PawTracks Winter 2015

Winter 2015
Volume XLIII, No. 4
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:
Toll-Free: (866) 799-8436

Table of Contents
President’s Message: Welcome to Winter by Penny Reeder
Announcing the GDUI 2016 Elections
Thoughts from the Editor: Strengthening the Handler/Dog Bond by Nolan Crabb
Join Us On a Sea Cruise to Bermuda by Robert Acosta
No One Gets Lost On a Cruise Ship by Vicky Curley
Thoughts and Tips on Using Uber with a Guide Dog by Mike May
GDUI Affiliate Presidents and Leaders Meeting by Debbie Grubb
Spring Radio Auction by Robert Acosta
Preaching to the Choir: Things Only Guide Dog Handlers Understand: Dogless in Minneapolis by Rebecca Kragnes
Update on the Summer Drawing by Robert Acosta
Board Meeting Minutes and Committee Reports, September 26, 2015
Board Special Meeting Minutes, October 22, 2015
Board Meeting Minutes and Committee Reports, November 21, 2015
Board Special Meeting Minutes, December 20, 2015
Contributors to This Issue
President’s Message: Welcome to Winter
by Penny Reeder
Hello, GDUI Members, and welcome to winter!

I’m not exactly sure how we got here, well into 2016, already, but here we are, like winter weather or not, and even if we aren’t particularly fond of the moisture that falls from the sky and accumulates underfoot when temperatures drop, it’s a sure thing that most of our guide dogs love catching those flakes on their tongues and chasing the snowballs we lob into the air for their pleasure! So, welcome, Winter, welcome season of holidays, family gatherings, beautiful music, flickering candles, gift giving, and good cheer!

We have a new webmaster for GDUI. His name is Steve Zelaya; he has been working hard updating our website, applying a new, easier-to-use layout, and finding a website plug-in, which was up and operational in early December, to make it easier for all of you to join or renew your membership online at The new software incorporates features which will allow us to update our records more comprehensively and serve you more efficiently, and–I know GDUI has been promising for a number of years now, and it hasn’t happened yet … but–this plug-in will allow us to make PawTracks downloadable from the web site soon, and we think you’ll like that change as well.

Welcome to Steve, and thanks, Steve and Will, and others for continuing to improve our web site and to expand our online presence.

Do visit our website to update your membership, and encourage guide dog users whom you know to do the same. If you’re more comfortable on the phone than online, we welcome you to call our office manager, Sarah Calhoun, who will be happy to collect your information and make you an official GDUI member for 2016.

2015 did speed along quite quickly, and that’s probably because we in GDUI were so busy. Lillian Scaife and her excellent Program Committee planned and held one of GDUI’s most successful conventions, ever. If you couldn’t attend, there are still several program segment recordings online for your listening pleasure. Our guide dog schools reception was very special and very much appreciated by the guide dog schools, and the Deep in the Hearts of Guide Dogs Reception Tribute booklet, with messages from many of you–and some of your dogs–is also still online. Next summer’s convention will be even bigger and better, Lillian says, so start saving your pennies and making travel plans for Minneapolis, where GDUI’s convention program will commence on Sunday, July 3. There will be more convention-related news in the Spring issue of PawTracks, and we are hopeful that many of our members and friends will be able to attend.

GDUI leaders and advocates have spent many productive hours, sharing advice and providing listening ears for guide dog users across the country. In addition, we have not given up in our efforts to convince the California State Guide Dog Board to accommodate the needs of Californians who need follow-up services from schools certified by the International Guide Dog Federation but without trainers with California State Board licenses. We continue to urge all of you who live in California to discuss this important issue with your state legislators. The problems associated with the still-growing practice of calling untrained pets service dogs and bringing them into public venues continue to plague our members in just about every region of the country, and GDUI continues to reach out to local authorities, chambers of commerce, restaurateur’s, and businesspeople to educate, explain, and work to lessen the number of such incidents. Our legislative committee, chaired by Ginger Kutsch, is available to advise any of you, or any GDUI affiliates, who are discussing this issue with your legislators. Transportation continues to be hard to come by for many of us, no matter where we live, and the problem of being refused transit by taxicab drivers–including Uber and Lyft drivers–comes up for too many of us with unacceptable frequency. One would think that, 25 years after passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, we wouldn’t still be talking about this issue, suing taxicab companies (as ACB is doing right now in Washington, DC) , and reporting ADA violations to the U.S. Department of Justice! If you need help–or just want a listening ear–after being left at the curb while a taxicab driver screeches away after denying you a ride, GDUI is here for you!

GDUI’s fundraising committee is planning several exciting events in 2016, including an ACB Radio auction in early April, another exciting drawing for a variety of coveted prizes at next summer’s GDUI convention luncheon, a fantastic convention silent auction which will take place during our convention in Minnesota, and a cruise to Bermuda, which is planned for the week of October 9 through 16!

I know you will enjoy this issue of PawTracks where you will read about many of these events in more detail. Thank you for all of your support and friendship during 2015. We feel like we have made good progress toward restoring the democracy and membership empowerment which historically characterized our organization. We are proud of our new bylaws and grateful to all of you for your participation in our election and voting for their adoption. We are excited that many long-time members are returning to our GDUI family and new members are joining as well. Thank you, all.

Penny and Willow
Announcing the GDUI 2016 Elections
The 2016 GDUI Elections will commence Saturday, May 21, 2016 12 AM Eastern Time and conclude on Sunday, May 29, 2016 at 11:59 PM Eastern Time.

GDUI is seeking candidates for the following positions in our May 2016 elections:

• President (two-year Term)
• First Vice President (two-year Term)
• Second Vice President (two-year Term)
• Secretary (two-year Term)
• Treasurer (two-year Term)
• Two Director Seats (three-year term)
• One interim director seat (one-year term)

GDUI members in good standing are eligible to run for a position on the GDUI Board. Interested candidates should submit an application, resume and cover letter to the Nominations Committee Chair, Dixie Sanderson, by March 20, 2016.

GDUI members who have paid their dues by this year’s record date of March 31, 2016 will be eligible to vote in the May elections. GDUI is proud of its universally accessible voting system. If you have not renewed your membership, now is the time to do so. This will allow you to vote in our universally accessible elections this coming May. GDUI is proud of our voting system in which each member of GDUI is entitled to a voice in the election of our GDUI Board.

A membership in GDUI costs $15 per person per year and includes an annual subscription to PawTracks, our quarterly magazine. Dues/subscriptions may be paid online by going to or by credit card by calling (866) 799-8436; or by mailing your check to GUIDE DOG USERS, INC. C/O Sarah Calhoun, 3603 Morgan Way, Imperial, MO 63052 and made payable to GDUI.

Important dates to remember:
In order to be eligible to vote in the 2016 GDUI election, your dues must have been received on or before the record date of March 31, 2016.

We will hold two candidate Forums prior to the elections. Phone numbers for these calls will be publicized closer to the dates.

Candidate Forum One:
Thursday, April 21, 8:00 PM EDT.
Candidate Forum Two:
Saturday, May 14, 1:00 PM EDT

Between the dates of April 1, 2016 and April 10, 2016 we encourage members to submit questions for your candidates. Please submit your questions to the Nominations Chair, Dixie Sanderson, and include “Forum Question” in the subject line of your message.

Election dates:
Saturday, May 21, 2016 12 AM Eastern Time through Sunday, May 29, 2016 at 11:59 PM Eastern Time.

Application for Candidacy:
GDUI has three major responsibilities:
• To promote the acceptance of guide dog teams by all agencies, employers, educational institutions, commercial establishments, and the general public;
• To work for the expansion, standardization, and enforcement of legal provisions, both civil and criminal, governing the rights and responsibilities of guide dog users in the areas of public access, employment, housing, personal injury to dog and handler, transportation, and recreation; and
• To work in cooperation with guide dog training providers by contributing constructive input concerning selection, training, health care, and accommodations for both canine and human students, and providing constructive suggestions that will improve the quality of the training experience.

With these goals in mind, please answer the following questions:
Position for which you wish to be a candidate:
Applicant’s Name:
Street Address:
City/State/zip code:
Phone number
E-mail Address:
Are you a guide dog user?
Describe your background (Educational, occupational and general experience.)
Why do you WISH to serve on the GDUI Board?
Which of your skills and experiences would most support Board activities?
Please describe a time when a group of which you were a part accomplished its goal(s): What caused the group to be successful? How did you contribute to this success?

The GDUI Board of Directors uses e-mail to communicate with one another. Are you able to communicate effectively using this medium and do you have access to e-mail?

The GDUI Board of Directors meet every other month by telephone. Meetings last from 2 to 3 hours. Other ad hoc telephonic meetings are sometimes called as well. Board Members are often asked to chair and serve on committees and perform tasks on behalf of GDUI as directed by the officers and committee chairpersons. Will you be able to find time to perform the tasks described above?

Position Descriptions for GDUI Board of Directors
All GDUI officers and Directors must:
• Be willing and able to participate in regularly scheduled meetings and email discussions,
• Always act in a dignified manner and interact respectfully with fellow directors and Officers and agree to abide by GDUI’s current code of conduct for board members,
• Work as a team member to maintain and protect GDUI and its mission,
• Become well versed with GDUI’s constitution,
• Respect the authority of the GDUI constitution and work within its guidance and the requirements of the GDUI Articles of Incorporation,
• Be a collaborative participant in the democratic process respecting the outcome of votes of the membership and votes of the board,
• Possess sufficient computer skills to participate in email work,
• Be flexible for scheduling meeting times. (The GDUI Board meets by phone conference bi-monthly for two or more hours, with committee meetings or other special meetings scheduled separately.)
GDUI Officer and Director Position Descriptions
Responsibilities and Criteria for GDUI President Position
• The GDUI president must be willing and able to accept the legal, fiduciary and ethical responsibilities for an organizational president, in accordance with standard nonprofit practices and procedures.
• The GDUI president must be a GDUI member in good standing.
• The GDUI President must be a guide dog user.
• The GDUI president shall:
o Preside over all meetings; Appoint a vice president to preside over any meeting for which the president’s absence is unavoidable; propose policies and practices to fulfill the mission of GDUI; serve as an ex-officio member of GDUI committees (with the exception of the nominating committee) in compliance with the GDUI Constitution; monitor the performance of directors and officers; submit various reports to the board and to other stakeholders as necessary;
o Propose the creation of committees or task forces to accomplish needed work; appoint chairpersons for committees and task forces; perform other duties as the need arises and/or as defined in the GDUI Constitution.
• The GDUI president shall not be absent from three consecutive board meetings in any year. In the event that serious circumstances make it impossible for the president to attend any meeting of the GDUI Board, the president must inform the first vice president, in advance, and must arrange for either the first or second vice president to take on presidential duties for that meeting.
• The president ensures that an agenda is planned in advance for board meetings. (This may involve periodic meetings with committee chairpersons to draft meeting agendas and reporting schedules.)
• The president presides over meetings of the Board of Directors. In this capacity, the president:
o Chairs meetings according to accepted rules of order for the purposes of encouraging all members to participate in discussion;
o Facilitates the board’s work of arriving at decisions in an orderly, timely and democratic manner;
o Votes as prescribed in the GDUI Constitution.
• The president is responsible for ensuring, on behalf of the membership, that the board of directors and officers of GDUI:
o Are aware of and fulfill their governance responsibilities;
o Comply with applicable laws and bylaws;
o Conduct board business effectively and efficiently in accordance with standard nonprofit policies and procedures;
o Are accountable for their performance.
• The president is accountable to the board of directors or members as specified in the GDUI Constitution.
• The president may delegate specific duties to board members and/or committees, and to the office manager and the webmaster, as appropriate; however, the accountability remains with the president. For this reason, the president may take appropriate action to safeguard the interests of GDUI.
• According to the GDUI Constitution, the president’s involvement in the proceedings of the nominating committee is specifically limited; therefore, the president’s accountability, in the specific case of the recommendations or actions of the nominating committee, is accordingly limited.
• The president serves as an ex-officio member of all board committees (with the exception of the nominating committee). In this capacity, the president’s role is to:
o Negotiate reporting schedules;
o Identify problems and assist the committee chairperson to resolve them,
o To bring such matters, if necessary, to the attention of the board of directors.
• The president ensures that GDUI maintains positive and productive relationships with organizations related to the mission of GDUI, media and donors. In this capacity, the president serves as primary spokesperson for GDUI, and duties may include:
o Representing GDUI to the media;
o Representing GDUI on governmental or nongovernmental organizations and committees;
o Timely and appropriate reporting of Board decisions and actions to members and/or donors.
• The president is normally designated by the board of directors and/or bylaws as one of the signing officers for certain documents. In this capacity, the president may be authorized or required to sign or countersign bank checks, correspondence, applications, reports, contracts or other documents on behalf of GDUI.
• The president ensures that structures and procedures are in place for effective recruitment, training, and evaluation of GDUI board members.
• The president ensures that structures and procedures are in place for securing the resources required by GDUI.
• The GDUI President is the primary liaison between the board and all GDUI staff. In this capacity, the president:
o Meets periodically with these individuals, no less than once a quarter;
o Ensures that annual performance reviews of these staff members are conducted;
o Participates in the hiring and evaluation of all staffers (presently the office manager and the webmaster).

Responsibilities and Criteria for GDUI First Vice President Position
• The GDUI First Vice President is required to be willing and qualified to take over as president if necessary, in accordance with the GDUI Constitution. (Please refer to Responsibilities and Criteria for GDUI President Position above for specific details.)
• The first vice president must be willing and able to accept the legal, fiduciary and ethical responsibilities of an organizational vice president, and of president, in accordance with standard nonprofit practices and procedures.
• The first vice president is expected to attend all board meetings, and to preside over any board meeting for the president, if necessary.
• The first vice president shall inform the president, in advance, if unable to attend a particular board meeting.
• The first vice president may not miss more than three board meetings per year.
• The first vice president must be a member in good standing of GDUI.
• The first vice president must be a guide dog user.

Responsibilities and Criteria for GDUI Second Vice President Position
• The second vice president must be willing and able to accept the legal, fiduciary and ethical responsibilities of an organizational vice president, in accordance with standard nonprofit practices and procedures.
• The second vice president must be willing and able to take on the role and duties of first vice president as prescribed by the GDUI Constitution. *Important: Please refer to Responsibilities and Criteria for GDUI First Vice President Position above for specific details.
• The second vice president must Be a GDUI-member in good standing.
• The second vice president must be a guide dog user.
• The second vice president is expected to attend all board meetings and must be willing and able to run regularly scheduled Board meetings, if called upon by the president to do so (in the event that the president or first vice president cannot be in attendance).
• The second vice president shall inform the president, in advance, if unable to attend a particular board meeting.

Responsibilities and Criteria for GDUI Secretary Position
• The GDUI secretary must be willing and able to accept the legal, fiduciary and ethical responsibilities of an organizational secretary, in accordance with standard nonprofit practices and procedures.
• The secretary must:
o Record (in document form) meeting minutes for business meetings of the GDUI Board of Directors,
o Arrange for the audio recording of meetings if it is the secretary’s desire to take minutes from an audio recording,
o Possess thorough and quick note-taking skills in case an audio recording of a meeting fails,
o Have the ability to use notes, memory, and/or recordings to reproduce accurate accounts of meetings for minutes,
o Use writing skills and discretion to summarize (or write in detail when appropriate) to create informative meeting minutes,
o Submit drafts of meeting minutes in time frames which allow other board members to submit suggestions/corrections before a final draft is submitted for approval/acceptance at the subsequent board meeting,
o Send minutes and attachments to the webmaster for posting to the GDUI website,
o Assist GDUI by researching and reproducing content from previous minutes as is practical.
• The secretary is expected to attend all board meetings. If the secretary is unable to attend a board meeting, after informing the president, the secretary will arrange for a competent recorder for the meeting which the secretary will miss.
• The secretary may not miss more than three board meetings per year.

Responsibilities and Criteria for GDUI Treasurer Position
• The GDUI treasurer must be willing and able to accept the legal, fiduciary and ethical responsibilities of an organizational treasurer, in accordance with standard nonprofit practices and procedures.
• The treasurer must:
o Assist in the preparation of all budgets including GDUI’s annual budget,
o Be a bondable individual,
o Monitor the budget on a monthly basis, or more frequently if needed,
o Ensure that the financial policies (as set by the board, and recommended by the finance committee) are being followed,
o Report to the board of directors and general membership on finances on a monthly basis,
o Prepare, in a timely manner, any required financial reporting forms to be submitted to the general membership, accountants, auditors or any such other entity as required for standard accounting procedures and policies,
o Maintain all bank accounts in a fiscally prudent manner in keeping with standard accounting practices,
o Oversee all financial transactions while ensuring all fiduciary responsibilities are met and inure to the benefit of GDUI.
o Is a member of the finance committee.
• The treasurer’s signature should appear on all checks of the organization with the second signature from any of the board’s other directors or staff with signing authority for amounts exceeding $1,500.
• The treasurer is expected to attend all board meetings.
• The treasurer may not miss more than three board meetings per year.

Responsibilities and Criteria for GDUI Board of Director Position
• Each member of the GDUI Board of Directors must be willing and able to accept the legal, fiduciary and ethical responsibilities of an organizational director, in accordance with standard nonprofit practices and procedures.
• Board members are expected to attend all board meetings.
• Members of the GDUI Board of Directors shall inform the president, in advance, if unable to attend a particular board meeting.
• A GDUI board member shall not be absent from three consecutive board meetings in any year.
• A majority of board members will be guide dog users.

Respectfully Submitted,
The GDUI Nominations Committee
Annie Chiappetta, Nolan Crab, Debbie Grub, Pat Hill, Dixie Sanderson (Chair)
Thoughts from the Editor: Strengthening the Handler/Dog Bond
by Nolan Crabb

It was my privilege in late 2015 to acquire from Guiding Eyes for the Blind a new guide dog named Carl. Naturally, his presence in my life while at the school gave me much to think about in terms of how we foster and nourish the bond that must exist if the team is to be successful.

My fellow graduates were kind enough to agree to allow me time to speak at the December 12, 2015 graduation class, and I include my remarks below. The audience comprised puppy raisers, school staffers, friends and supporters of the school, and of course, the graduates. While it was primarily to the puppy raisers that I spoke, I trust my thoughts on building and strengthening that bond between dog and handler will be of interest to you as well. The text of my remarks also appeared in the Guiding Eyes holiday newsletter, and I reprint those remarks here with permission.

“He stood by me when I was crazy,” recalled General William T. Sherman of ‘his long-standing friendship with General Ulysses S. Grant, “and I stood by him when he was drunk. Now, sir, we stand by each other always.”

It is this remarkable achievement of standing by each other always as it relates to these dogs, their handlers, and those of you who raised them from their earliest days that I’d like to briefly address. How do we get to that point where we can confidently declare that “we stand by each other always?”

I think there are essentially four steps that enable us to achieve that goal, and those of you who have been integral to the early successes of these dogs will recognize them as steps you, too, have followed in order to gain success.

First, we must focus on potential rather than seek for instant perfection; second, we must love without restraint; third, we must be transparent in our relationships with these dogs, and finally we must replace doubt, fear or misgivings with unshakable trust. Perhaps some explanation is in order:

First, we must focus on the potential of these dogs rather than seek some kind of instant perfection. Ours is a jaded shrill world whose focus all too often is on the limitations of one another. Every successful puppy raiser and handler understands immediately the value of seeing potential in every day of the young dog’s life. On November 23rd, I was given a harness to which was attached a young male dog. It was almost as if I felt a kind of life current flow to me through that harness handle. A few steps after our journey began, I sensed remarkable potential. Almost it seemed I could feel a noble heart beating behind that chest strap. Quickly evident, too, was a mercurial balance of whimsy and buttoned-down seriousness that appealed to me immensely. That short journey was not without its herky-jerky moments, and yet it seemed with every step, I felt a million possibilities that filled thousands of future days. In short, I saw so much potential that instant perfection would have been anticlimactic by comparison at best.

The second step in this evolution to be able to always stand by one another is a natural outgrowth of the first. Once we focus on potential, it’s easy to feel unrestrained love. It is that love that is the ultimate author of success. All of us in the class were introduced to dogs on that remarkable Monday, and we all got the opportunity to walk with them briefly. But my classmate, Terry, summed it up best and spoke for all of us. “I already love that little dog,” she said fervently. “I hope that’s the one I get. I love it already.” Terry’s assertion of love came with such depth and power that I was challenged to find in my own heart the ability to love without restraint. She unwittingly raised the bar for me, and I knew that I, too, needed to first seek potential then to love without restraint. Her words reminded me that if these dogs are to be ultimately successful, they will succeed because they are loved.

As we see potential rather than perfection, as we love without restraint, there comes into that relationship a kind of transparency, if you will, that enables the dogs to anticipate and respond more accurately to our needs and us to be increasingly mindful of theirs. Those of you who have been with these creatures from the early days of their infancy have given directions that were clear and without obfuscation or ambiguity. In return for your countless hours of direction given in the spirit of love, you received a treasure trove of lap cuddles, kisses, and moments of simply quiet friendship punctuated by unbounded exuberance for life that touched your heart then and will live in your memory forever. You, like us, understood the value of transparency in the relationship. These dogs sense every emotion that travels down that leash. We cannot long fool them. They capture our joy and our frustration, just as we capture theirs.

I gained a highly valuable lesson in the importance of transparency as a nine-year-old. I had developed a rather unhealthy fascination with fire. I was intrigued by its many sounds depending on the fuels I would use to power it. Unfortunately, I had an older cousin who shared my fascination. On a memorable summer Friday night, he invited me to a sleepover and encouraged me to bring some matches which we would use to light our pyromaniacal creations. I went to the cupboard where my parents kept several books and boxes of matches and loaded a bag full. I nonchalantly gathered my sleeping bag and all other things necessary for a successful sleep under the stars including my fire-making supplies and headed for the door, announcing to my dad “I’m ready whenever you are.”

“Where are you going with those matches?” he asked. I was paralyzed with fear. How could he ever have known? I had been so careful to take them out of the cupboard when he wasn’t in the house. I had so carefully hidden them in a bag and sealed it as circumspectly as I knew how.

You see, I had forgotten that those of you with vision have the ability to see … through … plastic … bags! I had supposedly secreted my little treasure away from even prying eyes, or so I thought.

There can be no dishonesty or ambiguity in our relationship with these wonderful dogs. They are entirely without guile, and they can sense when we carry things in our mental plastic bags that can interfere with our ability to connect to them and love them as they ought to be loved.

Finally, if we seek potential, love without restraint, and behave transparently, we will naturally cultivate the fourth and final component in that relationship that allows us to “stand by each other always.” That final component, of course, is trust. Trust is the ultimate currency on which every other aspect of the relationship must trade. The dogs trust that they will be cared for and protected. We trust that they will guide safely and well. And those of you who have raised them and mentored them through the months of raw unchanneled energy into the admirable creatures they are today must also—trust that Guiding Eyes staffers have thought through the assignments of these dogs to their new handlers. You trust that those months of sometimes tedious frustrating work on your part will translate to triumphs that include world-class obedience in public places and house manners that ensure that both dog and handler are highly regarded wherever they go. You trust that your months of unsung heroism will be in some way remembered with gratitude, and indeed they will. Where perhaps there was once a tender place made so by the reality that you had to return these almost magical creatures who have become so integrated into your world, you can trust that it will be replaced by the exhilaration of knowing that you have contributed to ineffable improvements in the lives of blind and visually impaired people who will be elevated to new and grander heights because of your tireless efforts. We come to love you because of our common love for these dogs.

The southern journalist Hodding Carter, II, (1907—1972) once wrote: “There are only two lasting bequests we can hope to give our children. One of these is roots, the other, wings.”

His perspective is applicable to young guide dogs as well. You have done an admirable job of providing the roots necessary for their success. These brilliant and capable instructors have given them wings in the form of guide skills that will be so vital over the years ahead. When these roots and wings are combined in the hands of skilled handlers, you can celebrate without restraint a kind of soul-touching success that those who do not engage in your noble work never fully understand.

And so in conclusion, allow me to paraphrase General Sherman’s words as they apply to Carl and me particularly. He stood by me when I was crazy and urged him deliberately forward toward the edge of a train platform at an instructor’s request. The decisive turn of his youthful body away from that edge seemed to say, “no, my friend, life is a gift. Let us celebrate it by moving along this platform rather than coming too close to its edge.” I stood by him when he was besotted almost to the point of acting drunk with love for a wonderfully competent and talented instructor who not only mentored him but freely gave back the love he generously proffered.

And from today forward, may it be said of Carl and me that we stand by each other always.

Thank you for your attendance here today and for your valued service to Guiding Eyes for the Blind. As a handler, I speak for all of my classmates in expressing our gratitude and the hope that you will agree to an ongoing relationship with the school.
Join Us On a Sea Cruise to Bermuda
by Robert Acosta
Special notice: The official name for our cruise is GDUI Bermuda Cruise. Please use this name when you book cabins.

Dear Members and Friends of Guide Dog users, Inc.,

We welcome you to join us on a romantic cruise to Bermuda from Sunday October 9 to Sunday October 16, 2016.

This will be a seven-day cruise departing and returning to new York.

We will enjoy several days exploring the romantic island of Bermuda.

We will not provide sighted volunteers on this cruise, but we are assured that the staff will bend over backwards to assist us. Also, many passengers are ready to help when necessary.

We shall be cruising on the Norwegian Cruise Line. The ship Breakaway will have an Accessibility Desk on board and the cruise line has a desk in the United States for our convenience to handle any paperwork for our dogs.

It is advisable that you carry your passport with you at all times. However, I am told that an original birth certificate and a state ID will suffice. However, if you need to fly over international waters you will need a passport.

It is very important that you consider calling Michelle Zimmerman, senior personal cruise consultant, Norwegian Cruise Line, who will be handling our cruise and to remit a $280 per person deposit which includes a 30 dollar surcharge given to GDUI.

This locks in our prices below.

Here are examples of the promotionals for October and more are expected along the way.

All cabin prices include port charges and taxes.

Studio Cabin $1,201 (single guest only)
Inside Cabin $1,683.80 (double occupancy); $2,235.70 (triple occupancy); $2,767.60 (quad occupancy)
Ocean view $2,383.80 (double occupancy); $3,165.70 (triple occupancy); $3,697.60 (quad occupancy)
Balcony $2,483.80 (double occupancy); $3015.70 (triple occupancy); $3547.60 (quad occupancy)

If we can book 8 cabins, we become an official group and will receive all of the amenities for this. You can receive a refund of all payments up to 75 days prior to the cruise.

Contact Information for Michelle Zimmerman, senior personal cruise consultant, Norwegian Cruise Line, Toll-free Number: (877) 416-9722, Ext. 4398; direct number: (954) 514-4398; cell number: (303) 907-1067.

See you in Bermuda!
No One Gets Lost on a Cruise Ship
by vicky Curley
I have taken around six cruises. I will admit that I was just a bit apprehensive when I went on my first cruise. Some of the questions that were running around in my brain were: How would I find my way around that huge ship? Would I be able to get help with the food if my husband did not want to come with me to a meal? How would I go about getting my dog ready for a cruise? Would he be able to use the relief area that would be provided for him?

Even though I was treading in unfamiliar waters–pun intended–I decided to go ahead and take the plunge.

I like to travel with my husband, but he is one who likes to relax around the pool, and I am one who likes to run around and find fun things to do like karaoke or name that tune games or just whatever the ship might have to offer for entertainment. From day one, I realized that it would be next to impossible to actually get lost on the ship; there were folks walking around at all hours. Between the ship’s crew and other guests, I could always find someone to offer some help if needed. This has been consistent throughout all the cruises I have taken. I have used several different cruise lines and I have found all of them to be more-than accommodating when it came to providing assistance with planning excursions and anything else I might need on the ship.

My favorite cruise to date is the one I took to Bermuda. I have loved all my cruises, but the one to Bermuda was my absolute favorite, because we spent nearly three days there. We really got a chance to get a feel for the place. Although my husband and I are not much for the excursions, we did take an absolutely lovely carriage ride through the main Bermuda island. The gentleman who was our tour guide was so very knowledgeable about Bermuda and shared so many interesting facts about life there. He also made sure to introduce us to his two draft horses named Sugar and Spice sharing all about where they came from and how they were trained to pull a cart and how they were fed and cared for.
When it came to my working dog, I was given the upmost respect with regard to what I would and would not allow with regard to petting or showing him any kind of attention. The thing my husband and I were quick to realize was that many of the crew really loved my dog; they had been away from their homes for so long and really missed their dogs. I would make sure to go around with my dog out of harness at times so anyone who really wanted to say hi to him could do so. It was a lot of fun to hear stories about some of the dogs that belonged to crew members.

The relief area was located in a place that was not so heavily traveled. It was also located near a door out onto the deck so I found it quite easy to get to. This also was consistent from ship to ship and from cruise line to cruise line as well. Let me take a minute to prepare you for the most asked question on the ship. Yes, you guessed it! Where does the dog go to the bathroom? It is entirely up to you as to how you choose to answer this question. Some of my family’s famous answers are: on the poop deck, near the kitchen, anywhere he wants, but the most famous one is my husband’s answer. Upon his being asked this question, he points to the dog’s harness and says, see that harness? We hold him over the side of the ship by that harness and it scares the pee right out of him.

I will share that although most folks knew from the very beginning that it was a joke, there was one woman on our first cruise who began to scold my husband for such a thing. She swiftly realized he was indeed joking. Before I leave this crappy subject, both of the dogs I had on cruises did learn very quickly how to use the box that was provided for them.
I can’t think of another time where my husband and I were shown more courtesy and kindness than on the cruise ship. Each time was just like the other with regard to the royal treatment we received. The food was amazing and there was plenty of it. Between the main dining and the numerous buffets that were available on one of the upper decks, there was something to eat for everyone. I could always find help with anything I might want to eat either from crew members or other guests. It was so much fun getting to know the staff and the other guests. The time would pass so fast and before I knew it, we were returning to our port for debarkation. If you are planning to go on the Bermuda cruise, you will not be disappointed as it is just an amazing time.
Note: Vickie and Valor have already been on two cruises and most recently, according to Vicky, she cruised on a ship named the Valor.

After reading vicky’s experiences, it’s likely that she has convinced you to come along on the official GDUI Bermuda cruise. Please keep the following information handy in case you want to book a room: the dates are from Sunday October 9 to Sunday October 16, 2016. Our cruise consultant is Michelle Zimmerman, Norwegian Cruise Line. You can reach Michele by calling Toll-free: (877) 416-9722, Ext. 4398;
Direct: (954) 514-4398 or by Cell: (303) 907-1067. The deadline for booking is July 26, 2016.
Thoughts and tips on using Uber with a guide dog
by Mike May
(Reprinted with permission from the Sendero Group Travel Blog)
Wednesday, December 23, 2015

I believe that rideshare services and Uber in particular are the best independence tool for blind people invented this century. As with any such tool, especially a disruptive one, there is misinformation and there is room for improvement.

The Uber iPhone app is quite accessible. I give them beta feedback and know that they work quickly to fix any small problems that arise as the result of the app evolving regularly. There are plenty of things to improve but the app is accessible and easy to use as you will see from my frequent use below.

Here is my perspective on Uber services as a frequent traveler and guide dog user. My wife also uses a guide dog from the Seeing Eye and we are often together with two dogs in an Uber. We have faced only 3 rejections by Uber in our over 700 combined Uber rides. Compare this with our taxi experience where many won’t even stop when they see a dog and others outright refuse to let the dog in the taxi. In my experience in taxis, I face 20% to 40 percent rejection as opposed to less than one percent with Uber. I know a few guide dog users report much higher rejection with Uber and Lyft and others who have never had a problem. Uber has a 2-strikes and you are out policy. The driver gets one warning and if they reject a service dog a second time, they are removed from the Uber platform. It is easy to report an infraction from within the app or by emailing or by replying to the email receipt. In the few times I have had a rejection, Uber Support was emailing and calling me within a few hours. If there was a cancelation charge, it was quickly refunded.

My understanding is that all drivers receive an email when they sign up telling them about the service dog policy as well as reminders over time. Of course, not all drivers read and understand these emails so it is inevitable that a few will be uninformed. Uber staff attended several blindness conferences in the past year to hear directly from blind riders and to exchange information about the service including finding ways to make it better. Even 1% rejection is not fun for the person who has to face the inconvenience and humiliation of the experience, but I like these odds way better than the random taxi, which might reject my dog and which can be slow in arriving and risky to pay.

There are two types of rejection. Some drivers believe that they don’t have to take a dog in their private car. They might claim that they or their family has an allergy. They might be genuinely afraid of dogs. They may not have read the email or Uber policy saying that these are not reasons to deny a service dog in their vehicle.

I have a few strategies to reduce the likelihood of dog rejection with Uber or Lyft.

1. Check to see if Uber Access is one of the app options. If so, choose the Assist option from the sub-menu and then check the ETA. If the arrival time is reasonable, use Assist as these are top drivers who have had to watch a training video about riders with disabilities. Be aware if you choose Uber Pool, that this is a shared ride and your dog will count for one of the available spots in that car-pool. I tend to avoid Pool in favor of Uber X.

2. When the Uber ETA is about 2 minutes, then use the Contact Driver option to text the following message. “I am blind and have a licensed Guide Dog. Please call out my name when you see me.” I do not phone the driver because they may not hear or understand the difference between dog and Guide Dog. If the message is in writing, they have more time to think about it and you are on record giving them the information. They can’t claim they didn’t understand. I write the text ahead of time and copy it into the iPhone clipboard so it is easy to paste into the Contact Driver text message box. I send the text when the driver is only a few minutes away so they will consider the time and money they will lose if they cancel the ride.

3. I carry a laminated card with the word Uber in large letters to hold up in situations where it might be hard to find me like a grocery store parking lot.

4. I make sure and hold the harness when the driver is approaching so they don’t think it is a pet dog. It is still sometimes necessary to say to the driver, “I am blind. I cannot see. This is my trained guide dog who is very calm and clean.”

5. I believe it is useful to keep the dog on a very short leash when getting in the car so they don’t sniff the driver or get on the seat. Some drivers are terrified of dogs and we can’t change that in 30 seconds. If the dog is quiet and on the floor of the car, the driver can relax and proceed with the ride. Having the dog on the floor also reduces the dog hair the driver will have to deal with. Grooming the dog before a trip is a good idea. Some drivers may have a sheet or towel to put on the seat or floor. I carry a small sticky roller to pick up hair. Just offering to use this makes the driver feel that I am being considerate. We have to remember that they rate us same as we rate them.

6. Although Uber does not have an option for a tip in the app, I will tip in cash if the driver has to deal with excess dog hair or wet paw prints because of rainy weather.

7. Many drivers are afraid of dogs and may express reluctance when you open the door of their car. I get the dog on the floor quickly so the driver can’t change their mind and I make sure my dog doesn’t sniff them. Once we are rolling, I make casual conversation, which may include information about the dog’s training, flying on airplanes and so forth. I make sure the dog stays put during the ride. I had a driver ask to take a selfie with my dog because he said his wife wouldn’t believe that he had a big German Shepherd 6 inches behind his head for 30 minutes. My goal by the end of the ride is to convert these concerned drivers into amazed believers. Think of ourselves as ambassadors.

I rate almost all drivers 5 stars but I do add comments, both constructive and glowing as appropriate. Those comments are passed along to the driver anonymously. I have even gone to the trouble of filling out the form to recommend a driver for the Uber 6 star award for service above and beyond the call of duty.

Most drivers are courteous and professional, are on time and have nice vehicles. Many do go above and beyond. We have dealt with two family emergencies using multiple Ubers to shuttle us and the kids to the hospital and home. We used Uber 8 times to facilitate our recent trip to Disneyland. As two blind parents, we use Uber all the time to shuttle our kids to and from activities. I have had as many as 5 business meetings in Silicon Valley in a day made possible by timely Uber transportation. I have used Uber in eight countries and dozens of cities so far. A couple drivers have even become friends. We are willing to put up with the very occasional Uber issue because of their 99 percent excellence. It is because of this great service that I am willing to do what I can to suggest improvements in the app, to share my experience with other blind riders and to recommend changes that will better educate drivers.
GDUI Affiliate Presidents and Leaders Meeting
Thursday, December 17, 2015
by Debbie Grubb, Affiliate Liaison
The teleconference was called to order at approximately 9:05 PM EST by Debbie Grubb, GDUI affiliates liaison.

The following affiliates were represented: Guide Dog Users of Arizona, Guide Dog Users of Florida, Georgia Guide Dog Users, Guide Dog Users of New York, Dixieland Guide Dog Users, Guide Dog Users of Texas, and Guide Dog Users of Washington State. We were delighted to welcome the Arizona affiliate, represented by its President, Liz Whitlock, to the call and the new president of our Texas Affiliate, Louann Williams. Our meetings are always enhanced by the participation of GDUI President Penny Reeder.

Alice Ritchhart, past president of the Georgia Affiliate, Doug Hall, president of the Florida Affiliate, and Betsy Grenevitch, president of the Georgia Affiliate gave their presentations, sharing foundational truths that they have learned over the years of their varied experiences of working with those in local, state, and the Federal arenas. What follows is a listing of these significant truths. There was fervent agreement about the efficacy of each of these truths by all of the presenters. What follows is a compilation of what they shared with us.

(beginning of text)

Be buddies with key legislators. Learn about them, what they care about. Send Christmas cards or remember them in some other way. Always find a way to connect. For example, volunteer during their campaigns.

Make yourself available to help them with their cause which provides a real opportunity to gain their interest in yours.

Remember that the people that you know and work with can often introduce you to other key players. Who you know often makes you and what you are working on of interest to other key players.

Often interest can come from unexpected places when you share a common goal or situation with someone. Perhaps they have a family member or a friend who is blind or visually impaired. This almost always brings true buy-in from them on your ask.

Prepare for legislative agendas long before the session because budget takes the center stage once the session begins.

During the session, be sure to put out a legislative alert. Always have people at the hearing to speak for a bill.

Call on bill voting day.

Do not depend solely on freshman legislators. These people do not have the power to move legislation forward.

In the eyes of key legislators, they haven’t yet earned their creds and have not yet built their own relationships with real players in the legislature. However, working with them in combination with better known and powerful legislators does build relationships which can often stand you in good stead over time.

Plan a mass visit to the state capitol each year. Look for sighted volunteers to assist with this and other similar events.

Let officials see that other people are interested in your cause.

Be sure that constituents schedule appointments to see their legislators or their key legislative assistants. Prepare written talking points to present during the meeting or to leave at offices where no appointments were made.

Acknowledge the efforts of anyone who has helped or recognized your work in any way with thank you notes regardless of the outcome of their assistance.

Be sure that they know who you are which brings true relevance in their minds to your issue.

Be sure to explain why you are requesting a certain action on their part.

Don’t complain constantly.

Always accompany your ask with a thank you for something that they have done well in the past whether it directly concerns your particular issue.

Make no assumptions about where those with whom you are working stand on any issue based on political affiliation. Learn for yourself what they believe in and what their political philosophy is.

Although meeting at the capitol is important, don’t underestimate the importance of visits to the home office and attendance at town hall meetings, etc.

Know your local people and those who work for them because they often move up.

Offer friendship and support.

Always remember that involvement by constituents is crucial.

Legislators strongly consider what their constituents say because they know that each person represents the views of many more.

Remember that the vast majority of initiatives are conceived locally. Make your first attempts for support there.

Sometimes our “asks” are incorporated into other proposed solutions whether they are legislatively based.

Be sure to join all advisory boards. Officials attend these meetings to seek opinions. Provide an atmosphere where either you or your organization are seen as experts.

Don’t underestimate the importance of joining service clubs and other local organizations as a forum for building meaningful relationships with movers and shakers.

Keep an open mind about forming coalitions. Use your association in coalition to show your abilities by assisting with causes that may not be on your front burner. Most of the time the favor will be returned with, at the very least, support for your cause.

Use every opportunity you have to network, build a framework in which you are highly regarded and bring yourself into proximity with those whom you highly regard.

Be true to yourself. Be persistent. Don’t give up. Sometimes initiatives take years to come to some sort of resolution.

(end of text)

Our next meeting is scheduled for Thursday, February 17, 2016, at 9 PM EST. The program will be designed to further equip you and your affiliates to better advocate on behalf of ending the service animal fraud that we all face as well as other matters for which you wish to advocate. If you have any ideas regarding program topics or presenters, please do not hesitate to contact me.

I want to thank Alice, Betsy and Doug for sharing their considerable expertise with all of us. Thank you, too, for taking the time and making the effort to join the teleconference. Please remember that anyone in your affiliate who cares to is welcome to join us.

I wish to each of you a joyous holiday season and much good fortune as your affiliate sets its course for 2016.

Respectfully submitted,
Debbie Grubb
Spring Radio Auction
On August 27, 2015, the GDUI Board of Directors 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, California 91311. Phone: (818) 998-0044. Email:

Our first prize has already been promised by our National 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:

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. The auction is slated for April 3 at 7 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time on ACB Radio.
Preaching to the Choir: Things Only Guide Dog Handlers Understand
Dogless in Minneapolis
by Rebecca Kragnes
My nine-year-old Black Lab, Zane, retired on Labor Day, which seemed like a perfect day to retire. Phil was returning to work after a leg amputation which had him hospitalized and then home for six months. Zane was a comfort to Phil as he grieved the death of his nine-year-old German Shepherd guide, Garron, (six months older than Zane) only two days before he came home from the hospital. I worked Zane minimally for the last few weeks but felt it was important for him to be here until Phil returned to work.

Retiring Zane on Labor Day also allowed his new human Kathleen–a retired school teacher–to make sure she could take a few days off from her part-time job to get him accustomed to his new home and his new Black Lab “brother” four years his junior. Zane ran back and forth between me and the door as Kathleen took his things to her car. Although I still haven’t seen him almost two months later as I write this, indications are he’s doing very well in his new home and getting along great with Kathleen, , the other Lab (who looks a lot like him), and the whole doggy-loving neighborhood. Zane still recognized a few things from his old life, so I have to be very careful not to leave a message on the answering machine which plays aloud in the house. He wagged his tail in pleasure when seeing one of Kathleen’s neighbors, a para-transit driver he knew gave me treats to give him later. Zane checked his pockets for the goods of course. Although it’s gratifying to hear how well he’s adjusting to his new home, it’s also safe to say he’s adjusted far more quickly to his new situation than I have.

I’ve been through periods between dogs, as Zane is my fourth guide. However, during all of the other dogless periods, Phil had a dog.
The converse was also true. I’ve had a dog during all of Phil’s times between dogs since we married 19 years ago. So this living without dogs is new for both of us.

Our waiting is different but no less difficult. Phil certainly has more things to accomplish before he can even apply for his next dog. He has to first lose the wound vac on his leg, then the wheelchair, and finally he has to be steady on his prosthetic feet for a long enough period of time to work with a dog. I’m waiting for a match, and without knowing how Phil’s situation will proceed, I’ve asked for home training. My Juno Walk was in late September, and a man from my school is trying to find a match. He warns me it could be a while, and with winter settling in Minnesota, the weather is likely to contribute to that wait. After all, who wants to come out to Minnesota to train in the winter? We also don’t know when the wheelchair ramp–a metal surface with holes like a grate–will go away, and the man doing the Juno walk reminded me that care will have to be taken to get the dog use to such surfaces before coming here. Outdoor carpeting might solve that problem but create others, and frankly, we hope the ramp will be gone sooner than later.

Of course there are the routines of feeding and relieving the dog which do not happen. I remember a past time between dogs when I asked Phil if I could take his dog out simply to have that companionship for a moment. But currently there is no “other dog”.

There are times when both of us have reminded each other when having a dog here might be a problem. This includes when either of us drops something, but especially Phil in his wheelchair. Zane didn’t hesitate to take advantage of such opportunities to pick up a goody or two which landed on the floor. I’m not a lover of the outdoors, and I’ve noticed that as the weather has changed, I’m not as aware of it. After all, I don’t have to go outside with a dog four times a day, rain or shine. There are startling moments too, because there’s no early warning system before the doorbell rings anymore. Probably the loneliest moment of the day is turning off the fireplace before going to bed. There was always a dog in front of the fireplace, and during my last dogless period, Garron made sure to be with me by the fire after Phil fell asleep. Paws always audibly accompanied me to our bedroom for the night.

“Dog envy” is something only I seemed to experience between dogs in the past. It was difficult seeing Phil interact with his dog and knowing I didn’t have that kind of relationship. Again, because Garron was such a lover dog, he made sure I always felt included. My view about envying Phil with a dog in public will be different now that I’ve experienced this. I used to wish people wouldn’t pay so much attention to him and his dog and ignore me without one. But now we’re both ignored in public situations. It’s like we’re on an island all by ourselves surrounded by people.

I had a friend who seemed to avoid seeing me when she didn’t have a dog. She told me later it was just too painful to see me with a dog and not have one herself. I definitely understood. Phil and I are the opposite. Because we are so used to living with dogs, any time we can get our hands on one, we love it! It’s like a cold drink on a summer’s day after being thirsty for hours.

As a couple, we are identified as having our dogs, and for the past 18 years, our Christmas letters have been written from the perspective of one or both of our dogs, usually to the tune of a Christmas carol. Doing it this way has lightened the tone when we’ve had a crummy year., and I have no idea how we are going to outline probably the crummiest year we’ve had without a dog’s point of view to make it fun.

Then there’s the method of travel. OK, I confess, my cane is my “stupid stick”. It’s not only because it’s far more stupid than a guide dog. I feel more stupid using it than walking with a dog. I am an OK traveler, but I feel clumsy when clanging and banging things in my path or trying to extricate my cane from something. Far worse are those uncomfortable moments passing someone in a hallway or on a sidewalk and trying not to trip them. There are even times when the cane can get caught in feet or tap someone traveling the same direction as I am. Because I don’t use a cane often, I am much more aware of the awkwardness sighted people feel when having physical contact with one. I remember profusely apologizing after tapping the leg of another cane user in our State Services for the Blind building, and she said, “Why are you apologizing? It’s only your cane.” I’m apologizing because I’m used to traveling through life without having to tap anyone with anything. Even following Phil with someone pushing his wheelchair can get dicey if I am too close. In this situation, the cane as the potential to get tangled in even more things between the person’s feet and all of the stuff on Phil’s chair. Sometimes I can be much more comfortable with sighted guide, and certainly I can feel the steps if the person doesn’t alert me to them. Even though I’ve taken my share of falls with my dogs, they key into those little things sighted guides often don’t–like the big crack after stepping into the street where I twisted my ankle and fell.

One week after sending Zane to his new home, Kathleen’s sister invited me to an outdoor bakery to see Zane. I tried to tell her how difficult it would be for both of us having to part again. I’ve never had the pleasure of having a current and retired guide interact, but I witnessed Phil’s new and retired guide meeting after four months. As we were going to leave, the retired guide tried to fit himself into the much smaller dog’s harness, and it was heartbreaking for us and the retired dog’s new family. I’m not sure Kathleen and her friends quite understand my hesitation to see Zane, and despite my efforts, I can’t seem to explain it well. I have told them about the confusion it might cause for Zane, and it’s important to me that his bond with Kathleen is much stronger than the bond he remembers with me. Frankly, without a dog myself, it would be very hard on me, too. When I have my new guide for a few months and the bond is progressing, it will be a joy to see Zane again. Then I’ll be able to leave with my new dog by my side and avoid the emptiness I’d feel now after a visit.
Summer Drawing Update
by Robert Acosta
Our Summer 2016 Drawing began on December 1, 2015. Call (866) 799-8436 for additional information.

Attention members and friends of Guide Dog Users, Inc: A $10 donation will give you the opportunity to win!

Grand prize: $1,500 cash donated by Helping Hands For the Blind; first prize: $500 gift card Donated by helping hands for the Blind; second Prize: Bose Wave Radio; third prize: Keurig Coffee Machine; more prizes on the way!!

Our summer drawing will raise funds to provide financial assistance to GDUI members to attend our 2017 GDUI National Convention. Each GDUI convention features informative presentations concerning our civil rights as guide dog users, as well as other guide dog and blindness-related issues, and opportunities to get to know and socialize with other guide dog teams! The GDUI Board of Directors has approved this fundraising event with the expressed purpose of assisting our members to attend the 2017 GDUI National Convention.

If you do not wish to participate in our summer drawing, GDUI will cheerfully accept a monetary donation! Thank you!

Please accept my donation of $_____ for _____ # of chances

Please accept my donation of $_______ to further the mission of GDUI.

City, State, Zip: Phone #

If you wish to use a credit card to purchase drawing tickets or to make a donation for payment, please call (866) 799-8436.

You can find our updated prize list for the summer drawing by browsing to The drawing will take place during our convention luncheon on Wednesday, July 6, 2016. Winner need not be present!

Complete the information in the form above and mail it to: Guide Dog Users, Inc., 3603 Morgan Way, Imperial, MO 63052.

Mission Statement:
Guide Dog Users, Inc., a 501(C)3 organization founded in 1976, as a special interest affiliate of the American Council of the Blind (ACB), strives to promote civil rights and enhance the quality of life for working guide dog teams. Drawing on the experiences and varied knowledge of its members, GDUI provides peer support, advocacy and information to guide dog users everywhere. In addition, GDUI works with public entities, private businesses and individuals to ensure that guide dog users enjoy the same rights to travel, employment, housing, and participation in all aspects of life that people without disabilities enjoy.
GDUI Board Meeting Minutes
September 26, 2015
In attendance:
Penny Reeder, President; Will Burley, First Vice President; Maria Hansen, Second Vice President; Sarah Calhoun, Secretary and Lynn Merrill, Treasurer.
Bob Acosta, Ann Chiappetta, Vickie Curley, Betsy Grenevitch, Dixie Sanderson and Jane Sheehan.
Nolan Crabb, PawTracks Editor
Debbie Grubb, Affiliate Liaison.
Excused absence: Pat Hill, Guide Dog School Liaison

The meeting was called to order by President Penny Reeder.

The roll call was taken by Sarah Calhoun.

The meeting agenda was approved by the board.

President Reeder introduced Jeff Bishop, GDUI’s ACB Board Liaison.

Agenda item: Approval of meeting minutes

Sarah Calhoun made a motion to accept the May 30, 2015 minutes. Bob Acosta seconded the motion. Motion carried.

Sarah Calhoun made a motion to accept the July 5, 2015 minutes. Vickie Curley seconded the motion. Motion carried.
Agenda item: Treasurer’s report
Treasurer’s Report September 21, 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
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

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
Expenditures: $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
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

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
Donation through Mission Fish: $1.00
Donation through ACB Monthly Monetary 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

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

Breakdown of convention 2015 sales:
1. SUMMARY OF SALES: The gross sales amount was $7327.50. When you take out the refunded amounts (these come from those of us who practiced then refunded prior to opening the suite) and the fees for using Square our net sales total is $7137.64. This includes product sales, memberships, donations, raffle, event tickets and silent auction final bids. We paid a total of $171.86 to Square for usage fees. Here is the table for the summary of sales:

Sales Refunds Net
Gross Sales $7,327.50 ($18.00) $7,309.50
Discounts $0.00 $0.00 $0.00
Net Sales $7,327.50 ($18.00) $7,309.50
Gift Card Sales $0.00 $0.00 $0.00
Tax $0.00 $0.00 $0.00
Tip $0.00 $0.00 $0.00
Partial Refunds $0.00 $0.00 $0.00
Total Collected $7,327.50 ($18.00) $7,309.50
Fees ($171.86) $0.00 ($171.86)
Net Total $7,155.64 ($18.00) $7,137.64

We made the highest dollar amount in sales on the auction ($3930) with product sales coming in second at $2504.50. Here is the table of sales by overall category:

TOTAL GROSS SALES (less the $18 refunded) $7,309.50

2. PAYMENT METHODS: We swiped 68 credit card transactions and keyed 9 credit card transactions. $5941 of the sales was credit card transactions and $1,368.50 in cash. About 50% of the transactions were credit card and the other 50% cash. Here is the summary of payment methods:

Payment Method Transactions Tips Total Collected Fees Net Total
Card – Swiped 68 $0.00 $5,005.00 ($137.73) $4,867.27
Card – Keyed 9 $0.00 $936.00 ($34.13) $901.87
Card – Other 0 $0.00 $0.00 $0.00 $0.00
Cash 78 $0.00 $1,368.50 $0.00 $1,368.50
Gift Card 0 $0.00 $0.00 $0.00 $0.00
Other 0 $0.00 $0.00 $0.00 $0.00

3. CATEGORY SALES: Of all the product sales, accessories for dogs (bowls, pouches, dog beds, etc.) brought the highest in sales dollars ($1101.50). Of course we may have had more products for that category. Next in line were the raffle tickets at $630, then grooming & health, then dog toys. Here is the summary of sales by square product category:

Category Items Sold Gross Sales Items Refunded Refunds Net Sales
Uncategorized 1 $10.00 0 $0.00 $10.00
ACCESSORIES FOR DOGS 81 $1,101.50 0 $0.00 $1,101.50
DONATIONS 4 $97.00 -1 ($10.00) $87.00
EVENT TICKETS 2 $25.00 -1 ($8.00) $17.00
GROOMING and HEALTH 66 $544.00 0 $0.00 $544.00
MEMBERSHIP 9 $135.00 0 $0.00 $135.00
RAFFLE 65 $630.00 0 $0.00 $630.00
SALES ITEMS 6.8.15 11 $61.00 0 $0.00 $61.00
Sale items 4 $15.00 0 $0.00 $15.00
Shipping Income 1 $6.00 0 $0.00 $6.00
TOY 41 $415.00 0 $0.00 $415.00
TREATS 46 $358.00 0 $0.00 $358.00

4. PRODUCT SALES DETAIL: Maria spent $983.53 to purchase the products to sell at the suite. Including Jane Sheehan’s products (carried to Dallas in the suitcase) we had a total of 387 products to sell. The only thing missing from this number is the number of Nylabones brought by Connie J. Of the 387 products we sold 250. That leaves our remaining inventory at 160 and most of those were small items that Connie J put in a suitcase to take home. We grossed $2504.50 in sales so that leaves us with a profit of $1520.97, even without selling the 160 items left over in our inventory.

We sold 80-100% of the following items:
Liver Biscotti Treats
Salmon Bites
Collapsible Travel Bowl Petmate
Dental Wipes True Blue
Slicker Brush Large Millers For
Drying Mitts
Drying Towel
Musher’s Secret GDUI
Antler Large
Antler Medium
Antlers Small
Ball Arachnoid JW Pet
Bear Canvas Bow-Tied Jute GDUI
Bell Falcon GDUI
Bottle Buddy Pig
Bowl Ruffwear
Bumi Tug Toy
Ear Wipes Earthbath
Frog Darwin GDUI
Hurley Bone West Paw
Monkey Simply Fido
Pet wipes GDUI
Rake for Undercoat GDUI
Ruffian Bear JW Pet
Sterilized Bones
Travel Bed Abo

We sold 0-35% of the following items:

Cowbell Stainless Steel GDUI
Lamb Simply Fido
Collar Tags GDUI
Fire Hose 3-Segment GDUI
Snake Kyjen Invincible
Treat Holder Bag Company of Animals
Pick-up Bags

I’ve attached a pdf spreadsheet in this email that identifies the following for each product for sale in the suite: purchase information, quantities sold, GDUI pricing, gross sales, profit/loss, inventory remaining, and percent sold.

5. DONATIONS: We took in a total of $87 in donations.

6. GDUI EVENT TICKETS PURCHASED: Using Square we sold one ticket to the reception. We sold additional tickets to some events (in cash) but those were not captured by Square because we did not have wi-fi in the meeting rooms where the events were held.

7. MEMBERSHIPS PURCHASED: We sold 9 annual memberships for a total of $135.

8. 2015 RAFFLE TICKET PURCHASES: In Square we sold 4-$3 tickets for Dallas; 10-$10 tickets for Dallas; and 51-$10 tickets for the summer drawing. This of course, is not the total amount of tickets sold since many were purchased before or after Suite hours.

9. SILENT AUCTION STATS: Overall the total value of items donated was $7538. The total amount of bids for all auction items is $4163 for a 55% return. Penny’s cookies had the highest return of 500%! We had 12 items with a return of 100% or higher, 29 items with over a 50% bid return, and the rest were under 50%. The table below shows each auction item’s value, high bid and % of value:

Auction # ITEM NAME VALUE HIGH BID % of Value
1 Cookies from Penny’s Kitchen $60.00 300 500%
34 Red Dog Mat by The Mutt Mats Company $26.00 45 173%
35 Royal Blue Dog Mat by The Mutt Mats Company $26.00 45 173%
37 Alphabet Bracelet $32.00 45 141%
2 The Bag from Maine $50.00 70 140%
22 White Cotton Kitchen Towel with Embroidered Christmas Tree $15.00 20 133%
3 Tequila $50.00 60 120%
36B The Game of Life – Dogs Edition $25.00 28 112%
4 Crystal Head Vodka $50.00 50 100%
21 Cream Colored Linen Kitchen Towel with Black Embroidered Dog Bone and Two Small Paw Prints. $15.00 15 100%
28 Quilt for Puppy Lovers! $75.00 75 100%
43 Hand Crafted Necklace & Pierced Earrings $40.00 40 100%
53 Braided Tug Toy $10.00 10 100%
38 Stainless Steel Dog Motif Charm Bracelet $50.00 45 90%
33 Tawny’s Treasures $250.00 200 80%
54 Braided Tug Toy $13.00 10 77%
52 HIMS, Inc. – $100 VISA Gift Card $100.00 75 75%
9 Mystic Access Daisy/MP3 Audio Tutorial $99.00 70 71%
19 White kitchen Towel – Embroidered Black Labrador Head with Red Collar $15.00 10 67%
20 White Cotton Kitchen Towel with Single Black Embroidered Paw Print $15.00 10 67%
55 Baby Knits $75.00 50 67%
25 Runner Hands Free Carry-All $55.00 35 64%
31 Reizen Talking Atomic Clock $40.00 25 63%
7 VIP 3000 – Talking Thermostat $200.00 120 60%
29 Seiko Clock $250.00 150 60%
36 Dog Opoly $25.00 15 60%
49 Walmart Gift Card $25.00 15 60%
17 Pandamimi ULAK Aqua Blue & Rose Pink Fashion PC 2-Piece Style Soft Hard Case Cover for iPhone 5 5S with Free Screen Protector and Stylus $14.00 8 57%
10 6dot Braille Label Maker $500.00 280 56%
6 HumanWare Trekker Breeze+ $799.00 440 55%
16 IPhone 5S Case, Pandamimi ULAK Fashion 2-Piece Style Soft Hard Case Cover for iPhone 5 5S with Screen Protector (Gold & White) $14.00 7 50%
27 Dog-Theme Cotton Tote Bag $20.00 10 50%
30 Talking Atomic Watch $40.00 20 50%
32 Singer Sewing Machine $100.00 50 50%
40 Scattered Stars Necklace $100.00 50 50%
41 Matching Bracelet & Black Pearl Necklace $100.00 50 50%
46 AmbuTech $50 Gift Certificate – Good toward next order! $50.00 25 50%
47 AmbuTech $50 Gift Certificate – Good toward next order! $50.00 25 50%
48 Bookshare Certificate – One year subscription $75.00 35 47%
11 JAWS TRAINING with PlexTalk Pocket DAISY Player (1 out of 2) $900.00 400 44%
26 Canvas Tote Bag with Paw Print Embroidery $35.00 15 43%
18 BookBook iPhone 5 (Vintage Brown) $60.00 25 42%
24 Lady’s Knit Socks $50.00 20 40%
50 Doctors Foster and Smith – Gift Certificate & Catalog $25.00 10 40%
39 Punctuation Cuff Bracelet, Center Stage Necklace, and Cinema Stars Earrings $165.00 65 39%
42 Cubic Zirconia Diamond Snake Pendant & Matching Bracelet $100.00 35 35%
5 Fedora’s iOS Master Series – One year premium subscription to the iOS Master Series, a premium online & completely accessible teaching tool for the iPhone and/or iPad $500.00 170 34%
8 One-Year Subscription to Serotek’s Accessibility Anywhere Package $240.00 80 33%
12 JAWS TRAINING with PlexTalk Pocket DAISY Player (2 out of 2) $900.00 300 33%
13 ZoomText Magnifier/Reader v 10.1 $600.00 200 33%
23 Pink Knit Scarf $75.00 25 33%
51 Gift Certificate From Shira’s Place $100.00 10 10%
15 uNu Power DX External Protective Battery Case for iPhone 5s / iPhone 5 (Gold) $90.00 0 0%
45 Boston Red Sox/Patriots Themed Witch’s Hat $150.00 0 0%
44 Autographed Bat & Baseball from Garry Maddox 175
$7,538.00 $4,163.00 55%
Respectfully submitted,
Lynn Merrill, Treasurer

Lynn Merrill made a motion to accept the treasurer’s report. Seconded by Vickie Curley. Motion carried.

Agenda item: Editor’s report
Nolan Crabb reported that the deadline for submission of articles for the winter PawTracks is November 8, 2015.

Agenda item: Approval of Committee Reports
President Reeder appointed a sub-committee to research telephone lines during the radio auction and reports its suggestions to the board either during the November 2015 meeting or on the board list. The members are: Bob Acosta, Sarah Calhoun, Lynn Merrill and Jane Sheehan.

Lynn Merrill made a motion for Jane Sheehan to have the authority to process credit cards and take calls with respect to the April 2, 2016 radio auction. The motion was seconded by Vickie Curley. Prior to voting by acclimation, discussion took place. Motion carried.

Bob Acosta made a motion to accept all committee reports. The motion was seconded by Vickie Curley. Prior to voting by acclamation, discussion took place. Motion carried.

Agenda item: Funds from the Radio Auction
Bob Acosta suggested for the funds raised from the April 3, 2016 radio auction go towards helping pay for GDUI’s telephonic voting system called, Vote Now.

Agenda item: Request to approve a summer drawing fundraiser
Bob Acosta made a motion for GDUI to hold a summer drawing with the winning ticket to be drawn during the 2016 GDUI luncheon at the ACB Convention in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The motion was seconded by Vickie Curley. Prior to voting by roll call, discussion took place.
Voting results: ten yes votes and one abstention. Motion carried.

Bob Acosta made a motion for the funds raised from the 2016 summer drawing to be allotted for financial assistance for a first-timer to attend the 2017 GDUI Convention.
The motion was seconded by Sarah Calhoun. Prior to voting by acclamation, discussion took place. Motion carried.

Agenda item: Webmaster Search
Will Burley reported the committee has interviewed two people for GDUI’s webmaster position. Our contract includes a maximum of ten hours per month. Anything over ten hours per month needs to be approved by the board.

Will Burley recommended GDUI hire Steve Zelaya as our new webmaster at 27.00 per hour, with a maximum of 10 hours per month. Any additional hours need within a month needs to be approved by the board.

President Reeder made a motion to hire Steve Zelaya as GDUI’s new webmaster. The motion was seconded by Maria Hansen. Prior to voting by acclamation, discussion took place. Motion carried.

Agenda item: Phone system evaluation and recommendations
Betsy Grenevitch made a motion for a subcommittee to research a new telephone system for GDUI. The motion was seconded by Bob Acosta. Prior to voting by acclimation, discussion took place. Motion carried.

President Reeder appointed the members of the subcommittee to be: Will Burley, Sarah Calhoun, Dixie Sanderson and Jane Sheehan

Agenda item: GDUI Policy with respect to committee structure
Will Burley made a motion to accept the committee list and description policy on an interim bases. It will be discussed on the board list and we will come up with a definitive policy at our November 2015 board meeting.
The motion was seconded by Penny Reeder. Prior to voting by acclamation, discussion took place. Motion carried.

Agenda item: Early Bird Membership Special
Lynn Merrill made a motion to offer an early bird special to new or returning members if they purchase their membership after September 1st of each year, we would give them membership to GDUI for the remainder of the year, plus for the entire next calendar year.
The motion was seconded by Jane Sheehan. Prior to voting by acclamation, discussion took place. Motion carried.

Agenda item: Sending welcome packets and mailing renewal letters
President Reeder asked Lynn Merrill, Dixie Sanderson and Sarah Calhoun to work with the membership committee and decide who will mail or Email welcome packets to new and returning members. In addition, they will determine who will mail and Email the 2016 GDUI renewal letters by December 1, 2015. Renewal information needs to be submitted to Nolan Crabb before November 8, 2015 to be included in the winter PawTracks.

Agenda item: Who is responsible for mailing thank you letters
Lynn Merrill has been sending thank you letters to those who have made a donation to GDUI.

Lynn Merrill, Bob Acosta and Jane Sheehan will hold a meeting before the November 2015 board meeting to discuss possibly tying in donations with some type of data base operations.

Agenda item: New business
ACB will hold a radio auction on the first Sunday in December 2015. All affiliates are being asked to contribute something to the auction.

President Reeder made a motion for GDUI to spend up to $100.00 to make a contribution to the ACB radio auction. This includes shipping our items to ACB.
The motion was seconded by Bob Acosta. Prior to voting by acclamation, discussion took place. Motion carried.

The next GDUI board meeting will be held Saturday, November 21, 2015.

Meeting adjourned.

Respectfully submitted,
Sarah Calhoun, GDUI Secretary

Attachment 1 of 2:
Motions and voting results via the board Email list.
October 12, 2015:
Will Burley made a motion that we authorize an additional 15 hours for the month of October 2015 (for GDUI web master Steve Zelaya) for needed website updates.
The motion was seconded by Vickie Curley. Discussion took place prior to voting. Motion unanimously carried.

Attachment 2 of 2:
On November 15, 2015 Will Burley submitted the following motion.

I believe I need to make a request for additional funding to complete needed website changes.

As you know, we needed to make changes to various areas of the website. The vast bulk of those changes have been done, including the new donation, store, contact form, 2016 convention and bylaws pages. We also have the new layout and better navigation for the site.

In the past week or so, we needed to quickly make changes to the online store as there were issues with it working properly. It was a change that was going to be made but later in the year. Since we had it in the budget, Steve was given the go ahead to make those changes.

The one item that is still outstanding is the membership plugin and adding the specific GDUI content to it.

This will put us over the allotted amount for the rest of the year and no work can be done at this point.

I would therefore like to make a motion that we approve an additional 30 hours for the remainder of 2015 webmaster work.

This would cover November and the 10 hours for December and any additional hours, if needed.

I would have waited until the board meeting but we need to have the website up and fully going by December 1 for renewal time.

I would like to request, that if there is a 2nd, that we try to vote by Tuesday to have Steve start working on the plugin. I’m happy to answer any questions.

Will Burley
The motion was seconded by Ann Chiappetta. Discussion took place. Motion unanimously carried.
End of attachments.

Beginning of GDUI Committee Reports
September 2015
GDUI November 2015 Committee Reports

Please note: All committee reports are listed in alphabetical order and separated with ****.

Ad Hoc Committee:
An ad hoc group consisting of Bob Acosta, Jane Sheehan, Maria Hansen, Annie Chiappetta, and me has worked together to propose a process for sending thank you letters to recognize the generous contributions from GDUI donors.

Our first task was to develop a method for composing letters to the donors. We reviewed samples from past letters that were used a few years ago and agreed that the style of letter used previously was something that we would continue to produce. The letter highlights recent activities of GDUI or projects that will be coming in the near future, and will be changed every quarter to maintain the sense of giving up-to-date news. Also included with the letters will be information about GDUI’s 501C3 status as well as, of course, the acknowledgement of the donation and a sincere thank you.

Because these letters will be sent outside of GDUI, we recognized that the Publications Committee needs to be involved, so Bob, as Chair of the Fund Raising Committee, invited Annie, as Chair of the Publications Committee, to become a member of the Fund Raising Committee. Annie, despite her busy schedule, graciously accepted Bob’s invitation. Together, and with the involvement of our President, over whose signature the letters will be sent, letters can be composed on a quarterly basis to use as thank you letters.

Now that a method for the composition of the letters was established, we focused on a process for sending them to the donors. We propose that the Treasurer, who is notified of donations through PayPal or other methods, will notify the Chair of the Fund Raising Committee, Bob, of any donations along with the name and address of the donor. Bob will take the quarterly letter and insert the donor information and mail it to the donor. While we did not establish a strict time-frame for sending the letter, Bob will ensure that it will be sent in a timely fashion.

And, finally, letters will also be sent at the end of each year to donors with their aggregate totals in contributions for the year. Again, these letters will be composed with the involvement of those mentioned above.

We also discussed the matter of thanking “non-tangible” donations such as bids on auction items, or purchases of raffle tickets. We agreed that those types of contributions are not within the spirit of donations for whom our letters are intended. In cases of raffle ticket purchases, Bob does send an email acknowledgment of the purchase.

It was a pleasure to work with Bob and Jane and Maria and Annie on this project and we trust the Board will accept the proposed process.

Respectfully, Lynn Merrill

Advocacy & Legislative Committee Report:
The Advocacy and legislative Committee met on Nov. 11, 2015. We discussed focus for 2016:
We plan to work together on legislation that will strengthen attack laws and also penalties for misrepresentation of pets as service dogs; GA (Georgia) Guide Dog Users is recommending the FL (Florida) model and adding attack language as well. Wisconsin handlers and others are also actively proposing and advocating for legislation.

CA (California) Guide Dog board issue:
Our committee requests that the GDUI board send a letter to the guide dog schools asking them to speak out against the continuation of the California guide dog board. Also a letter should be sent to CUSDGS (Council of United States Guide Dog School’s).

ACB’S transportation committee is working on an initiative to bring the Dept. of Transportation’s service dog definition into line with the ADA definition. Committee member Alice Ritchhardt also sits on that ACB committee.

We discussed issues around dog hair in cabs, Uber and Lyft and rental cars; how much is too much and who decides since we are likely to be scrutinized? What can we do to help handlers avoid this problem?
How can we work with the companies? We plan to create an article for PawTracks.

Submitted by, Becky Davidson Nov. 16, 2015

Affiliate Report:
Greetings all.
The month of November is flashing by and, before we know it, the third Thursday in December, December 17 will be today. As you know, we agreed to meet at 9:00 PM Eastern Time on that day. True to the mandate of the discussion held during our October meeting, there will be a program designed to assist you to work with your state legislatures regarding the fraudulent service dog issue and whatever other matters may come to your attention. On Thursday of this week, I will begin putting this program together. We will certainly have other opportunities during this year to learn about this most important subject. If you have someone to recommend as a presenter for the December program, though, please do not hesitate to contact me by 12:00 PM on Thursday, November 12 with the name and contact information of that individual. I will be in touch with you again with details about this program as well as the conference call-in information as the meeting date draws closer.
Since there was a great deal of conversation regarding the GDUI dues structure during our October meeting, I am providing below wording prepared by the GDUI Office Manager, Sarah Calhoun, on this very important subject.
(Beginning of text)
The affiliate dues structure is as follows:
A member of an affiliate at large: Affiliate pays GDUI $8.00 per person per year.
An affiliate member who is a life member of ACB: Affiliate pays GDUI $3.00 per person per year.
An affiliate member who is a GDUI life member: Affiliate pays GDUI zero.
An affiliate member who is a GDUI life member and an ACB life member: Affiliate pays GDUI zero.
(end of text)
Sarah is willing to provide the following assistance for those treasurers who may find it helpful.
(beginning of text)
If our affiliates would find it helpful, they could either e-mail me their roster or call me first and I will be happy to go over their roster to make sure they pay GDUI the correct amount. They would need to mark any affiliate member if they are a GDUI life member, an ACB life member or both a GDUI and ACB life member. Also, if they would mark any new member down that would be quite helpful for Dixie as she maintains GDUI’s membership data base.
(end of text)
I look forward to hearing from those of you with program presenters to recommend.
Have a fantastic Thanksgiving.
Debbie Grubb
GDUI Affiliate Liaison

Budget & Finance Committee Report:
The Budget & Finance Committee will be meeting after Thanksgiving to prepare the 2016 draft budget. It should be ready for Board approval by mid-December.

Maria Hansen

Bylaws Committee Report:
The Bylaws Committee has no activity to report.

Maria Hansen


November 20, 2015

We determined that most guide dog handlers will probably not receive assistance for their guide dogs during a disaster. Our guide dogs, for the most part, are probably not considered in city/county/state disaster programs. If we receive an application requesting assistance following a disaster from a GDUI member, the committee will quickly meet in order to determine authenticity of the disaster and the need for that person’s need for financial assistance with their guide dog.

The DAPP Committee will be putting the information for disaster assistance out on the GDUI Chat List and the GDUI Board Lists in the near future in order that our members have an understanding of assistance they may receive from us if they qualify following a disaster. We would, upon approval by the DAPP Committee, issue a VISA Card in the amount of $50 to cover emergency food and/or any necessary emergency vet bills. The member can obtain up to two $50 VISA Cards within one declared disaster per year with proper approval from the DAPP Committee.

We are also looking into putting on a telephonic program pertaining to “Disaster Preparedness” sometime in January or February, 2016. We will invite members and outsiders as well with an understanding that these emergency funds are for GDUI members only. We are hopeful that if others are on the call, they may become interested in joining GDUI due to the programs GDUI makes available to its members.

We finally decided that we will ask Will if our Disaster Assistance Guidelines could be put on our Web Site.

Respectfully submitted,

Ken Metz
DAPP Committee Chair

Editor’s Report:
The fall issue is out after a couple of distribution hiccups that were entirely my fault. I don’t know the status of the cassette distribution at the time of this writing.

If we continue to do cassette distribution, I will modify the way in which the files are distributed to the cassette producer such that they will be divided into four equal folders representing each side of the cassette.



November 2015

Dear Friends,
The Fund-Raising Committee with your great support has been quite busy developing three major projects to enhance the Treasury of GDUI.

We begin with the fall 2016 Cruise to Bermuda to be held from October 9 to October 16, 2016. We have already booked 5 cabins. If we can book at least 8 cabins, we become an official group and receive all of the amenities for groups. For more information about the Cruise, please call Michelle Zimmerman, Senior Personal Cruise Consultant, Norwegian Shipping Line at (877) 416-9722, Ext. 4398. Michelle can book your plane and hotel reservations while in New York, which is the point of departure and return for the cruise. Guide Dog Users, Inc. will earn $30 per person on this cruise.

We have been very busy arranging for our Spring Radio Auction to be held on Sunday, April 3, 2016, from 7 to 9 p.m. Eastern Time. The purpose of this Auction is to provide funding for the universal voting which we provide to our membership. At present, we have gathered several prizes for this event. It is hoped that every Board Member will submit a prize valued at $50 or more to Robert Acosta, 20734c Devonshire St., Chatsworth, CA, 91311. Phone: 818-998-0044. We are asking all donors to provide us with a full description of their prizes. Shipping costs will be added to the winner’s financial donation to GDUI, and we shall combine items won by a particular person to lower shipping costs. Food items are sent directly from the donors to the winners. We are now in the process of registering for this event and are working closely with Larry Turnbull and Jeff Bishop on this matter.

The Summer GDUI Drawing will be held at the Luncheon of the GDUI Convention on July 6, 2016. The funds from this Drawing will be used to provide financial assistance to our members to attend the 2017 GDUI National Convention. We are also obtaining several prizes for this event. The Summer Drawing begins officially on December 1. Sarah has kindly volunteered to accept calls at our toll-free number and to send me monthly spread sheets for the Drawing. The Grand prize for 2016 is $1,500 donated by Helping Hands for the Blind.

Finally, The Fund-Raising Committee is working with the newly created Board Sub-Committee chaired by Lynn Merrill to develop a system for promptly thanking our wonderful donors. Annie Chiappetta has joined the Fund-Raising Committee as the Co-Chair of the Publications Committee to assist us.

I wish to thank the Board for its great support and hope we bring in a lot of funding to our Treasury.

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

Membership committee Report
November 14, 2015

The membership committee has had two meetings since our last GDUI board meeting. The main focus of our meeting in October concerned developing a policy for the Membership Committee. Will has our draft policy written by Mary Beth Metzger and is finalizing it for us. We will present the proposed policy to the board as soon as it is completed.

The next two topics were discussed at both our October and our November meetings.

We will give the board all of the details as soon as they are available but are trying to work out all of the logistics of how to offer a program assisting guide dog handlers with their current dogs if there is a medical emergency need for their dog. We want to have all of our information together before presenting this to the board for their approval. This would definitely be a great benefit for our members should we get all of the information together and it get approved by the board. We are hoping to have more information by the January meeting if at all possible.

The second project that was discussed at both meetings is the possibility of doing a satisfaction survey of our members. We are still researching which survey site is most accessible and reasonable in cost. We are hoping to present the information about this potential project to the board in our January meeting.

At our November meeting we talked about some ideas of how to attract younger members to our organization. Dixie and Katie Frederick are going to work on this project and in our December meeting present to us a potential plan of action.

I would like to thank Will burley and Steve for their work on the membership plug-in on our website. I would like to thank the members of the committee who helped us with the Welcome letter that is now being looked at by Annie and then will be sent to Penny for her approval since her name is who will be on the signature of the letter. I would like to thank Mary Beth Metzger for her work on putting this letter together.

In closing, I would like to thank all of my committee members for their hard work on the committee and to thank those who are not able to make meetings from time to time for letting me know when they are not able to be present. I would also like to thank Bob Acosta and Dixie for recently joining our committee.

Finally, I would like to thank Lynn Merrill and Will burley for coming on our October meeting to discuss our membership policy and processes.

Respectfully submitted
Betsy Grenevitch, Membership Chair

Membership Data Base Report:
At present we have:
Active Life Members: 126
Annual Members for 2015:374 (of which243 are affiliate members)
for 2016 at this time we have 8 members.
Total members at this point are then 500.

Dixie Sanderson

Office Manager Report:
Season greetings from the GDUI office!
November 2015 report.

The 2016 membership renewal letters are printed and ready to be mailed before December 1, 2015 to members who don’t have access to e-mails.

A friendly reminder, to renew your annual membership dues of $15.00 or join GDUI, you can either visit GDUI’s web site at: www. and pay your dues through Pay Pal, or call the office at 1-866-799-8436 and I will be happy to process your credit card over the phone, or mail your dues and current information to: Guide Dog User’s, Inc., 3603 Morgan Way, Imperial, MO 63052.

The harness sign and pouch sales are moving along very well. At the time of this report, we have nine harness signs and 109 pouches in stock. The GDUI Budget & Finance Committee is discussing placing an order for harness signs in 2016.

As our guide dogs proudly lead us into the holiday festivities, from our house to yours we wish you a safe, warm and furry happy holiday season!
Sarah Calhoun, GDUI Secretary & Office Manager

Program Report:
The program is still in the preliminary stages of planning the program for next summer’s convention.

We have communicated with Janet Dickelman about the possibilities for suite, meeting rooms, and sleeping rooms and the various configurations that might be available to us. Janet is still checking into various possibilities that the hotel can make available. In addition, we have made our wishes known regarding guide dog relief areas and contractors’ obligations with respect to same.

I am in communication with at least one other person who has volunteered to join our committee. She will be a good addition, as she has a connection with lots of younger guide dog users, and the program committee is excited about her availability to help us recruit younger members and plan program elements that will appeal to them.

Submitted by Lilian Scaife

Publications Committee:
November 2015 Publications Committee Report
Compiled by Annie Chiappetta and Michael Malver, Co-chairs
Winter Greetings to all.
This past quarter has been quiet for this committee. We have been working and supporting the other GDUI committees with various assignments.

Our Facebook and Twitter feeds are going well, however, we would like to achieve more followers. One of our new members, Min Ha has volunteered to assist us in gaining a more proactive Twitter presence.

Sue Martin, whom we all know, has agreed to assist in formatting the final version of the GDUI booklet, “Is a Guide Dog the Right Choice for YOU?” Once she has completed the re-formatting, and the publication is presented to the Board, it is our hope that we can promote it with a press release and social media campaign. We also will request it be available at conventions in Braille and Large Print, as well as printable from the website.

The chat list and leadership list are going well, thanks to our moderators.
Respectfully submitted by
Annie Chiappetta, GDUI Publications Co-chair

Public Relations Report
November 2015

The Public Relations Committee has been working with our new webmaster to better optimize the website with needed changes.

Some of those changes were:

• Making the pages load faster;
• Created a new contact form with dropdown menu;
• Created and optimized new theme;
• New site map for navigation purposes;
• Added resized logo; and
• Updated plugins and improved SEO.

The volunteer page now has the committee list with descriptions per the board policy approved at the last meeting. The Bylaws has been updated with the old Constitution being fully removed.

The new membership plugin will now be installed and setup. This will allow members to pay for membership through PayPal; have access to members only areas like the newsletter, etc. This plugin will allow this or future boards to grow membership benefits only accessible to paid members.

Submitted by Will Burley

Special Concerns Committee:
Hello to GDUI members and friends. It is so hard to believe that we are rounding the corner to another holiday season. I hope everyone is doing well.

We on the Empathizer team realize that quite a few of our members and friends are dealing with dog issues, whether it is retirement or working problems that people are trying to work through. I want to thank Kevin F for very astutely pointing out that it is not only us as handlers who have feelings when we are faced with retirement or working problems, but our family and close friends as well. I also want to thank Sarah for passing along a number of a member who wanted to speak with someone on the team, but did not have internet. It is so important to us that all of GDUI know about the Empathizer team and know how to get in touch with someone to talk with when a friendly listening ear is needed.

We continue to stand ready to provide support to any of our members and friends when it is needed and I would like to reach out to any of our members and friends who may know of someone who might like to speak with someone on our team, but doesn’t have email. Please share my phone number with them and I will do my best to get them to the right team member in their time zone. My iPhone number is 908-329-5135

Again, I would like to wish all here a very happy Thanks giving and let me say that I am so very grateful for GDUI and all its members and friends.
All the Lords blessings from Vickie and Valor

Telephonic Sub-committee for the Spring Radio auction and The Summer Drawing Report:
September 29, 2015

The Committee met at 7 pm Eastern time on September 29, 2015 to discuss the possibility of using The Google line for the Spring Radio Auction and the sale of Summer Drawing Tickets.

Members present were Robert Acosta, Chair
Sarah Calhoun;
Lynn Merrill;
And Jane Sheehan.

We all decided that none of us knew about the use of the Google phone so we turned to other telephonic ideas.

Bob began by explaining the concepts of the Auction and the Summer Drawing to the Committee and received invaluable advice from the sub-committee members and thanks them very much.

It was concluded that it is hoped that the telephones at our Los Angeles studio for the acceptance of bids will suffice for the Spring Radio Auction. We shall definitely use a toll-free number with two lines if possible. If we find that we must put a toll-free line into Jane’s home for one day needed funds can come from the Fund-Raising Committee Budget for 2016. Finally, we wanted to see what our possible new telephone system would have to offer us.

In early November, bob and ken intend to meet with the Director of the studio in Los Angeles to discuss telephone issues.

After our meeting, Sarah has kindly agreed to handle Summer Drawing ticket sales for us up to the National GDUI Convention.

Respectfully submitted,
Robert Acosta

Treasurer’s Report
October 2015

Itemized monthly income and deposits:
Fund-Raising income, Mission Fish: $1.60
Product income: $90.00
Product income, shipping: $18.00

Grand total monthly income and deposits: $109.60

Itemized monthly expenditures:
Office expense, Carrollton Bank fees: $62.23
Office expense, Verizon telephone: $28.58
Office expense, Pay Pal fees: $2.29
Membership Expense, Renewal Letters supplies $10.00
Program expense, GDUI paid to ACB for 2015 convention: $39.58

Grand total monthly expenditures: $142.68

Capitol One:
Beginning balance September 30, 2015: $22,192.67
Total monthly deposits: $1.60
Total monthly expenditures: $0
Ending balance October 31, 2015: $22,194.27

Carrollton Bank:
Beginning balance September 30, 2015: $3,357.87
Total monthly deposits: $31.00
Total monthly expenditures: $140.39
Ending balance October 31, 2015: $3,248.48

Pay Pal:
Beginning balance September 30, 2015: $282.29
Total monthly deposits: $77.00
Total monthly expenditures: $2.29
Ending balance October 31, 2015: $357.00

First Georgetown Security:
Balance as of September 18, 2015: $113,858.00
Balance as of November 13, 2015: $113,555.00

Lynn Merrill, GDUI Treasurer
GDUI Special Meeting Minutes
October 22, 2015

In attendance:
Penny Reeder, President: Sarah Calhoun, Secretary & Lynn Merrill, Treasurer
Directors: Bob Acosta, Vickie Curley, Betsy Grenevitch & Jane Sheehan
Excused absence:
Will Burley, First Vice-President & Maria Hansen, Second Vice-President
Directors: Ann Chiappetta & Dixie Sanderson
Guests: Michelle Zimmerman & Mikey Wiseman of Norwegian Shipping Lines

The meeting was opened by President Penny Reeder.

The role call was taken by Sarah Calhoun. A quorum was present.

Agenda item: Proposal of a 2016 cruise
Michelle Zimmerman and Mickey Wiseman of Norwegian Shipping Lines attended the meeting in order to explain the cruise and answer questions regarding GDUI hosting a cruise in 2016.

A motion was made by Bob Acosta that The GDUI board approve the concept of a cruise with Norwegian Shipping Line in the fall of 2016, going to either to Bermuda or the Bahamas depending on what the Fund-Raising Committee determines is the best place, and we approve that concept.

The motion was seconded by Sarah Calhoun. Prior to voting by roll call, discussion took place.

Although we are giving plans A. and B., we have not as a Fund-Raising Committee chosen the particular cruise.

On October 14, 2015, Mikey Wiseman, a member of GDUI, and Michelle Zimmerman of Norwegian Shipping Lines made a presentation before the Fund-Raising Committee. They patiently answered our questions, and I am going to give you a full report to the best of my ability.

As suggested by Mikey Wiseman to consider two cruises, we have chosen two plans. Plan A is a 7-day trip to Bermuda. Plan B is a 7-day trip to the Bahamas. Please see Plans A and B below.

Mikey began by giving us his historical relationship with Norwegian Shipping Lines. Michelle would be our sole Booking Agent and direct contact person. She is employed by Norwegian Shipping Lines.

Then we listened to Michelle Zimmerman who informed us that in setting up our cruise, she got the newer ships with more accessibility for blind persons including braille and talking elevators.

Michelle also informed us that this is a good time to plan a cruise because there are many promotions provided by the shipping line.

Mikey stated that the newer ships provide I concierge Systems which allow us to text with passengers, to make reservations for restaurants, learn of the daily activities, and check on our bills as well as other services. It is hoped that this will be provided free of charge to our group. They have chosen hub ports for us to begin our trip.

Bob: We understand that the deposit is $280 per person to include a $30 sir charge to be given to GDUI. If I turn my deposit in later, will the price of the cabin change? Michelle stated that prices could change.

Bob: If we change our minds later as an individual, can we get our full funding back? Michelle stated that as long as it was prior to 75 days before the cruise, the answer is yes.

Bob: Will there be a contract for our National President to sign? Michelle: No, but if your group is eight cabins minimally, your group leader gets a full statement of amenities, cabins for the leader to share with the Board if necessary.

Jane: What if we are below eight cabins minimally, would you cancel the cruise? Michelle: No, but you would not get the group amenities, but we would never unbook you for the overall cruise.

Mikey pointed out the concept of “price assurance.” Michelle stated that she will notify the group of any promotions such as upgrades or lower prices and she is diligent about this.

Mikey stated that the ship offers studio cabins for single persons attending the cruise. Therefore, a single person choosing the studio cabins will pay a single rate.

Michelle stated that all prices for cabins include taxes and port charges.

Mikey stated that there is a Shore Excursion Desk which we can use prior to the cruise for selection of tours. Also, there is a Shore Excursion Desk on the ship. When we choose a specific cruise, you can work with the Shore Excursion Desk and the Accessibility desk prior to your cruise to get the most accessible tours for your consideration. Also, the Accessibility desk prior to your cruise handles all paperwork for our dogs.

Michelle will email a tour package for the Board’s perusal.

Mikey has never used volunteers for any group. Mikey further stated that everyone is responsible for his/her own persona, but that the staff bends over backwards to assist.

Relief areas are provided using an interior hall. They do a good job keeping it clean. Sometimes, you can get a relief area on your balcony.

We must not leave our guide dogs in the staterooms unattended. Bob encouraged Michelle and Mikey to use foreign ports where guide dogs can accompany us on tours.

Mikey asked Michelle to give us a VIP check in counter. He wants a tour of the ship. A special time to board and a Muster meeting.

Michelle informed us that prior to 10 a.m. one can order a continental breakfast in our rooms free of charge. There are then charges for room service. Free-style dining is offered at all restaurants.

Plan A: A 7-day trip to Bermuda and return.

Norwegian Breakaway 7-day Bermuda from New York
7-day Bermuda, Round-trip New York
Embark, New York; Royal Naval Dockyard, (Bermuda); Disembark New York.

Lowest priced weeks: 10-2-16, then 09-25-16.
Rates: 10-2-16: Departure (including all taxes and port charges):

Studio Cabin:
(Single Guest Only) $1,201.90

Inside Cabin:
(Double Occupancy) $1,683.80
(Triple Occupancy) $2,235.70

(Quad Occupancy) $2,767.60

Ocean View:
(Double Occupancy) $2,383.80

(Triple Occupancy) $3,165.70

(Quad Occupancy) $3,697.60

(Double Occupancy) $2,483.80

(Triple Occupancy) $3,015.70

(Quad Occupancy) $3,547.60

Plan B: Norwegian Breakaway 7-day Bahamas and Florida from New York

Cruise ports: Embark New York; Orlando and Beaches (Port Canaveral), Great Stirrup Cay (Bahamas); Nassau (Bahamas); Disembark New York.

Lowest priced weeks: 11-13-16; 11-6-16

Rates for 11-13-16; departure (including all taxes and port charges):

Studio Cabin:
(Single Guest Only) $1,043.99

Inside Cabin:
(Double Occupancy) $1,427.98

(Triple Occupancy) $1,941.97

(Quad Occupancy); $2,435.96

Ocean View
(Double Occupancy) $1,827.98

(Triple Occupancy) $2,571.97

(Quad Occupancy) $3,065.96

(Double Occupancy) $2,167.98

(Triple Occupancy) $2,661.97

(Quad Occupancy) $3,155.96

Motion unanimously carried.

Meeting adjourned.

Respectfully submitted,
Sarah Calhoun, GDUI Secretary
GDUI Board Meeting Minutes
November 21, 2015

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

President Penny Reeder opened the meeting with welcoming remarks.

The roll call was taken by Sarah Calhoun.

The meeting agenda was approved with the addition of discussing a survey.

Preliminary Discussion Regarding Board Meeting Protocol:

President Reeder Reminded board members when wishing to speak state your name and wait to be called upon by presiding officer

A member has requested that members be allowed to participate in board discussion immediately after discussion of each separate item (rather than at the end of the meeting).

Policy adopted July 23, 2012:
“All meetings of the Board of Directors of GDUI shall be open to all GDUI members, and others invited by the GDUI board.
Members and others may observe. Observers will only be permitted to speak after the members of the Board have spoken and at the discretion of the presiding officer.
However, the President may convene the Board in executive session to consider personnel matters, discuss sensitive litigation issues, and discuss information of a financial nature that is confidential to the parties involved provided that the general questions to be considered are announced while the board is in open session and before the executive session begins and provided further that when the Board of Directors next comes back into open session the first order of business shall be for the presiding officer to report whether or not action was taken and describe in general what such actions were.”

Charlie Crawford moved to adopt this Board policy. Seconded by Holly Kaczmarski.
Discussion: Clarifying that members and observers can speak after Board members and at the discretion of the presiding officer. No member or observer, other than the Board members, can make a motion.
Motion unanimously passed.

Vickie Curley will remind President Reeder of items to be completed discussed during board meetings.

Agenda item: Approval of Board Meeting minutes
A motion was made by Sarah Calhoun to approve the September 26, 2015 GDUI board meeting minutes. The motion was seconded by Dixie Sanderson. Motion carried.

Agenda item: Treasurer’s Report
GDUI Treasurer’s Report
October 2015

Itemized monthly income and deposits:
Fund-Raising income, Mission Fish: $1.60
Product income: $90.00
Product income, shipping: $18.00

Grand total monthly income and deposits: $109.60

Itemized monthly expenditures:
Office expense, Carrollton Bank fees: $62.23
Office expense, Verizon telephone: $28.58
Office expense, Pay Pal fees: $2.29
Membership Expense, Renewal Letters supplies $10.00
Program expense, GDUI paid to ACB for 2015 convention: $39.58

Grand total monthly expenditures: $142.68

Capitol One:
Beginning balance September 30, 2015: $22,192.67
Total monthly deposits: $1.60
Total monthly expenditures: $0
Ending balance October 31, 2015: $22,194.27

Carrollton Bank:
Beginning balance September 30, 2015: $3,357.87
Total monthly deposits: $31.00
Total monthly expenditures: $140.39
Ending balance October 31, 2015: $3,248.48

Pay Pal:
Beginning balance September 30, 2015: $282.29
Total monthly deposits: $77.00
Total monthly expenditures: $2.29
Ending balance October 31, 2015: $357.00

First Georgetown Security:
Balance as of September 18, 2015: $113,858.00
Balance as of November 13, 2015: $113,555.0

A motion was made by Lynn Merrill to accept the October 2015 treasurer’s report. The motion was seconded by Ann Chiappetta. Prior to voting by acclamation, discussion took place. Motion carried.

Lynn Merrill received a breakdown of our monthly banking fees which have been quite high. She was informed the previous treasurer was to complete a form under the provisions of the United States Patriot Act that indicates the security of the credit card information we receive from members. Due to the fact the form wasn’t completed by the previous treasurer, we have been occurring a higher monthly fee. Carrollton Bank is setting up access for Lynn Merrill to complete the form which will lower our fees.

The board appreciated the detail Lynn Merrill provided in the July 2015 treasurer’s report contain the convention income and expenses.

Agenda item: Thank you letters
President Reeder thanked Lynn Merrill, Bob Acosta, Maria Hansen, Jane Sheehan and Ann Chiappetta for organizing a process to send thank you letters to all donars upon receipt of their donation to GDUI. Each January a letter acknowledging a donor’s donation will be mailed to them for tax purposes.

Agenda item: Editor’s report
Nolan Crabb said, the deadline for submitting articles for the spring 2016 PawTracks is February 15, 2016.

Agenda item: Committee reports
A motion was made by Vickie Curley to accept all committee reports. The motion was seconded by Anne Chiappetta. Prior to voting by acclamation, discussion took place. Motion carried.

All committee reports are attached to these minutes.

Agenda item: Old Business
The membership committee will discuss conducting a survey during their December 2015 meeting and report their findings to the board during the January 2016 board meeting.

Agenda item: New Business
The next board meeting will be held on Saturday, January 23, 2016 beginning at 1:00 p.m. Eastern.


Respectfully submitted,
Sarah Calhoun, GDUI Secretary
GDUI Special Board Meeting Minutes
December 20, 2015

In attendance:
Penny Reeder, President: Will Burley, First Vice President: Maria Hansen, Second Vice President: Sarah Calhoun, Secretary and Lynn Merrill, Treasurer.
Bob Acosta, Vickie Curley, Dixie Sanderson & Jane Sheehan
Excused absence: Directors – Ann Chiappetta & Betsy Grenevitch,

The meeting was opened by President Penny Reeder with welcoming remarks. The meeting was turned over to the chair of the Budget & Finance Committee, Maria Hansen.

A motion was made by President Reeder to approve the proposed 2016 budget as presented to the board. The motion was seconded by Lynn Merrill. Prior to voting by roll call, discussion took place.

A friendly amendment was made by Jane Sheehan to reduce the expected expense of the purchase of products from $1850.00 to $1,200.00. Penny Reeder accepted the friendly amendment.

All board members present voted yes to accept the 2016 budget.

A copy of the approved 2016 GDUI budget is attached to these minutes.

Respectfully submitted,
Sarah Calhoun, GDUI Secretary

Attachment: Approved GDUI 2016 budget.

CATEGORY, LINE ITEM, Expected 2016 Income & Expected 2016 Expense

Advocacy Legislative Expense Travel 0.00 $196.00
Advocacy Legislative Expense Mailings 0.00 $60.00

DAPP income Donations (Rollover income from 2015 $1,150.00) 0.00 0.00
DAPP Expense Priority mailing prepaid cards, $20.00 per mailing 0.00 60.00
DAPP Expense Financial assistance, $50.00 per request 0.00 150.00

FUND-RAISING INCOME Sales through Blind Mice Mart 25.00 0.00
FUND-RAISING INCOME Sales thru Mission Fish-Pay Pal 25.00 0.00
FUND-RAISING INCOME Sales thru Amazon 25.00 0.00
FUND-RAISING INCOME 2016 cruise to Bermuda 900.00 0.00
Fund-Raising Income 2016 Radio Auction 1,200.00 0.00
FUND-RAISING INCOME Donations to GDUI, unspecified 2,500.00 0.00
FUND-RAISING INCOME Donations, ACB monthly monetary support (MMS) 500.00 0.00
Fund-Raising Income 2016 Summer Drawing Ticket Sales 2,000.00 0.00
Fund-Raising Income 2016 Summer Prize donations 1,500.00 0.00
Fund-Raising Expense 2016 winners of Summer Drawing 0.00 1,500.00
Fund-Raising Expense 2016 Radio Auction, pay to ACB 0.00 100.00
Fund-Raising Expense 2016 Radio Auction, pay for studio 0.00 100.00
Fund-Raising Expense Marketing/Supplies 0.00 250.00

MEMBERSHIP INCOME Membership dues 2016 1,500.00 $0.00
Membership Income Membership dues 2016, from affiliates 1,400.00 $0.00
Membership Income Membership dues 2017 beginning September 1, 2016 150.00 $0.00
MEMBERSHIP INCOME GDUI life memberships 750.00 $0.00
MEMBERSHIP EXPENSE Voting process, 2016 elections 0.00 2,200.00
Membership Expense Survey 0.00 $0

NATIONAL OFFICE INCOME Cash-back business checking (Capital One) 5.00 0.00
NATIONAL OFFICE EXPENSE Annual incorporation fee (Incorp. Services) 0.00 99.00
National Office Expense Bank transfer fee (First Georgetown) 0.00 0.00
National Office Expense Carrollton Banking fees 0.00 750.00
National Office Expense Square card processing fees 0.00 450.00
NATIONAL OFFICE EXPENSE Pay Pal processing fees 0.00 200.00
NATIONAL OFFICE EXPENSE Donations made by GDUI 0.00 200.00
NATIONAL OFFICE EXPENSE Toll-free telephone 0.00 500.00

PRODUCT INCOME product sales 5,200.00 $0
PRODUCT INCOME Income from shipping & handling for product sales 348.00 $0
PRODUCT EXPENSE Purchase of dog toys, items, etc. 0.00 1,200.00
Product Expense Purchase of harness signs 0.00 2,550.00
Product Expense Purchase of pouches 0.00 0.00
PRODUCT EXPENSE Development and sale of dog mat, suggested $1,500.00 0.00 0.00

PROGRAM INCOME GDUI Convention: Income from silent auction 2,500.00 0
Program Expense Hotel recording Assistive Listening Device (ALD) 0.00 3,670.00
PROGRAM EXPENSE ACB Convention: GDUI suite 0.00 600.00
PROGRAM EXPENSE ACB telephone line for credit card processing 0.00 260.00
Program Expense ACB Hotel service charge at 24% 0.00 $400.00
Program Expense ACB GDUI sales tax 0.00 0
PROGRAM EXPENSE GDUI Convention: Hotel bedrooms 0.00 1,200.00
PROGRAM EXPENSE GDUI convention: auction item MAILING AND STORAGE 0.00 $0
PROGRAM EXPENSE Easy to read braille programs convention 0.00 $100.00

Publications income subscriptions: PawTracks 0.00 $0.00
PUBLICATIONS EXPENSE Production of PawTracks 2016 0.00 1,000.00

Public Relations Expense AWARDS 0.00 $0.00
Public Relations Expense committee projects 0.00 $0.00
Public Relations Expense PRODUCTION: NEWS RELEASES 0.00 $0.00
Public Relations Expense WEEKLY TELEPHONIC ANNOUNCEMENTS 0.00 $60.00
Public Relations Expense Web site domain registration fees for 3 years, 2016 – 2019 0.00 $60.00
Public Relations Expense Web hosting fees for 3 years, 2016 – 2019 0.00 $350.00
Public Relations Expense Webmaster fees for 2016 0.00 6,500.00

Grand total expected income 2016 23,738.00
Grand total expected expense 2016 $31,681.00
(End of attachment)
Contributors to This Issue
Thanks to the following individuals for their contributions to this issue:

Robert Acosta
Sarah Calhoun
Anne Chiappetta
Nolan Crabb
Vicky Curley
Debbie Grubb
Rebecca Kragnes
Mike May
Penny Reeder
Dixie Sanderson

Download link: PawTracks Winter 2015