The Booty Dilemma

By Ann Chiappetta

Yes, it’s that time of year again, so dust off those fleece lined boots and air out your winter coats, gloves and hats. Don’t forget the lip balm and sunglasses for chapped skin and snow glare.

While we’re on the subject of winter accoutrements for the two-footed species, being a dog owner and most importantly, a guide dog handler, I am reminded to make sure Bailey has his winter outerwear as well.

The type of doggie gear I am referring to is the dreaded booties. I don’t think any dog likes them, but rather, dogs tolerate them. Some dogs refuse to wear them. Bailey, thankfully, is putting up with them, preferring them to ice-crusted toes. We trained together in March in New York and it was still frigid, cold and wet during training. We had plenty of booty practice during class.
Brrr, sounds uncomfortable, right? So, then why do dogs dislike booties? Why, if they are above the grade in intelligence because they are guide dogs, can’t they at least embrace the booties?

This is what I say to Bailey when he assumes a defeated posture whenever I bring out the footwear and ask for a paw. If I were a dog and I had to slosh through icy water I think I’d want some protection, right?
First, the tail drops, then the head droops and the ears hang low, and finally, dejectedly, he allows me to pick up a foot and insert a paw into a booty.
If that isn’t bad enough, he assumes the duck walk, which is very humiliating for a dignified Labrador. I realized how much she disliked his booties by the mere fact that he will not take the proffered treat after a paw insertion. Thankfully, after ten minutes or so, the duck walk becomes a prance and the tail and head return to almost normal as we tromp outside into the cold, wet, salt sprinkled weather,
“It’s better than cold feet, right?”
I say as the wind whips past my collar and stings my face and cheeks. He shakes and I wish I could read his thoughts. My mothering instincts know that his big, dumbo ears are getting colder by the minute. I wonder if someone has considered inventing doggie ear muffs, and if I could get him to wear them.

Self-Advocacy and Ground Transportation

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


How to File a Complaint Against Publically Operated Transportation Services

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


How to File a Complaint Against Privately-Operated Transportation Services

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


FAQs About Transportation Services

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

ACB Lawsuit Against D.C. Taxi Companies

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

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

You and your Guide Dog welcomes Penny Reeder

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

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


Hope to talk with many of you this evening.

Bob Acosta

Disaster Assistance and Preparedness Program (DAPP)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sarah Calhoun, Chair (Missouri)

Home: 636-942-5956

Cell: 314-753-5191

Bob Acosta (California)

Home: 818-9980044

Cell: 818-620-2200

Ann Chiappetta (New York)

Cell: 914-393-6605

Lynn Merrill, GDUI Treasurer (Maine)

Cell: 207-458-1362

Ken Metz (California)

Home: 818-882-3610

Cell: 323-793-1805

Dixie Sanderson (Connecticut)

Cell: 203-453-6474

Ron Brooks, Arizona Cell: 602-616-1171

Jane Sheehan, Office Manager (Maryland)


Revised 10/2014 A.C.