to what we want or what we think the alternate behavior or choice should be. We can inadvertently pattern the dog to something completely different. Dogs are very intelligent beings and they often extrapolate something different from a lesson.

So one method might be to reward food, or praise when the dog orients away from the food by looking towards its handler. Or another method would be to be ready to give a collar correction when you feel the dogs head drop and reward it for getting back on track. Both have their merits but neither is fool proof. Let us try to bring together a combination of both but keeping the focus on the repetitions versus the technique.

We need to do practice sessions first before we can try to apply to normal every day type work. I would have the food in a Tupperware container with holes in it. You can also improvise with a zip lock bag. This will help the dog from getting a hold of the food and swallowing it, but will allow us to work up to random pieces of food on the ground.

Start by filling the container with something more low value like Cheerios, their own kibble or crackers. Remain about six to eight feet back from the food. Then back up and see if the dog will follow you without a cue. If not, then you can initially add in come or let’s go. Reward the moving away from the food with a verbal YES or CLICK. Then reward with food. Do several repetitions of this. Once the dog starts to pull away from the food more quickly add in the cue of LEAVE IT. Then mark and feed.

Gradually attempt to get closer and closer to the container. The idea is that we want the dog to be actively removing itself from the food rather than only looking away or focusing on the handler. Get as close as you feel comfortable with during this phase. Gradually start a short heeling exercise around the container. Focusing on if the dog is following you, keeping its head up and or moving away from the food all together. Stop and Mark at any point you detect this. Don’t worry you may misjudge or your timing may be off but because the food is concealed you should be okay. The worst scenario is that they will pick up the container. Still better than eating all the food.

After the heeling exercises proceed to putting the container at a location where you have to work by it to a target such as an outside door etc. As you work the dog through read your dog and mark when you detect the dog is staying in focus. If you’re timing is off or you feel you lost the opportunity to reward, use a light collar correction to re-direct the dog. If the dog goes by and right to the target focus on rewarding the target heavily. We are trying to convey to the dog, don’t do that, do this instead and the reward will be greater. Avoid using the cue of LEAVE IT unless you feel the dog make an attempt at going for the food. Stay aware that this is a cue and not a reprimand. If you use LEAVE IT as a reprimand then the cue will lose some of its validity.

When you feel ready you can transition to leaving free food on the floor but I would have done a lot of repetitions with the containers first. You can also utilize multiple containers. This helps the dog with generalizing. You can always go back to the earlier lesson on leash if you feel the dog is not picking up on this. Remember reward strongly if the dog pulls itself away from the food when you back up. If the dog is straining on the collar in anyway, avoid rewarding until you feel some slack. A light collar correction can be used if necessary. Again this method is not fool proof either but it will give you some tools to practice with. Gradually start adding in higher value items like cheese, chicken, old pizza etc. I would suggest using the higher value treats to reward with as well at least initially to assist with getting the behavior. Then you could go to just kibble or Charlie bears.

Scavenging is a difficult issue; but, with practice and repetitions, you will be able to keep the problem at a manageable level. If you just let the problem slide or use correction the dog is apt to try again. My advice is to focus on getting repetitions in with the exercises. The more you do this the more likely it will carry over in the real world. Now we just need to breed a lab that doesn’t like food. Happy training. Enjoy the summer.
Graham
*****
Harnessing the Power of Your Guide Dog Then and Now: A History of Harnesses
by Nolan Crabb
So you’re about to make that quick run with your dog. Without thinking about it, you grab the leash, snap it in place, then the harness, and off you go. But did you ever think much about how that harness evolved into what you use today? If you were back in Charles Dickens’s London, what would you use to communicate with and control your dog? After all, Dickens briefly references blind men and their dogs in his classic A Christmas Carol.

Those attending the GDUI convention this summer in Dallas participated in a session conducted by The Seeing Eye’s Lucas Franck who talked about the history of guide dog harnesses going back as far as the 13th century A.D.

One of Franck’s earliest images from the 13th century depicts a handler with a cane or staff in one hand being held to protect his face and upper body; the other hand holds a leash with a German Shepherd at the end of it, pulling the blind person. Another image depicts a handler with the leash around his waist. Yet another image depicts a 13th-century Chinese man being pulled by a dog on a leash.

According to Franck, harness evolution took a step forward in Austria in 1819. That harness included a broom handle-like poll that connected to the dog’s collar. The rigid poll meant the blind user could more easily determine when the dog stopped or when it went up or down steps.

“The problem with ropes and leashes and stuff is is it’s hard to tell which way the dog’s going, it’s hard to tell when the dog stops, and it’s hard to tell whether the dog is going up or down steps,” Franck explained. “But it’s a heck of a lot better than nothing.”

Franck says the real evolution in harness creation began after World War I. Thousands of veterans were blinded by the use of mustard gas in numerous countries. Franck explained that World War I. actually created significant demand for guide dogs, and the Germans, he said, had achieved significant steps forward in training dogs.

“What they used dogs for was, among other things, tracking. So they developed a tracking harness with a center attachment point so they could hold the leash and let the dog run and track very similar to what is still used today.”

Postwar harnesses were triangular in shape, and resembled the tracking harnesses. “They were very short,” he” explains” “about 12 inches long, not very efficient, but it was a start.”

He says not only were harnesses different, but the tasks required of the dogs were different as well.

“Essentially what they did in the early days was they would warn of threat, and then you would use your cane to figure out what that threat was,” he explains. If the handler were approaching steps, for example, the dog would sit at the top or bottom of the steps, and the handler would use the cane to better understand why the dog sat.

Early harnesses used well into the 1930s were soft and flexible, often allowing the handler to get ahead of the dog.

As he passed around examples of harnesses used over the decades, he pointed out the criteria that comprises a modern harness:

“The modern harness, of course, as you all know,” he says, “is characterized by several things: First, two contact points—one on either side of the dog. There’s also a rigid handle of various lengths and offsets, and typically a horizontal grip.”

But harnesses look different in different parts of the world. The British harness, a derivation of which is used at Guide Dogs of Texas, is very different from the majority of designs in use in the U.S.

Franck says modern harness designers strive for harnesses that are comfortable for the dog to use over long distances. Designers must also create a harness that is comfortable for the handler—one that provides reliable information. Even the way the harness handle is held can determine how reliable the information coming through the harness is. Newer harnesses are becoming more ergonomic and include more intricate designs that impact the distance and angle between the dog and handler. A Swedish-designed harness allows the handle to be lengthened or shortened. An example of a German harness he passed around included a rather lengthy handle. A Japanese design makes the harness handle look like a marshmallow roasting fork—one end on each side of the dog, moving back to a single point held by the handler.
*****
How Many Purposes Does Your Guide Dog Serve?
by Nolan Crabb
Guide dogs aren’t guide dogs only; they’re often therapy dogs. That’s the assertion of Robert Wendler, director of Canine Operations, Guide Dogs of the Desert. “In a sense,” he insists, “every working guide dog has other jobs to do.”

Wendler says while mankind has benefited from the services of dogs for millennia, only in recent years are we truly exploring all of the benefits of dog ownership. Speaking at the 2015 GDUI convention in Dallas, Wendler encouraged his listeners to “check in with yourself” if your dog is misbehaving. “We may be creating whatever that dog’s issue is,” he explains.

Wendler described some of the people with whom he has worked and talked about areas where the guide dog took on additional duties. A diabetic asked whether the dog could be trained to detect blood sugar drops and alert the handler. Wendler, with the help of some associates, ultimately successfully trained the dog to sit if it detected blood sugar levels to be unsafe.

“As a guide dog,” he recalls, “this dog was taught to do intelligent disobedience and basically cross in front of her and say ‘we’re not going anywhere; it’s not safe.’”

More recently, Wendler says he trained a guide dog to assist a handler with severe rheumatoid arthritis by pulling her into a standing position. The dog also does some bracing and some retrieval work. Another handler benefits from the help of a guide dog who, if the handler falls, lies down and allows the handler to brace himself against the dog’s back while it stands and assists the handler to a standing position.

Wendler says guide dog use doesn’t have to be limited by age. One handler with whom he works is 90 and “travels at about the rate of 20 feet per hour.” She got her first dog in 1949 from The Seeing Eye; her current poodle is dog number 14. Despite being bent severely by arthritis and using a support cane, she is able to work the dog with a special harness. The dog takes two steps, waits for her to catch up, then takes two steps more. She insists the dog is one of the reasons she remains alive, according to Wendler.

Wendler described another handler who had worked horses until he was blinded in Afghanistan. Once broken and nearly defeated, today the handler uses his guide dog to guide not only him but his horses. Today, he is highly regarded for his cowboy work in Arizona.

Nicole Meadowcroft, president of Custom Canine Service Dog Academy, described a handler who had severe balance issues resulting from an auto accident years ago and a series of small strokes more recently. He was unable to walk a straight line, and he needed a support white cane in addition to the dog. Meadowcroft says her organization built on the foundation of the guide dog training such that the handler ultimately could again travel independently. Prior to the introduction of the dog, she says the handler’s activity predominantly consisted of trips between the living room, the kitchen, and the bathroom. Meadowcroft says other dogs have worked with National Guard members and other veterans to help relieve stress while providing balance and similar support. She says her organization has trained dogs to do nightmare interruption—a process that includes awakening a handler who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and interrupting an escalating nightmare.
*****
The Weekly Telephonic Announcements are Going Strong
by Robert Acosta
I am writing this article to remind those without computer access and those who just want to hear a human voice that the Weekly Telephonic Announcements are still available for our members and nonmembers alike.

The telephone number is (646) 653-1900. The telephone system has some shortcut keys to help you. Pressing Key 2 rewinds 30 seconds. Pressing Key 3 fast forwards 30 seconds. Pressing 8 pauses the announcements and pressing 8 again resumes them. Should you wish to interrupt the announcements to leave a message, press zero and follow the prompts. Remember to press 1 to save your message. You can also wait until the end of the announcements and you will hear a beep and prompts to create and save your message.

At the beginning of each weekly announcement we give full instructions for using the telephone system.

I want to conclude by thanking those who communicate with me by writing letters or by leaving kind messages regarding your appreciation for these announcements. I would like to thank our National President for finding the time from her busy schedule to present us with a weekly message. We try to change our announcements every Tuesday. So, join us and happy listening!
*****
GDUI Affiliate Meeting Summary, October 15, 2015
by Debbie Grubb, GDUI Affiliate Liaison
The GDUI Affiliate presidents and leaders met on Thursday, October 15, 2015 at 11:00 AM and 9:00 PM Eastern Time via teleconference.
The following affiliates were represented: Guide Dog Users of Florida; Georgia Guide Dog Users; Pine Tree Guide Dog Users; Guide Dog Users of New York;
Dixie Land Guide Dog Users; Guide Dog Users of Washington State.
President Penny Reeder and a guest from the state of New Jersey also participated in the meeting.
I wish to take this opportunity to publicly thank Penny for presiding as I was having some throat issues.
The first order of business at both meetings was to determine the best time during which to schedule our teleconferences. It was unanimously decided by those attending both meetings that due to the low attendance during the 11:00 AM time slot and because those attending at 11:00 AM are willing and able to join the 9:00 PM teleconference, that the 11:00 AM meeting will be discontinued. Those present and voting also agreed that it will be easier to bring in guests from around the country for one meeting. The meeting will, therefore, take place on the third Thursday of even numbered months at 9:00 PM Eastern Time.
All present and voting fervently agreed that the focus of the work of this group should be centered on the continuing issues of service animal fraud. It was astounding to learn that those who use equipment fraudulently sold may face charges while those making and selling the equipment face no charges as they are exercising the right of free enterprise. Other problematic areas are restaurants and facilities that pride themselves on being pet friendly and well-meaning physicians who provide certificates to people who simply wish to be accompanied by a pet with no task training to mitigate the effects of their particular disabilities. There is a blur in the minds of law enforcement officers, business owners and the general public regarding emotional support, therapy and service animals. Some of the suggestions for moving forward with this work were to: contact the National Chamber of Commerce in order to begin a working relationship with them; contact the ACB Lions affiliate in order to seek their assistance with working with Lions Clubs around the country; contact the Association of Chiefs of Police and the National Restaurant Association.
The following text was prepared by Betsy Grenevitch, President of Georgia Guide Dog Users, summarizing the excellent report that she brought to the meeting explaining the work that the Georgia affiliate is doing regarding this very troublesome issue.
(beginning of text)
The Steps of Trying to Get Attention About a Topic Such as Fake Service Animals
As has been noticed through the country, fake service animals have been causing problems for legitimate guide and service dog handlers. In Georgia, as have other states, we decided it was time to do something about it. I hope that the steps I am going to share with you will give you some ideas as to how you can get something accomplished in your respective state no matter what the issue may be.
1. Schedule an opportunity to present your issue to a civic organization such as a Lions Club especially if it is a blind-related issue such as a guide or service dog situation. I happened to mention the problem at a Lions Club meeting where I am a member. Some people in the Club became interested and wanted to know how they could help.
2. Find people who have experienced the problem or situation you are wanting to correct. In our case, we found a Lions Club member who had a relative who had purchased fake service animal paraphernalia to use on the dog to make it look like a service animal. The member knew this was wrong and wanted to help us get this resolved for all fake service animals.
3. find a state of federal representative or senator. Depending on whether it is a state of federal law you are wanting to pass, you need to find someone in the legislature who is willing to carry such a law for you. Some members in the Lions Club knew a state representative who they thought might carry such a bill and he was willing to do that for us.
4. Schedule a public meeting to present the issues you want to get resolved. The member of the Lions Club who really wanted to get involved with this issued helped invite key people to a public meeting which was being held during a regularly scheduled Lions Club meeting. We had the Chief of police, a judge, the one representative willing to carry the bill, and other key city and county people present. We also invited newspapers, the restaurant association, and made it known by word of mouth that this meeting was taking place. We were hoping to get it in the paper but that did not happen.
5. Invite people who are having similar issues to the meetings to give testimony of their experiences and why the issue needs to get resolved. I was the only member with a guide dog who was present but two other members of Georgia Guide dog Users participated via the phone and were able to speak to those present at the meeting.
6. Be sure to hand out information to the key people that will help them either understand the issue or give information on how you feel it can be resolved. We handed out printed copies of the DOJ’s Q&A document as well as GDUI’s model law concerning fake service animals.
7. We realize the need to Educate. We realize the need for education concerning guide and service animals. Because we took the time to invite the Georgia Restaurant Association, we have already been invited to do a small phone training for the staff of the association. Our next event with them is doing a webinar for the entire state on guide and service animals.
Because of a meeting that I, along with two members of my Lions club , had with a chief of police in my county, we have been told there is interest in putting together a webinar for the policemen to watch about guide and service animals.
If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact me at
770-464-0450 or you can email me at
blindangel@joimail.com
I hope this will encourage and inspire you to move forward on issues you may be facing in your state.
(end of text)
This report brought about much discussion as all affiliate leaders present are also working diligently in this arena. It was decided that at future meetings guests with expertise and insight into this matter from the worlds of business, law enforcement, legal and legislative professionals and other fields of expertise that may be suggested will be sought and invited to speak with us. Affiliate leaders were asked to suggest any people with whom they have worked whose wisdom and understanding of any aspect of this issue and what drives it may be beneficial to this work. The model Service Animal Fraud Law prepared by ACB staffers, Melanie Brunson and Eric Bridges, in company with the Chair of the GDUI Legislative Committee, Ginger, Kutsch, will be resent. Please find it attached to this meeting summary post.
The final item under discussion was the ACB/Affiliate/special interest affiliate dues structure. This issue was raised by the New York affiliate in an effort to help them come to terms with the dues fiscal note that they will have to take on should they decide to re-affiliate with ACBNY and ACB. Most of the affiliate leaders expressed the opinion that it is the cost of doing business, that many benefits come from affiliating with the national and state organizations, and that the fiscal note isn’t truly significant as a once a year commitment. Others did say that it is almost impossible to use the money collected from dues to fund the work of the organization. The state of Florida has a different dues structure and I asked Doug Hall, President of the Florida Affiliate, to outline that process. The text below was provided by him to recreate his explanation of the Florida dues structure. It is important to note that the impetus that brought about this dues process was more about the voting structure than the fiscal note.
(beginning of text)
Due to people voting more than once (if you belong to four chapters, you have four votes), the Florida Council of the Blind decided to establish two major classes of membership, Primary and Secondary, to limit a person’s influence. A person may be a primary member in only one chapter. Memberships in all other chapters would be as a secondary member. This means that a primary member may only vote once, with his or her primary chapter. In addition, that chapter pays state and national dues for that member. However, if a person is a secondary member of a chapter, his or her membership does not count for the purpose of voting on the state level and the chapter need not pay state and national dues for that person. In short, a chapter could have 50 members, 40 as primary and 10 as secondary. For the purpose of state membership rosters, that chapter has 40 members, only those that are primary.
Below is wording, which has been taken from the Bylaws of FCB and GDUF.
FCB Bylaws
Article E, Membership
E. Any eligible individual of more than one (1) Chapter may only be registered (this includes payment of FCB and ACB dues) and be counted once with their primary Chapter on the FCB membership roster. An FCB officer is also entitled to one (1) vote on FCB issues either as an officer or as a member of their primary Chapter. A primary Chapter is the only Chapter that can count an individual as a vote on FCB issues.
GDUF Bylaws
Article I, Membership
F. There shall be two (2) classes of membership, primary and secondary. Primary members are listed as members of FCB, as well as GDUF and GDUI. Secondary members are listed as members of GDUF and GDUI only.
(end of text)
The next meeting of the GDUI affiliate presidents and leaders will take place on Thursday, December 17 at 9:00 PM Eastern Time. A meeting reminder post will be sent including the conference call information.
Respectfully submitted,
Debbie Grubb
GDUI Affiliate Liaison
*****
Where has this year gone?
It is hard to believe that 2015 is fast coming to a close. I hope that you have had a good year and enjoyed many special times with your friends, families, and of course, your special guide dogs.

It is time for us to renew our membership in GDUI. It has been a busy year for our organization and we trust that you will renew for 2016 and join us in the various activities and goals for 2016.

If you have any ideas of what you would like to see happen in GDUI in 2016 please pass them on. I can be reached at
membership@guidedogusersinc.org
or by phone at 770-464-0450.

Please read on to find out what we accomplished in 2015 and our goals for 2016.

Because of your support, GDUI was able to achieve the following goals in 2015:

Restored the traditional values that have guided GDUI since
its beginning (i.e., concentrating on the issues that bring us together as an organization rather than on conflicts that occurred in
the past);
Developing a policy to address the problems associated
with people passing their pets off as service animals
Assisting members to develop self-advocacy skills
via webinars, interaction with our Advocacy Committee and
GDUI empathizers, and in articles planned for inclusion in PawTracks.

Please spread the word about what is happening in GDUI and encourage other guide dog handlers to get involved in the exciting work that is taking place in this affiliate. It is because of members like you that we have the funds to continue advocating for the rights and needs of guide dog handlers. Please help us make 2016 and even greater year.

At the last GDUI Board meeting it was approved that we could offer what we are calling an “Early Bird Special”. If you pay your dues between September 1 and December 31 and you are not already currently a member it will count for the rest of this year and the following year. Please spread the word to potential members of GDUI.

If you want to get a head start and join before you receive the renewal letter from GDUI’s Secretary and Office Manager Sarah Calhoun, here is the application to fill out to rejoin for 2016.

GUIDE DOG USERS, INC.
MEMBERSHIP APPLICATION

Name(s):___________________________________________

Address:___________________________________________

City:____________________ State:____ Zip:__________

Primary Phone number, with area code: ________________

Alternate Phone number, with area code: _________________

Primary E-Mail address: ___________________________

Alternate E-Mail address: ____________________________

$______ GDUI membership dues, $15.00 per year (includes PawTracks subscription) or

$______ stand-alone subscription to PawTracks without GDUI membership, $25.00 per year, or

$______ GDUI life membership, $250 per person (may be paid in monthly installments via credit card)

Additional donation to GDUI (optional): $_______ (We will send you both a “thank you” letter and end of year statement for your tax purposes)

Checks should be made payable to GDUI, and sent to:

Sarah Calhoun, Secretary
Guide Dog users, Inc.
3603 Morgan Way
Imperial MO 63052-4106

If you would prefer to submit payments via credit card, you may do so by going to www.guidedogusersinc.org or by calling (866) 799-8436.
We accept Visa and MasterCard.

If you plan to join GDUI through one of our state affiliates, you need not send money directly to us, since the affiliate treasurer will do so. Please contact us for a current list of our affiliates.

To comply with postal regulations when we send you items via the U.S. Postal Service, we need information concerning your degree of visual impairment (we are allowed to use “Free Matter For The Blind” in lieu of paid postage only for people who are legally blind)

______Legally or totally blind ______Fully sighted

Format preference for mailings from GDUI:

______Braille ______Large print
(We will use e-mail whenever possible)

Format preference for PawTracks:

____E-Mailed RTF attachment + a link to download MP3 files of each article

_____4-track NLS-format cassette (for legally or totally blind members only)
Guide Dog Users, Inc. (GDUI) is an affiliate of the American Council of the Blind (ACB). Therefore, members of GDUI are members of ACB. As a member, you are entitled to receive ACB’s magazine, the Braille Forum.

If you are not currently receiving the Braille Forum or wish to change the format in which you receive it, please check one of the following:

______Braille ______4-track cassette

______large print _____text files on a CD

To receive The Braille Forum via e-mail, send a message to
brailleforum-l-subscribe@acb.org

Thank you for your interest in and support of Guide Dog Users, Inc. Please feel free to contact us with any questions or comments at (866) 799-8436.

Submitted by Membership Chair,
Betsy Grenevitch
membership@guidedogusersinc.org
*****
Treasurer’s Report September 20, 2015
This report contains breakdowns for the months of June, July and August, 2015 because a report was not provided for the July, 2015 meeting which was held in Dallas, and this is the first Board meeting subsequent to the July meeting. It also contains a comprehensive breakdown of the income and expenses known to date for the convention in July. As of today, I have not received a breakdown of the income and expenses from ACB.

I would like to first thank Sarah Calhoun for her assistance in preparing this report. Sarah graciously assumed many of the duties of the Office Manager and jumped in enthusiastically to gather and maintain the income and expenses from June 1, 2015 to the present and to present them in a succinct fashion.

June 2015 Report

INCOME:
Summer Drawing: $380.00
Dallas stuff dog raffle: $165.00
Tribute booklet sponsorships: $1,715.00
Membership 2015 dues: $90.00
Products sales: $135.00
Shipping of products: $18.00

Grand total June income: $2,503.00

EXPENDITURES:
Membership business cards: $79.95
VOTE NOW 2015 voting and tabulations: $1,828.66
Carrollton credit card processing fees: $75.75
Pay Pal processing fees: $10.59
Verizon: $27.83
Product mailing: $5.75
Product purchase: $815.26
Production of PawTracks 2015: $280.00
Voiat web master: $404.00

Grand total June expenditures: $3,527.79

Capitol One:
Previous balance May 31, 2015: $15,749.17
Deposits: $764.36
Expenditures: $739.80
Ending balance June 30, 2015: $15,773.73

Carrollton Bank:
Previous balance May 31, 2015: $7,962.93
Deposits: 1,123.00
Expendetures: $2,616.24
Ending balance June 30, 2015: $6,449.69

Pay Pal:
Previous balance: $1,017.00
Ending balance: $1,027.59
July 2015 Report

INCOME:
Donations (unspecified):$287.00
Summer drawing: $510.00
Dallas stuff dog raffle: $120.00
Membership 2015 dues: $165.00
Membership 2016 dues: 15.00
Life membership: $250.00
Product sales: $2,867.50
Product shipping: $78.00
GDUI Guide Dog School reception ticket: $17.00
Silent auction: $3,930.00
Start up cash for GDUI suite: $60.00

Grand total July income: $8,299.50

EXPENDETURES:
Winner of summer drawing: $1,000.00
Carrollton and Square Card Credit card processing fees: $255.69
Pay Pal processing fees: $22.76
D & O Insurance: $998.00
Verizon: $38.00
Product shipping: $187.85
Product refund: $18.00
Hotel for two rooms and GDUI suite: $1,492.68
Room upgrade for the Louisville Ladies: $120.00
Start up cash for GDUI suite: $60.00
Production of tribute booklet: $108.68
GDUI reception – cake: $107.98
Easy to read braille program: $337.50
Production of PawTracks: $240.00

Grand total July expenditures: $4,987.14

Capitol One:
Previous balance June 30, 2015: $15,773.73
Deposits: $7,362.64
Expenditures: $1,867.14
Ending balance July 31, 2015: $21,269.23

Carrollton Bank:
Previous balance June 30, 2015: $6,449.69
Deposits: $81.00
Expenditures: $2,365.58
Ending balance July 31, 2015: $4,165.11

Pay Pal:
Previous balance: $1,027.59
Ending balance: $1,050.35

August 2015 Report

INCOME:
Donation through Mission Fish: $1.00
Donation through ACB Monthly Monitary Support (MMS): $120.00
Membership 2015 dues: $45.00
Product sales: $250.00
Product shipping: $42.00
Silent auction: $233.00

Grand total August income: $691.00

EXPENDITURES:
Carrollton credit card processing fees: $62.60
Pay Pal fees: $7.37
Verizon: $28.40
Shipping products: $51.75
GDUI mailing of auction and raffle items: $138.71

Grand total August expense: $288.83

Capitol One:
Previous balance: $21,269.23
Transfer from Pay Pal to Capitol One: $975.94
Ending balance $22,246.17

Carrollton Bank:
Previous balance July 31, 2015: $4,165.11
Ending balance as of August 31, 2015: $3729.62

Pay Pal:
Previous balance: $1,050.35
Transferred from Pay Pal to Capitol One: $975.94
Ending balance: 74.41
First Georgetown balance as of May 22, 2015: $119,154.00
First Georgetown balance as of September 18, 2015: $113,858.00
*****
GDUI Board Meeting Minutes
May 30, 2015

In attendance:
Penny Reeder, President; Will Burley, First Vice President; Maria Hansen, Second Vice President; Sarah Calhoun, Secretary and Lynn Merrill, Treasurer.
Directors:
Bob Acosta, Ann Chiappetta, Vickie Curley, Betsy Grenevitch and Dixie Sanderson.
Nolan Crabb, PawTracks Editor
Debbie Grubb, Affiliate Liaison.
Pat Hill, Guide Dog School Liaison
Excused absence: Jane Sheehan, Director
Unexcused absence: Laurie Mehta, Immediate Past President.

President Penny Reeder opened the meeting with welcoming remarks.

The roll call was taken by Maria Hansen, Second Vice President.

The board approved the meeting agenda.

Agenda item: Approval of minutes
The March 28, 2015 GDUI board meeting minutes were approved.

Agenda item: Committee reports

Note: Please find a list of all committee reports attached at the end of these minutes.

Bob Acosta reported the fundraising committee met with Mr. Kyle Kiper who is organizing a cruise with other groups in November, 2015. He is seeking to donate $40.00 per reserved cabin; he hopes to fill 20 cabins, with donations going to GDUI. Mr. Kiper received GDUI’s tax information.

The board approved all committee reports.

Agenda item: Grant writer

Bob Acosta stated we need to give our grant writer, Jo Steigerwald some direction.

Debbie Grubb made a motion to do further research in the need, process and cost of pursuing a service mark for GDUI products and copy. A report of the findings will be submitted to the board during the September, 2015 meeting.
Bob Acosta seconded the motion. Prior to voting by acclamation, discussion took place. Motion unanimously passed.

Ann Chiappetta will recruit members to help in the project.

Debbie Grubb made a motion for the board to direct Jo Steigerwald to seek funding for an award of convention attendance to a worthy first-timer. If we acquire a grant for this project Bob Acosta’s committee will formulate the details of the competition.
Vickie Curley seconded the motion. Prior to voting by acclamation, discussion took place. Motion unanimously passed.

Agenda item: Writing Thank You Letters to Donors and the Donor Database.
GDUI received a $25.00 donation from a generous member and a $1,500.00 donation from the Stern Foundation. President Reeder wrote thank you letters to both donors.

We need to put in place a process in writing thank you letters for all donations.

President Reeder, Maria Hansen, Lynn Merrill, Bob Acosta, Betsy Grenevitch and someone from the publications committee will look into starting a data base of all donations and write thank you letters. This item will be revisited either during the July or September, 2015 board meeting.

Agenda item: The “Harnessing Information” Project

Pat Hill, Dixie Sanderson and Vickie Curley suggest GDUI provide mentors from as many guide dog schools as possible. The mentors would be available for those who may be considering getting a guide dog for the first time, or for those who might want to change schools. Members could talk to a mentor who attended the school and inquire about the training program and other specifics.

An application to become an objective mentor would be required.

Vickie Curley made a motion for the board to approve Pat Hill, Dixie Sanderson and herself to pursue a mentorship program and develop guidelines for creating an advisory committee for people who are interested in getting a guide dog for the first time, and/or learning about various schools. The committee will submit their report to the board at the end of summer, 2015.
Bob Acosta seconded the motion. Prior to voting by a roll call, discussion took place.
There were three “yes” votes, three “No” votes and three abstentions. Motion failed.

Agenda item: Convention Program Updates

Lilian Scaife reported everything is on schedule. She thanked Will Burley for correcting the issues on the website. All convention information, except the menu, is on the convention page: sponsorships, raffle, summer raffle and the program schedule. The menus will be posted soon.

The deadline for the sponsorships has been changed to June 12, 2015.

Members of the Program Committee who are attending the convention will meet for a meeting on Saturday, July 4, 2015 in the GDUI suite.

The room numbers for the affiliate and board meetings will be announced later.

Lilian thanked members and vendors who donated items for the silent auction. There will be many wonderful items. A catalog of the auction items will be posted before June 15, 2015 on GDUI’s website. Items will be added to the catalog as they are received. Members not attending the convention will be able to call into the GDUI suite and place their bids. At the end of each day the final bids for that day will be posted on the GDUI website.

Winners of auction items who are not present at the convention, GDUI will mail the items to them, except for liquor items. Liquor is not allowed to be mailed via USPS.

The committee is reaching out to a few puppy raiser clubs in the Dallas area. The committee is looking for GDUI members as volunteers for the Ambassador Club.

Vet Techs will be in the GDUI suite to clip dog nails and clean ears at no charge. The day and time will be announced.

Dog massages will be available by appointment. The cost is $20.00.

Agenda item: Tweeting at Convention

GDUI is looking for volunteers to tweet during the convention on the GDUI twitter Feed: @gduinc.
ACB is recruiting volunteers they assign one or two people to different segments of the day. This way it won’t tie up your iPhone, attention all day long. You can choose the morning, afternoon or evening.

If anyone is interested, contact Lilian Scaife via Email at: programs@guidedogusersinc.org and put “Tweeting” in the subject box.

During convention, Ann Chiappetta will be posting convention updates on the GDUI Face Book page.

Agenda item: The 2014 GDUI Policy Resolution concerning GDUI’s Convention and Participation at ACB Convention.

President Reeder made a motion to rescind the policy. The policy was posted to the board prior to this meeting.
Betsy Grenevitch seconded the motion. Prior to voting by acclamation, discussion took place. Motion unanimously passed.

Agenda item: Old business

President Reeder asked Bob Acosta to represent GDUI at the nominating committee. Penny will be on the convention floor as often as possible. She is asking for a second. Will Burley might be able to be her second and will get back with her.

Agenda item: New business

Bob Acosta made a motion for the fundraising committee to be able to seek sponsors for the 2016 GDUI convention in cooperation with the convention program committee.
Will Burley seconded the motion. Prior to voting by acclamation, discussion took place. Motion unanimously passed.

At this time, the meeting was open to members for comments.

Meeting adjourned.

Respectfully submitted,
Sarah Calhoun, GDUI Secretary

Attachment: Committee Reports
GDUI May 2015 Committee Reports

Please note: The reports are listed in alphabetical order by the name of the committee and separated by ****.

****
Advocacy Report:
Good morning, all, No major updates from the Advocacy committee. We have a draft of a document on out-of-control dogs that we will present when it’s done.
There was a recent communication on the Bed and Breakfast front with indication that this is something we can and should pursue and some strategy for following up.
Hope to see many of you in Dallas!
Becky Barnes-Davidson, chair
Advocacy Committee

****
Affiliate Presidents’ and Leaders’ Meeting Summary
May 21, 2015

(Note) There was no affiliate who had not been represented at the AM meeting who attended the PM meeting. As a result, the guests and those who returned to the PM meeting and Vivian Conger who joined the call were thanked and the call ended. As you will see from the list of participating affiliates below, attendance was very low. The meeting was most worthwhile due to the information brought by our guests and the subsequent discussion that took place. As all of you know, you are welcome to designate any member in good standing from your affiliate to represent it on these calls. The purpose of building a sense of collaboration and sharing information and insights with one another is only as successful as your commitment to the process will allow it to be. I sincerely hope that we all will consider the importance of these affiliate meetings both to our affiliates and to GDUI and her members and friends as a whole.
(End of note)

Affiliates present at the meeting were:
Dixieland Guide Dog Users
Guide Dog Users of Florida
Guide Dog Users of New York
Guide Dog Users of Washington State
Guests: President Penny Reeder
Lilian Scaife, GDUI Convention Committee Chair
Bob Acosta, GDUI Board member and Fundraising Committee Chair

Debbie Grubb invited all affiliates to present to her their ideas for the agenda of the GDUI Affiliate Roundup to be presented during the GDUI Convention on Sunday, July 5, at 2:00 PM. It is her desire that this meeting truly represents what the affiliates want and need it to be. Please contact Debbie either by email or telephone with your ideas for the agenda of this most important in-person meeting. The agenda items may consist of ideas for discussion or proposed guest speakers to present on specific issues.

In case there are matters that require voting during the GDUI Convention, each affiliate present during this event is invited to submit the name of the person representing it. Please contact Jane Sheehan for information regarding the number of delegates to which your affiliate is entitled. Please submit the name of your representative and the alternate, should you choose to appoint one, to me via email.

President Penny Reeder announced that the upcoming GDUI elections will take place from May 30 through June 7. Email notifications and post card notifications for those who do not have email with all of the necessary information to cast a vote via email or telephone will be sent shortly. Affiliate leaders were asked to encourage their members to vote because our votes are important in each election and a great deal of time, effort and funds have been allocated to this new, secret and totally accessible process.

Fund Raising Committee Chair, Bob Acosta provided the following information regarding their ongoing fund raising efforts on behalf of GDUI. Negotiations are under way to bring to the GDUI Board for their consideration a cruise in November of this year whereby $40.00 per cabin will be donated to GDUI.
The GDUI raffle with prizes of value, beauty, utility and fun are available. Tickets are $10.00 per piece and may be purchased either online or directly from Jane Sheehan, GDUI’s Office Manager.
Bob urged affiliate leaders to attempt to replicate these fund raising plans in their affiliates, stating that vendors are often willing to donate items to such a worthy cause as ours. He also explained that bike rides are extremely popular and many bike clubs will participate and the event can be used as a fund raiser.
Another fund raising idea that he brought forward was purchasing popular gift cards and selling them for a bit over the purchase price.
Bob explained the necessity of GDUI’s affiliate seeking a donor base including people from the general public.
He invited all to attend GDUI’s Fund Raising Committee meetings stating that the meeting agendas are always published on GDUI’s email lists.
Bob spoke about the nonprofit organization that he founded, Helping Hands for the Blind that provides immediate assistance to people who are blind via small grants. Affiliates were invited to submit a brief essay outlining how they would use seed money to assist them with fund raising. Please send all essays to boacosta@pacbell.net. The deadline for these submissions is September, 1, 2015.
At the conclusion of Bob’s presentation, President Penny Reeder reminded us of the wonderful GDUI programs and services that require this kind of committed and effective fund raising program.

Lilian Scaife, GDUI Convention Chair, provided a copy of the 2015 GDUI Convention program. Please find it at the end of this meeting summary.
Lilian presented the following most helpful and exciting information about the events to be held during the 2015 GDUI Convention.
On Monday, July 6, GDUI will host a reception to honor all of the guide dog schools who have contributed so much to these events for many years. Cost per ticket is $15.00 if purchased during event preregistration and $17.00 at the door. There will be a cash bar.
GDUI is providing a wonderfully creative method whereby GDUI members can remember and acknowledge their guide dogs and the schools from which they came via purchasing sponsorships that will allow them to include these remembrances in a Memory Book, a copy of which will be provided to each school whether or not a sponsorship has been purchased by one of their graduates. There will not be an opportunity to acknowledge individual trainers. Multiple sponsorships may be purchased. The funds from these purchases will cover the cost of the reception tickets for all of the guide dog school staff who attend as well as the cost of preparing the booklet. For more information about the various sponsorship levels and how to purchase them either on line or with Jane over the phone, please either call Jane or check it out on the GDUI website.
There is much anticipation of the GDUI silent auction. Donations for auction prizes are still welcome. A catalog of items for auction will be available online, via email and in accessible hard copy in the GDUI suite. A fast facts sheet will soon be available instructing all who are interested to learn about and bid on these items either in person or via telephone during the GDUI Convention. Bidding will begin on Sunday and will close on Wednesday.
The GDUI suite is a welcoming, safe place to come for assistance, empathy, relaxation, for a massage for your guide, to purchase items from GDUI and to check out the items that are included in the silent auction.
Past GDUI President, Jenine Stanley, is coordinating a group of volunteers who will provide friendly assistance in the guide dog relief areas.
Dallas, the life-sized stuffed guide dog in harness will go home with the lucky raffle winner. If desired, he will be shipped to his forever home by GDUI at no charge to his master or mistress. Tickets are available for purchase at the convention, online on the GDUI website and from Jane Sheehan.
Registration for the GDUI Convention is available via the ACB Convention Registration process.

The recording of the phone call upon which this summary is based may be accessed by calling (712) 432-0899; code: 1054127. Please note that the recording reference number is not required. Simply wait for a second or two and the recording of the May 21 meeting will commence.

Respectfully submitted,
Debbie Grubb
GDUI Affiliate Liaison

****
Budget & Finance Report:

The Budget & Finance Committee approved additional $435.00 expenditure to bring the new voting system up to the “Silver Package” level. The $1,400.00 package that we had originally authorized did not include the postcard mailings to our members without e-mail addresses. The system will now cost
$1,835.00 after a 20 percent discount.

We also approved the transfer of $2,000.00 from our brokerage account with First Georgetown into our account with Capital One. These funds will be used to defray the additional cost of the voting system, research by the grant writer, and possible additional costs of the convention.

Maria Hansen
Chair: Budget & Finance Committee

****
Constitution Report:
Committee members: Maria Hansen, John McCann, Ellen Telker, Rick Roderick, Lynn Merrill, Penny Reeder

The Bylaws Committee and the Nominating Committee held two combined Candidate and Bylaws Forums on Saturday, April 25, 2015 and Friday, May 8, 2015.

I have spent several hours over the past couple weeks in communication with VoteNow going over the postcards, the e-mail notifications, the telephonic ballot (both touch tone and voice command) and the online ballot. I am very impressed with how responsive they have been to every concern and suggestion.

There is a ballot option that is accessible for all our members including those who are deaf/blind. This is a model for participatory democracy and I encourage all members to take advantage of this opportunity to guide the future of GDUI.

Maria Hansen
Chair: Constitution and Bylaws Committee

****
Convention Program Committee Report:
(Beginning of text of GDUI 2015 Convention program)
Deep in the hearts of guide dogs convention program, Guide Dog Users, Inc. Final
Deep in the Hearts of Guide Dogs 2015 Convention Program
President: Penny Reeder
Program Chair: Lilian Scaife
Registration: $15
GDUI’s Suite hours:
• Sunday July 5, noon to 5:00 PM
• Monday and Tuesday, July 6 & 7, 10:00AM to 5:00 PM
• Wednesday, July 8, 9:00AM to 12 noon.
Sunday, July 5
8:00 AM — 9:00 AM
GDUI Hotel Orientation
Once you learn your way around the hotel, you and your guide dog will zip through convention crowds and arrive at your destination relaxed and on time! Orientation provided by seasoned guide dog trainers and volunteers who understand the needs of guide dog users and our dogs.
11:00 AM — 12:00 PM
Helping Your Dog Adjust to the stresses of Convention Life
Presenter Becky Barnes Davidson
If this is your first convention or the first in a long time, this is a great way to learn tips for making the chaos of convention a less stressful experience for you and your dog. Presenters will share tips on dealing with all of those long mobility canes slashing back and forth at the level of your dogs’ heads, coping with the relief areas, finding help when you need it, meeting and greeting people and other dogs, and taking advantage of the respite offered in the GDUI Suite.
12:00 PM: GDUI Suite opens –
Socialize, take a break, and learn all about GDUI’s products from our very own Connie Jacomini. Give your dog the luxury of a 10-15 minute tension relieving and restorative canine massage by Carla Campbell; a professional canine massage therapist for $20, available by appointment and walk-in basis (Sunday-Wednesday). Don’t miss our “Silent Auction” where you can bid on a multitude of goodies ranging from tech gadgets to digital books to jewelry to a tasty treat from Penny’s kitchen. You’ll want to try your chances at our raffling of “Dallas,” a beautiful plush black lab winnable through either 3 raffle tickets for $5 or 7 for $10.00, as well as the GDUI Drawing, where a $10 chance might lead to all manner of prizes, including the Grand Prize of $1,000, and much more! The GDUI Suite is the place to be!
2:00 PM — 4:00 PM
Affiliate round-up (Location to be announced)
Affiliate representatives should come and introduce themselves to Debbie Grub, GDUI’s Affiliates’ Liaison. To assure that each affiliate’s votes count during the GDUI Caucus and business meeting.
4:00 PM – 5:00 PM
GDUI Board meeting and annual report
President: Penny Reeder

Monday, July 6
6:45 AM — 8:15 AM
GDUI Breakfast Club (meet in lobby)
The Mad Hatter Café
Treat your dog to a short two-block walk, treat yourself to the best in Southern breakfast fare, and visit with GDUI friends and their dog guides.
7:30 AM — 8:30 AM
GDUI Hotel Orientation
Once you learn your way around the hotel, you and your guide dog will zip through convention crowds and arrive at your destinations relaxed and on time! Orientation provided by seasoned guide dog trainers and volunteers who understand the needs of guide dog users and our dogs.
1:15 PM — 5:30 PM
GDUI Opening Session
1:15 introductions and preview of the Convention Program
2:45 PM
Self-familiarization to new environments: help your guide dog and yourself become oriented quickly and safely to a new location or unusual situation. Learn the basics from a seasoned trainer!
Presenter: David Locklin, Class Coordinator — Leader Dogs for the Blind, Rochester Heights, MI
4:15 PM Guide Dog School Updates
What’s going on at the guide dog schools? What changes have they made over the past year, and what are they planning for the future? What are the qualifications that prospective students need to meet? Are there innovations coming, and
What do we need to know about them?
Always a highlight at the GDUI convention, the Guide Dog Schools Round-up lets us hear from the people who know the most about our schools.
7:15 PM to 10:00 PM – $15 $17
The Deep in the Hearts of Guide Dogs, Guide Dog Schools Appreciation Reception
As dog guide users, we all know how important our schools’ investments in personnel, breeding and acquisition of dogs, training time, and money are for creating excellent matches for each of us.
We at GDUI want to recognize and thank all of the guide dog schools for the time, energy and dollars they pour into our partnerships. As our way of saying thank you The 2015 GDUI Program Committee is pleased to host our Deep in the Hearts of Guide Dogs, Guide Dog Schools Appreciation Reception. Come and Express your gratitude to the professionals who make it possible for us to achieve greater independence through our partnerships with our guide dogs.
Cash bar and snacks.
Tuesday, July 7
6:45 AM — 8:15 AM
GDUI Breakfast Club (meet in lobby)
The Mad Hatter Café
Treat your dog to a short two-block walk, treat yourself to the best in Southern breakfast fare, and visit with GDUI friends and their dog guides.
Trainers will be available to assist with mobility questions and solve any problems.
1:15PM — 5:30 PM GDUI Program
1:15 Past, Present & Future of Guide Dog Harnesses
Did you know that the first guide dog users didn’t even have a handle to hold onto? Learn how harnesses have evolved over time, and what we might expect from the “space-age materials” of the future.
Presenter: Lukas Franck, Senior Consultant, Special Projects, the Seeing Eye, Morristown, NJ
2:45 PM Dual Purpose Service Dogs
Sometimes blindness is not the least challenging of our disabilities. Learn about guide dogs who are trained to meet the needs of people with additional disabilities.
Presenters:
Robert Wendler, Director of Canine Operations, Guide Dogs of the Desert, Palm Springs, CA
Nicole Meadowcroft, President, Custom Canines Service Dog Academy, Madison, WI
4:15 PM
Emergency Preparedness
Do you know how to prepare yourself and your guide dog for an emergency? What exactly is an emergency preparedness kit? Learn where you and your dog can find shelter if an emergency strikes.
Presenter: Landa Phelan, Certified Emergency Preparedness Instructor, Hawaii Association of the Blind, Honolulu, Hawaii
7:15 PM — 8:30 PM
Guided Massage for the Working Guide: A Hands-On Workshop $6 ($8)
(Limited to 20 participants)
Presenter: Carla Campbell, Professional Canine Massage Therapist, Quadrussage, Menlo Park, CA
Learn & practice simple massage techniques designed to help counteract & reduce long-term impact guide work may have on your dog’s physical & mental well-being. There will also be a brief discussion on guide dog ”wear and tear” and suggestions on how to mitigate those effects anywhere & everywhere.
Wednesday, July 8
6:45 AM — 8:15 AM
GDUI Breakfast Club (meet in lobby)
The Mad Hatter Café
Treat your dog to a short two-block walk, treat yourself to the best in Southern breakfast fare, and visit with GDUI friends and their dog guides.
Trainers will be available to assist with mobility questions and solve any problems.
12:15 PM — 2:30 PM
GDUI Luncheon & Presentation $28 ($30)
Dr. Amanda Florsheim DVM, Dallas TX.
Do you wonder exactly how dogs communicate with each other and how this may impact your guide dog’s interactions with the dogs you meet along your way? During this talk, we will discuss visual, auditory, olfactory and other ways that dogs communicate with one another. We will also discuss how service dogs may be more limited in these options while working and how this could impact other dogs’ responses to them
Drawing for Dallas and raffle
2:45 PM
GDUI Business Meeting & Caucus
4:15 PM — 5:30 PM
Guided Massage for the Working Guide: A Hands-On Workshop $6 ($8)
(Limited to 20 participants)
Presenter: Carla Campbell, Professional Canine Massage Therapist, Quadrussage, Menlo Park, CA
Learn & practice simple massage techniques designed to help counteract & reduce long-term impact guide work may have on your dog’s physical & mental well-being. There will also be a brief discussion on guide dog ”wear and tear” and suggestions on how to mitigate those effects anywhere & everywhere.

Note: Jenine Stanley has recruited a cadre of dedicated volunteers who will be available all week to answer your questions and assist you with solving doggie “pic-up” and other relief-area concerns.
We wish to thank our entire dedicated deep in the Hearts of Guide Dogs team whose members have worked so hard and so cooperatively to make the 2015 convention a success! What a team! Thank you, each of you.
Sincerely,
Lilian Scaife, GDUI Convention Program Committee Chair
Guide Dog Users, Inc.

****
Disaster Assistance and Preparedness Program (DAPP) Report
May 2015

The DAPP team is happy to announce we have not received any requests for financial assistance from any GDUI member. We are extremely happy to learn our members are safe, doing well and living the dream with their guide dogs!

DAPP team member, Ken Metz wrote a wonderful summary of an emergency situation he experienced called, “PLANNING AHEAD FOR YOUR GUIDE DOG WHEN YOU ARE TAKEN TO THE EMERGENCY ROOM OF A HOSPITAL”. By sharing his unexpected situation, it shines a light on how important it is for all guide/service dog handlers to have a plan in place for either family or friends who will care for our dogs while we recover from a medical situation.

Ken’s message was shared on the leadership, chat and board Email lists.

Ms. Landa Phelan will be giving a presentation during the GDUI activities at the ACB 2015 Convention. If you are in Dallas, don’t miss Landa’s presentation! She will be discussing emergency preparedness for you and your guide dog. Landa will describe important items to have in your emergency backpack.

Until next time, safe travels!
Respectfully submitted,
Sarah Calhoun, DAPP chair

****
Editor’s Report:
The deadline for the spring issue is past. It will be shorter than usual, but it will get out in time for the pre-convention information to be relevant.

The fall issue deadline is August 14.
Nolan

****
Fund-raising Committee Report to the Board of Directors
May 30, 2015

Dear Colleagues:
The Fund-Raising Committee has been very active throughout the month of May.

At the top of our agenda are our efforts to have a successful summer drawing on behalf of Guide Dog Users, Inc. At present, we are fast approaching $2,000 in donations for this Drawing. The winners will be announced at the Luncheon of our National Convention to be held on Wednesday, July 8, 2015, in Dallas, Texas. The final collection of drawing donations will conclude on Tuesday, July 7, at 5 p.m. Central time.

Our prizes are as follows:

$1,000 in cash donated by Helping Hands For The Blind
A $500 Gift Certificate donated by Helping Hands For The Blind
A $500 Silpada Jewelry Gift Card
A Keurig Coffee Maker
A George Foreman Grill with removable plates donated by Robert Acosta
A Sky-Wave Radio donated by the C. Crane Company
A lovely chiming clock, which plays 12 songs, donated by Speak to Me, Denise Russell, (800) 248-9965, Extension 104
A Bose Wave Radio donated by Robert Acosta
A Gift Basket containing beachwear and a $500 Gift Certificate for a cruise to be taken within one year donated by Travel One

The tickets are $10 per chance and donors can call Jane Sheehan, our Office Manager at (866) 799-8436. Winners need not be present.

Our Committee is also investigating the possibility of holding a spring 2016 Radio Auction, using the facilities of ACB Radio. In our investigation, we have learned that ACB Radio will charge our affiliate $100 to use one of the stations for such an auction. Prizes will come hopefully from our affiliates, members and friends. We thank Marlaina Lieberg and Larry Turnbull for their guidance in this venture. When we have gathered all of the necessary facts involved with such an auction, we shall present this to the Board of Directors for your advice and hopefully your approval.

Another important matter on the agenda of the Fund-Raising Committee is to gather sponsors for our 2016 GDUI National Convention. Again, we are gathering the facts in order to present a complete report to the Board of Directors for your advice and hopefully your approval.

The Chair of the Fund-Raising Committee is much honored to be invited to speak to affiliate presidents and other leaders on Thursday, May 21.

Finally, may I conclude this Report by thanking the members of the Board of Directors for all of your assistance to the Fund-Raising Committee. I would also like to thank our hard-working committee members on the Fund-Raising Committee for their great ideas and support.

Respectfully Submitted,

Robert Acosta, Chair
Fund-Raising Committee
Guide Dog Users, Inc.

****
Guide Dog School Liaison Report

Attended California State Board of Guide Dog for the Blind Board Meeting on Monday, April 20, 2015 this was a three hour long meeting.

Board Business was short. The Cruz of the meeting focused on the issue out of state trainers providing follow up services to their graduates in California.

California State law requires all guide dog trainers who do business in California (including out of state guide dog schools) to be licensed by state of California.

Much discussion was focused on videotaping requirement for application process. Concerns were for confidentiality of individual(s) being videotaped along with the potential for distractibility of team being taped and stress related to pressure of being taped. California Board seemed to think videotaping a team being trained was not a problem and who would not want to help an Instructor get his/her guide dog trainer license.

Several participants spoke sharing concern about being taped while being trained.

Concerns were mentioned with the fact that those graduates who graduate from California Guide Dog Schools information is sent to the California Guide Dog Board. Are individuals informed this information is being shared with the California Board? Are consent forms signed. Questions were asked regarding what is done with the video tapes after viewed and submitted for approval for licensing.

Jim Kutsch gave a summary of International Guide Dog Federation (IGDF) Standards Full document of standards accompanied pre-teleconference materials.

The IGDF is comprised of over 80 member organizations, whose purpose is to It shares information, experience, methods and standards for both new and existing guide dog schools wishing to improve the quality of their guide dog programs.

Questions were asked regarding having reciprocal agreement with Guide Dog Schools Accredited by IGDF and California Board

Sticking point seems to be weather follow up services are considered training Board agreed to investigate this and at first seemed hesitant to provide an estimated date of when to expect findings or even a preliminary report. Questions arose weather there needs to be a change in California State law to that would enables a trainer from out of state to assist a California Graduate without having to be licensed by California Board.

This is a very sticky and hot issue for many guide dog users in California as well as those living in other states.

Proposed Project:

Met with Dixie Sanderson (Guide Dog Survey) and Vickie Curley (Chair of Special Concerns committee to discuss potential of project to take guide dog survey beyond providing written information for those individuals considering a first guide dog or individual wishing to attend a different guide dog school for his/her next dog.

A Separate document labeled Draft Proposal describes the intent of this project.

I’ve written up basics of this project for board approval of said project the
Respectfully Submitted

Pat Hill
Guide Dog School Liaison

****
Guide Dog School Survey Update
May 2015

As of today the 2015 Guide Dog School Survey is up on the GuideDogUsersInc.org website.

At the following link:
http://guidedogusersinc.org/resources/gdui-school-survey/

A great big thank you to both Will and Ted for all of your time and effort to get this project published.

Also, thank you very much to the staff at the guide dog schools who took time to answer the questions in this lengthy survey.

To date the followings schools have submitted a completed 2015 GDUI Guide Dog School Survey.

“Fidelco Guide Dog Foundation
Freedom Guide Dogs
Gallant Hearts Guide Dog Center
Guide Dogs for the Blind
“Guide Dogs of America
Guiding Eyes for the Blind
“Leader Dogs for the Blind
Mira Foundation USA
Southeastern Guide Dogs,
The Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind Inc.
The OccuPaws Guide Dog Association
The Seeing Eye Inc.

Three of the above named school surveys are still in editing, Fidelco, Southeastern and Mira Foundation.

The following schools have not responded:
Custom Canines Service Dog Academy
Guide Dogs of Texas, Inc.
Guide dogs of the Desert
Independence Guide Dogs
Kansas Specialty Dog Service, Incorporated
Pilot Dogs

And, Eye of the Pacific Guide Dogs and Mobility Services, Incorporated did respond with a statement that the survey didn’t pertain to their program.
Their program basically provides the funding for Hawaiian students to go to a couple of overseas guide dog programs.

Dixie

****
Membership Committee Report
May 24, 2015

This will be a short update since we have had only one meeting since the last GDUI board meeting. We met on April 9, 2015. All of our members were not able to attend but since we did not really have any decisions to make we went ahead and had a meeting. By the time this meeting took place most of the life members had been contacted to make sure they were receiving information from GDUI in their preferred format. We all really enjoyed talking with these members and they seemed to enjoy having been contacted. I would like to thank my committee members for taking time out of their busy lives to help make these calls.

There is still interest in working on the possibility of beginning a fund for guide dogs that have serious health issues. We have a lot of groundwork to do first and this will be discussed again at our June phone meeting. It may take us several months before we have a plan if we feel we are able to get something like this off the ground.

The business cards should be ready in time for our convention in July.

I still have a goal of contacting vendors to see if they are interested in giving discounts to our members. I have not worked on this project recently due to various circumstances and work but have a goal to spend more time working on this project before our next board meeting.

In closing, I would like to thank all the members of the committee for their support and their willingness to help with our various projects. I would also like to thank Annie Chiappetta for helping with any writing that has to be done. It is very much appreciated.

If any GDUI member has any suggestions you would like for us to work on that would benefit members please send me your suggestions.

Respectfully submitted
Membership Committee chair
Betsy Grenevitch

****
Nominating Committee Report:
May 2015

The committee is happy to announce we have three GDUI members running for two director positions on the board. The candidates are: Vicki Curley (Incumbent), Ken Metz and Dixie Sanderson (Incumbent). Thank you to our candidates for participating in the upcoming election. We wish each and every candidate the best of luck!

The Nominating Committee held two telephonic Candidate Forums. The first one was on Saturday, April 25, 2015 and the second on Friday, May 8, 2015. This was a wonderful opportunity to get to know our candidates and ask them questions before voting begins on Saturday, May 30th and closes on June 7, 2015.

We encourage every GDUI member to vote in the upcoming elections and the proposed Bylaws! For those members using a computer, Vote Now will email you the instructions and your personal identification number.
For members who don’t use a computer, Vote Now will mail via USPs the instructions and your personal identification number.

I want to thank Will Burley, GDUI First Vice-President for temporarily taking over my duties as chair of the Nominating Committee in my unexpected absence. Thank you Will for stepping up and stepping in and making sure our candidates were highlighted and showcased in the best possible way during the two candidate and Bylaws forums!

Respectfully submitted,
Sarah Calhoun, chair of the Nominating Committee

****
Office Manager Report:
I really don’t have anything to report for the office manager’s report: the spring PawTracks is out, products are going well. Status quo here. I will prepare the income and expenses report and send to Lynn before the deadline.
Jane Sheehan

****
Products Report:
Committee members: Maria, Penny, Lynn and Ginger.

So far, the Products Committee has spent $324.07 on new products for the GDUI suite. These include some fabulous travel beds, salmon treats, micro fiber bone shaped towels, micro fiber drying mitts with bone and paw print designs and cooling bandanas. Quantities are limited so shop early.

Sarah forwarded our Nonprofit Tax I.D. to the company so they waved the 8.9 percent sales tax and we also took advantage of an additional 40 percent discount. We will be able to offer these products at a discount from the retail price and still make a nice profit.

The Committee will be meeting again soon to consider additional products.

Maria Hansen
Chair: Products Committee

****
Program Committee Report

Everything is on schedule.
Website
– End users had issues with the site that have now been resolved.
– The convention page is up and includes everything related to the convention.
School Sponsorship – Guide Dog School Appreciation – Tribute Booklet
– Deadline date has been moved to June 12th to sign up for the tribute booklet

Dallas Raffle
– Tickets continue being sold for 3 for $5 or 7 for $10 via the site.
– The corresponding site has been tested by the program team.
– The revised website will be announced via advertisements soon.

Mad Hatter Cafe Menus
– Will be sent to webmaster next week to upload

Auction
– GDUI Auction Catalog will be uploaded by no later than June 15th.
– Auction items are still coming in.
– I want to thank everyone that has donated to the GDUI auction

Puppy Raiser Clubs
– Reached out to them in the Dallas area for volunteers.

GDUI Ambassadors
– Will be collaborating with the GDUI Chair of Memberships for GDUI ambassadors.

Twitter Group
– Volunteers consisting of GDUI members both attending and not-attending the convention will be tweeting of the event’s activities throughout the day.

Respectfully submitted by
Lillian Scaife Program Chair

****
Publications Committee Report for May 2015
Compiled by Annie Chiappetta, Co-Chair
With assistance by Michael Malver, Co-Chair

Greetings, we are happy to announce that since our last report, the email lists are working well. Thanks go out to Ken Metz for helping out with the moderating. We are helping out with various projects for the convention.
Assisting the Program Committee with assembling the Guide Dog Schools Appreciation tribute booklet.
Assisted in preparing the reception letter
Assisted in preparing the donation letter for reception
Assisted in proofing the GDUI program
Assisted the Membership Committee in selecting the type and printing on the business cards

Social Media Activities
Facebook: holding steady at 87 likes. Boosting post does cost money, so word-of-mouth has to be the best option for us right now unless we want to pay to boost the page/posts.
Posting relevant material on Facebook along with the President and 1st VP
Reviewing posts from followers and making sure the posts are relevant or removing them if spam.
Twitter:
We now have 38 followers.
For the past month, our account has sent out several tweets a week. Many were convention-related, but information on why not to pet service dogs, as well as a helpful video on Guide and Assistance Dog etiquette was also tweeted.
Program Chair, Lilian S. and President Penny are working on recruiting a team to tweet during the GDUI convention activities/ACB highlights.

Publication Project:
“Is a Guide Dog the Right Choice for you?” booklet is in final proofing stages. Once it is proofread and approved by Penny and the Publications Committee, it will be posted on the website and a press release will be distributed. We may wish to consider obtaining quotes for a professional printing service to format and print fold over booklets in large print. We should also consider copyrighting the publications. Currently, the publications committee has no budget line, so this request will go in for next year’s budget in 2016.
The other smaller pamphlets are being revised and combined and may be less complicated in formatting for printing. These should also be considered for copyrighting.
All pamphlets and the booklet will be able to be printed from the website regardless of whether or not we wish to print hard copies. Hard copies do fill table space and folks do request them so it is something to think about.
This concludes the Publications Committee Report.

****
Public Relations/Website Report:
May 2015

The PR/Website Committee has been hard at work preparing for the GDUI 2015 convention. Below is a list of updates to the website related to convention:

Created the Dallas Drawing Page
Created Dallas Drawing Form
Linked Dallas Drawing Form To PayPal
Added Dallas Drawing Form to Dallas Drawing Page
Created School Reception Sponsorship Page
Created School Reception Sponsorship Form
Linked School Reception Sponsorship Form to PayPal
Added School Reception Sponsorship Form to School Reception Sponsorship page
Created Summer Drawing Page
Created Summer Drawing Form
Linked Summer Drawing Form to PayPal
Added Summer Drawing Form to Summer Drawing Page
Created Food Menu Page
Created Silent Auction Page
Created Top Bidder Blog Category
Created 2015 Convention Page
Added Auction Call to Action to 2015 Convention Home Page
Added Top Bidder to 2015 Convention Home Page
Created 2015 Convention Menu
Added 2015 Convention Menu to all 2015 Convention Pages
Created Dallas Drawing graphic
Added Dallas Drawing Graphic to Convention Home Page
Linked Dallas Drawing graphic to Dallas Drawing Page
Created Summer Drawing graphic
Added Summer Drawing Graphic to Convention Home Page
Linked Summer Drawing graphic to Summer Drawing Page
Created School Reception Sponsorship Graphic
Added School Reception Sponsorship Graphic to Convention Home Page
Linked School Reception Sponsorship Graphic to School Sponsorship Page
Added Call to Action at top of site home page leading to Emergency Preparedness page
Created 2015 Convention Graphic
Added 2015 Convention Graphic To site home page
Linked 2015 Convention Graphic to site home page.
Restored Donation Form to Original Form before Convention Additions.

We are still awaiting a few items from the Programs Committee and we will be done with convention updates.

An invoice for these updates will be coming as soon as all items are received from the Programs Committee to webmaster@guidedogusersinc.org.

We recently added the Guide Dog School surveys and there are a few more that will be added.

Looking Ahead:

The Committee will be working on creating a standard operating procedure document to assist board members, committee chairs and volunteers with knowing and understanding the correct procedures for proposed updates to the website, turnaround times, cutoff deadlines for event updates, etc.

The Committee will also work with the Budget and Finance Committee on assessing the feasibility of a charge back budget for major updates to the website by committees.

The Committee will also convene to determine upcoming contract needs for the type of website we have, realistic needs of GDUI, costs, etc. The Committee will work with the Budget and Finance Committee and ultimately the board. The members have been chosen for the project and once hearing from everyone, that list will be forwarded to the board.

Respectfully submitted by Will Burley

****
Special Concerns Report:
Hello everyone, I hope spring has been good to you. I am still sporting a pretty purple cast as it is going to take some time for my left hand to heal. Unfortunately, I cannot work my dog at this time. I am so looking forward to having this cast removed so Valor and I can get out and enjoy this terrific spring, summer weather.

The Empathizer team is poised and ready to assist anyone who might be dealing with difficult issues involving the working or otherwise relationship with our wonderful guides. They have not only reached out over the phone to folks, but they have reached out through email as well. Whatever needs to happen to let folks know that there are dog guide handlers ready and willing to lend a listening ear whenever it is needed.

Dixie Sanderson, Pat Hill, and I would like to bring forth a project for the board’s approval at the May 30 meeting. This project could easily fall under the guide dog school liaison or special concerns committee. The three of us will be seeking the board’s approval on a project that apparently has been near and dear to all of our hearts for a long time. We are very excited about this project and are looking forward to sharing the details with the board. There will be much more information in the guy dog school liaison report.

Respectfully submitted, Vicki Curley special concerns committee chair.

****
Treasurer’s Report:
GDUI Treasurer’s Report
Income and Expenses
January 1 – May 22, 2015

Checking account balances as of January 1, 2015:
Capital One Bank: $10,708.86
Carrollton Bank: $2,570.04
Total checking account opening balance: $13,278.90
First Georgetown balance as of March 25, 2015: $117,007

Income:
Capital One Bank: $5,592.52
Carrollton Bank: $6,382.00
Total income: $11,974.52, broken down as follows:

Fund-raising income: $5,728.52
Sales through MissionFish $8.52
2015 summer drawing chances: $1,600.00
Silpada jewelry party: $550.00
Donations, unspecified: $2,350.00
Donations, unspecified from ACB/MMS: $220.00
2015 summer drawing prize $1,000.00

Membership income: $3,605.00
Dues, 2015: $1,110.00
Dues, 2015, from affiliates: $1,380.00
Dues, 2016: $15.00
Dues, life membership: $1,100.00

Product income: $2,166.00
Product sales: $2,004.00
Product shipping: $162.00

Program income: $475.00
Dallas stuffed dog raffle: $100.00
Tribute book sponsorships: $375.00
Expenses:
Capital One Bank: $3,044.16
Carrollton Bank: $1,194.11
Total expenses: $4,238.27, broken down as follows:

Legislative Expenses: $196.00
Travel: $196.00

Membership expenses: $2,336.51
Per capita to ACB: $2,185.00
Copying voting info for members: $136.53
Business cards: $14.98

National office expenses: $631.25
Credit card processing fees: $451.11
PayPal processing fees: $34.39
Telephone: $145.75

Product expenses: $868.46
Product Mailing and handling: $329.89
Product purchase: $538.87

Publications expenses: $205.75
Mailing: $5.75
Production, 2014 PawTracks: $200.00

Closing checking account balances as of May 22, 2015:
Capital One Bank: $13,257.22
Carrollton Bank: $7,757.93
Total ending balance: $21,015.15
First Georgetown balance as of May 22, 2015: $119,154.00

Respectfully,

Lynn Merrill
(End of committee reports)
+++++
GDUI Board Meeting Minutes
July 5, 2015 during the ACB Convention
In attendance:
Penny Reeder, President: Will Burley, First Vice President: Maria Hansen, Second Vice President: Sarah Calhoun, Secretary and Lynn Merrill, Treasurer.
Directors:
Bob Acosta, Vickie Curley, Betsy Grenevitch and Dixie Sanderson.
Debbie Grubb, Affiliate Liaison.
Excused absence: Anne Chiappetta, Director: Jane Sheehan, Director: Nolan Crabb, PawTracks Editor and Pat Hill, Guide Dog School Liaison.

President Penny Reeder opened the meeting with welcoming remarks.

The group approved the meeting agenda and additions.

Maria Hansen made a motion to upgrade the Louisville Ladies suite accommodations for them to have access to breakfast and a happy hour each day during the GDUI convention. The extra cost of $30.00 per room for a total of $120.00. A donation of $60.00 towards the extra cost was offered by Vickie Curley.
The motion was seconded by Bob Acosta. Prior to voting by acclamation, discussion took place. Motion carried.

President Reeder nominated Dixie Sanderson to the Budget and Finance Committee. Seconded by Vickie Curley. Prior to voting by acclamation, discussion took place. Motion carried.

Agenda item, Old business:
Even though the telephone weekly announcements have low activity, Bob Acosta will still produce them at a cost of $5.00 per month.

Maria Hansen explained, an emergency budget and finance meeting was held in order to approve the additional funds for the voting system provided by Vote Now. In the original proposal it was thought that it covered the cost of Vote Now mailings to members without a computer. The mailed packet included their identification information, telephone number of the voting system, and date and time. It was found later it did not cover that cost. An additional $435.00 needed to be approved immediately for the elections to take place.

In addition, the budget and finance committee approved additional funds of $412.00 to our Web Master of extra hours over and above our contractual agreement.

Agenda item, New Business:
The group discussed the issue of California State Board of Guide Dogs for the Blind not allowing guide dog instructors from out-of-state schools who do not hold a license by that board, to provide follow-up services to their California clients.

President Penny Reeder stated, Guide Dog Users of California (GDUC) has asked GDUI to support and assist in writing a resolution on this topic expressing our disapproval. The resolution would be presented to ACB during the convention for approval.

President Reeder requested the board to be polled so each individual could state his or her position regarding GDUI’s involvement in writing of a resolution.

All board members agreed that GDUI representatives should be involved in composing a resolution.

Meeting adjourned.

Note: Please see attachment after my signature.

Respectfully submitted,
Sarah Calhoun, GDUI Secretary

Below are four attachments recording voting and there results which took place on the Board Email list.

Attachment #1:
Three motions submitted by Maria Hansen via the GDUI board list, July 27, 2015.

Members of the Budget and Finance Committee (Maria, Lynn, Will, Sarah, Jane, and Dixie) met on Wednesday evening to address a few issues that needed attention. The Budget & Finance Committee is submitting the following three motions to the voting members of the Board for approval via email.

GDUI approves that a debit card for our Capital One checking account be issued to Sarah Calhoun.
Motion seconded by Bob Acosta. Motion unanimously passed via board Email list.

2. Vote to give Sarah Calhoun access to the Guide Dog Users, Inc. PayPal
account with transfer authority directly to our account with Capital One.
Motion seconded by Bob Acosta. Motion unanimously passed via board Email list.

3. Move to increase the line item for shipping under office expenses in the
2015 Budget by an additional $300 and to balance that expenditure by taking those funds from the greater-than-expected funds raised from the Summer Raffle line item.
Motion seconded by Will Burley. Motion unanimously carried.

Attachment #2:
Second motion and results via the GDUI board list, August 15, 2015.

President Penny Reeder formally made a motion for Connie Jacomini to be named as our GDUI Products Committee Chair.
The motion was seconded by Vickie Curley. Prior to voting via the GDUI board list, discussion took place. Motion unanimously carried.

Attachment #3:
Third motion and results via the GDUI board list, August 27, 2015.

Bob Acosta made a motion for the Board of Directors of Guide Dog users, Inc. approve a Radio Auction for GDUI to be conducted by the Fund-Raising Committee on Sunday, April 3, 2016, at a two-hour time slot approved by ACB Radio at the cost of one-hundred dollars.

I sincerely hope to receive a second and welcome discussion.
The GDUI Radio Auction will in essence follow the rules set forth by ACB for its Auction near Christmas. We shall seek prizes of a certain value to be specified at a later time from our members and friends.
We hope to make two thousand dollars on this auction. We shall seek no prizes from corporations, but just from our members and our friends.
I sincerely hope that the Board will see its way clear to approve this Motion.

The motion was seconded by Lynn Merrill. Prior to voting via the GDUI board list, discussion took place. The motion unanimously carried.

Attachment #4:
Fourth motion and results via the GDUI board list on September 12, 2015.

Lynn Merrill made the following motion.
I move that the proposed letter, which was composed by the task force led by Charlie Crawford, be approved by the GDUI Board of Directors and sent to DOJ. Further, if seconded, I vote yes!

Lynn Merrill

The motion was seconded by Sarah Calhoun. Prior to voting via the GDUI board list, discussion took place. The motion unanimously carried.

Attachment #5:
Fifth motion and results via the GDUI board list on September 13, 2015.

Will burley made the following motion:
I would like to make the motion that the below language be used as the shell of the forthcoming webmaster contract.

Note: Along with the motion, the language of the proposed webmaster contract was submitted in its entirety.

The motion was seconded by Sarah Calhoun.

Download link:Paw Tracks Fall 2015