GDUI Announcement, August 28, 2017

Dear GDUI Members and Friends,

Hurricane Harvey and Its Aftermath: We are writing tonight to assure all of our members and friends who are suffering because of the terrible flooding and other damage that have been caused by Hurricane Harvey that we want to help in any way that we can.

As you may know, GDUI has a fund available to GDUI members who may need financial assistance in caring for your working guide dog as a direct result of a natural disaster such as this. Learn about the GDUI Disaster Assistance Planning and Preparedness Program (DAPP) on our home page here: http://guidedogusersinc.org/ or call our Office Manager and Secretary, Sarah Calhoun, on our toll-free number here: 866.799.8436.

We have heard anecdotally that some people with service animals have been told – mistakenly – that emergency shelters cannot accept service animals. This is untrue! Here, from the U. S. Department of Justice, the federal agency charged with writing regulations for the Americans with Disabilities Act – and enforcing those regulations – is an official explanation of your civil rights as a person with disabilities who depends upon a guide dog to accommodate your needs:

“The Department of Justice continues to receive many questions about how the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) applies to service animals. The ADA requires State and local government agencies, businesses, and non-profit organizations (covered entities) that provide goods or services to the public to make “reasonable modifications” in their policies, practices, or procedures when necessary to accommodate people with disabilities. The service animal rules fall under this general principle. Accordingly, entities that have a “no pets” policy generally must modify the policy to allow service animals into their facilities. … Similarly, service animals may not be prohibited from communal food preparation areas, such as are commonly found in shelters or dormitories.”

[From: https://www.ada.gov/regs2010/service_animal_qa.html]

 

And, should emergency shelter administrators need to know more about their obligations to provide shelter for you and your guide dog, please refer them to this information and this link for the official word from the U. S. Department of Justice:

“Access for All in Emergencies and Disasters

 One of government’s primary responsibilities is to protect residents and visitors. Providing emergency shelter during disasters and emergencies is a basic way of carrying out this duty. Shelters are sometimes operated by government entities themselves. More commonly, though, shelters are operated for the state or local government by a third party – often the American Red Cross. Regardless of who operates a shelter, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) generally requires shelters to provide equal access to the many benefits that shelters provide, including safety, food, services, comfort, information, a place to sleep until it is safe to return home, and the support and assistance of family, friends, and neighbors.

  1. In general, the ADA does not require any action that would result in a fundamental alteration in the nature of a service, program, or activity or that would impose undue financial and administrative burdens.
  2. This Addendum discusses some of the key issues that emergency managers and shelter operators need to address in order to comply with the ADA when they plan for and provide shelter during emergencies and disasters. Although this Addendum focuses primarily on issues affecting shelter residents with disabilities, these issues are also generally applicable to volunteers and employees with disabilities.”
[From https://www.ada.gov/pcatoolkit/chap7shelterprog.htm]

 

For those of us who cannot personally lend our hands to help, making financial donations may be the most tangible way we can offer assistance at the moment. Both Amazon.com and Apple.com provide links for contributing directly to the American Red Cross, and here’s the link provided by the American Red Cross, themselves: https://www.redcross.org/donate/hurricane-harvey.

If you prefer, you can contribute via phone, here: 1-800-HELP NOW (1-800-435-7669). You can also reach the Hurricane Harvey relief effort at:

Español: 1-800-435-7669

TDD Operator: 1-800-220-4095.

As the rains continue to fall and the storm ultimately defines a new and possibly equally dangerous route, we will keep all of you and your guides who live along the Gulf Coast, in southern Texas and Louisiana in our thoughts and prayers. As always, thank you for your friendship and your support, and be safe!

Sincerely,

Penny Reeder, President

Guide Dog Users, Inc.

mailto:President@GuideDogUsersInc.org

Deanna Noriega, First Vice President

Guide Dog Users, Inc.

mailto:vp1@GuideDogUsersInc.org

GDDUI Website: http://www.guidedogusersinc.org/

Call us, toll-free, at  866.799.8436

Like, visit us, and join our Facebook Group : https://www.facebook.com/GDUInc

Follow us at Twitter: @GDUInc

Enjoy the GDUI Juno Report on ACB Radio Mainstream, at8:00 p.m., EST, every Friday of every month, here: http://www.acbradio.org/mainstream.

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

Or search for the GDUI Juno Report on ITunes.

Support GDUI when you use this link to shop at Amazon.com: http://smile.amazon.com/ch/52-1871119.

SUPPORT GUIDE DOG USERS, INC GROUP #999969764 when you purchase candles and other decorative items from the Yankee Candle Store here: https://www.yankeecandlefundraising.com/store.htm.

To join the GDUI-Announce List, visit this link: http://guidedogusersinc.org/join/.

To subscribe to the GDUI Chat list, visit this link: gduichatlist-subscribe@guidedogusersinc.org

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

businesslist-subscribe@guidedogusersinc.org

A recording of each GDUI announcement is available here: 712.432.1281. Enter the Access Code 488062 followed by the number sign. When prompted, enter the Reference Code, No. 1. Where The recording will remain available until it is replaced by a recording of the next GDUI Announcement. Please share this information with friends who may not have access to the internet. Thank you. We look forward to sharing information with all of our GDUI members and friends.

GDUI Announcement, August 8, 2017

Dear GDUI Members and Friends,

Welcome to August! Ordinarily, we might be chatting about those infamous “dog days of summer,” but for the past several days, our weather here in the mid-Atlantic has felt more like mid-September than early August, and   this year, the one thing we seem to be able to say about climate predictability is that our climate has been anything but predictable! There were tornados in Tulsa a couple of days ago, and here in normally hot, hazy, and humid  — but not very meteorologically exciting — Maryland, several localities experienced probable tornados just a few hours ago. The winds were strong enough to flip cars driving down highways where tornados were active. Over the week end, there was flooding in New Orleans when the city experienced ten inches of rain in a single day. Forest fires are raging all over the West, and a new tropical storm reportedly thinks about becoming a full-blown hurricane once it encounters land just about once each week. I bring all of this up just to remind you that, if you experience a natural disaster and that affects your ability to care for your guide dog, GDUI’s Disaster Assistance Preparedness Program is here to help. For more information, visit this link on our web site:

http://guidedogusersinc.org/resources/disaster-assistance-preparedness-program-dapp/.

Heads’ Up: GDUI’s Membership Survey is online and ready for your input! As a membership-driven organization, we welcome opportunities to hear from you! That’s why the Membership Committee, in cooperation with the Advocacy and Legislative Committee, and the Public Relations Committee, has created a survey to ask all of you to prioritize the issues you would like us to be working on, what you like about the way we conduct GDUI business, and if and how you would like us to make changes. Don’t worry, the survey is totally accessible (We tested it with a variety of screen readers and browsers), your anonymity is guaranteed, and there are just a few questions. Find our membership survey here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/CS2DPCR

Please complete the short membership survey and submit it by August 31. That’s our deadline. And, thank you!

A new GDUI Facebook Group! Thanks to GDUI Board Member and Social Networking Guru, Minh Ha for creating a new public group on Facebook for GDUI members, friends, and supporters — giving us all one more way to share information, discuss our organization, and compare notes on the guide dog lifestyle and community. You can join the group here: https://www.facebook.com/GDUInc/

An Exciting New Fund-Raising Opportunity for GDUI! PLEASE SUPPORT GUIDE DOG USERS, INC GROUP #999969764

We’re partnering with Yankee Candle Fundraising to help achieve our fund-raising goal this year. They are the world’s Number-One  candle brand and they offer a variety of premium candles, fragrances and décor items at a wide range of prices. For GDUI, the most exciting aspect of this generous fund-raising opportunity is that 40 percent  of every sale goes to us!

To help support GDUI, you can click on the link below and order all kinds of beautiful sweet-smelling items online. Your purchases ship directly to your home and our group will automatically receive its 40 percent  on each and every sale. This promotion is good through January 10, 2018.

Ready to start shopping now? Just follow the link below and you’ll be on your way to helping GDUI reach our 2017 fundraising goals: https://www.yankeecandlefundraising.com/store.htm.

If the link fails to take you to the Guide Dog Users Inc. fund-raising site, don’t worry. Simply visit: www.yankeecandlefundraising.com and enter your Group Number 999969764 in the “Start Shopping” box you’ll find there. Then you can shop for all of the Yankee Candle Fundraising items and your purchases will still benefit GDUI.

Holiday shopping season will be here before we know it! We will be pleased and grateful if you begin your shopping with the Yankee Candle Store and help to support GDUI!

New List Moderators for GDUI Chat, Business, and Leadership E-mail Discussion Lists – We are grateful to Darla Rogers and Will Burley who stepped up to meet our need for members to help with moderating our e-mail discussion lists! Dixie and all of us are pleased and grateful. Thank you.

Great news: The GDUI 2017 Convention Recordings are now available at our web site! If you couldn’t attend this year’s GDUI convention, or you couldn’t attend every single program session, you can listen to the convention recordings, ably created and edited by ACB Radio. It will be almost as good as being there in person! Here’s the link: http://guidedogusersinc.org/gdui-convention-archives/2017-gdui-convention-program-recordings/

Returning briefly to our August theme, we want to share one more intriguing link with you! August is famous for the (apparently) breath-taking meteor showers which fill the night skies during this month each summer. I have often wished I could experience those showers of light. (After all, who doesn’t long to wish on a star?) And, this summer promises an even more extraordinary celestial event, the solar eclipse, which will be visible for a large number of people living in North America, on August 21. Now comes news that, even if you can’t see the eclipse with your eyes, there will be ways for you to experience the phenomenon using other senses!

On August 21, 2017, millions of people will view a total solar eclipse as it passes through the United States. However, for the visually impaired, or others who are unable to see the eclipse with their own eyes, the Eclipse Soundscapes Project delivers a multisensory experience of this exciting celestial event. The project, from NASA’s Heliophysics Education Consortium, will include audio descriptions of the eclipse in real time, recordings of the changing environmental sounds during the eclipse, and an interactive  “rumble map” app that will allow users to  visualize the eclipse through touch.

No matter which celestial or terrestrial events become the highlights of August 2017, for you and your guide dog, we wish you an enjoyable last month of summer, with lots of friends and family members to share in your enjoyment, and wagging tails everywhere you go! Thanks again for your friendship and support.

Sincerely,

Penny Reeder, President

Guide Dog Users, Inc.

mailto:President@GuideDogUsersInc.org

Deanna Noriega, First Vice President

Guide Dog Users, Inc.

mailto:vp1@GuideDogUsersInc.org

GDUI Website: http://www.guidedogusersinc.org/

Call us, toll-free, at  866.799.8436

Like, visit us, and join our Facebook Group : https://www.facebook.com/GDUInc

Follow us at Twitter: @GDUInc

Enjoy the GDUI Juno Report on ACB Radio Mainstream, at8:00 p.m., EST, every Friday of every month, here: http://www.acbradio.org/mainstream.

Download or subscribe to the GDUI Juno Report pod cast here: http://acbradio.org/gdr.xml or search for the GDUI Juno Report on ITunes.

Support GDUI when you use this link to shop at Amazon.com: http://smile.amazon.com/ch/52-1871119.

SUPPORT GUIDE DOG USERS, INC GROUP #999969764 when you purchase candles and other decorative items from the Yankee Candle Store here: https://www.yankeecandlefundraising.com/store.htm.

To join the GDUI-Announce List, visit this link: http://guidedogusersinc.org/join/.

To subscribe to the GDUI Chat list, visit this link: gduichatlist-subscribe@guidedogusersinc.org

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

businesslist-subscribe@guidedogusersinc.org

A recording of each GDUI announcement is available here: 712.432.1281. Enter the Access Code 488062 followed by the number sign. When prompted, enter the Reference Code, No. 1 where the recording will remain available until it is replaced by a recording of the next GDUI Announcement. Please share this information with friends who may not have access to the internet. Thank you. We look forward to sharing information with all of our GDUI members and friends.

President’s Message: Summer 2017for GDUI

Penny Reeder

Hello GDUI Members, It was just about a month ago when Willow and I arrived in Reno for our 2017 GDUI convention. Of course, the week flew by, and Willow and I came back home exhausted, but feeling grateful for our convention experiences. Six years ago, the last time our convention was in Reno – at the very same hotel – Willow and I experienced our very first convention together as a new guide dog team. Now that Willow is a seasoned veteran of ACB and GDUI conventions, she can travel around hotel venues with amazing self confidence – avoiding all of those white mobility canes swishing back and forth at just about the level of her head, and wagging her tail happily as we encounter so many other guide dogs and people we have met and come to know and love. Our dogs have such an amazing memory. I know you have experienced evidence of this too, but, still, it always amazes me that Willow seems to remember every person and dog that she’s ever met while we’ve been working together as a team – and nearly all of the locations we have frequented as well. On our first morning back in Reno, Willow guided me to the exact location where she knew I would want to begin my day: To Starbucks for a late` and a cranberry scone! (I guess I’m nothing but predictable! And Willow, like so many of our guide dogs, is nothing but amazing!)

I want to begin this brief summary of our convention by thanking Lillian Scaife and her Programs Committee for planning and coordinating and presenting what was truly one of the best and most interesting GDUI convention programs I’ve ever experienced. Thanks to Jane Woods and Connie Smith, our Louisville Ladies, who ran the suite and helped and shared smiles and hugs with so many guide dog users! Thanks to Carla Campbell whose doggie massages helped so many guide dogs to make it through the extra stress that any convention represents for our dogs. Thanks to Vickie Curley, and Maria Hansen, and Minh Ha and Brianna Murray and Deanna Quietwater Noriega, all GDUI board members who were so helpful in so many ways. Willow and I enjoyed meeting and re-connecting with members of our GDUI family at meetings, traveling through those endless hotel routes from one tower to the next, of course at guide dog relief areas – again, the best we’ve ever experienced! – and at meetings, seminars, luncheons, and Starbucks! It was truly a pleasure to meet and get to know Karen and Sam and Dolly and Flash at their first GDUI convention! We look forward to getting to know you even better during coming months as you join committees, write an article – maybe more! – for PawTracks, and become more involved in GDUI!

If you couldn’t attend this year’s convention in Reno, you can look forward to recordings of our program events, many of which are already available at this link: http://acbradio.org/acb-events. You will learn how to get exactly the kind of behavior you want from your dog from all the very pertinent information shared by Lukas Franck and Dell Rodman. You’ll learn from Disability Rights Advocacy’s Julia Z. Marks, exactly what to do when a driver from Uber or LYFT refuses to share his or her car with you and your guide dog. You’ll approach veterinary medicine from a new and fascinating perspective when you hear from our luncheon speaker, Beth Williams P.T., G.C.S., M.A., A.P.T., Owner, K9 Wellness Center in Reno, who combines working knowledge about physical therapy with the very practical approach of veterinary care. You’ll learn from dedicated puppy raisers how they actually manage to give up those puppies for service to us – over and over again! You’ll hear updates from guide dog schools representatives and meet Christine Benninger, President and CEO of Guide Dogs for the Blind. It won’t be quite as good an experience for you as being there was for those of us lucky enough to attend the live auction, shop in the GDUI Suite, and serve as members of the jury at the Disability Rights Moot Trial! but you will enjoy listening – and maybe you’ll be inspired, if you begin planning right now, to join us next year in St. Louis, which will be the site for the 2018 ACB and GDUI conventions!

During the ACB General Session, GDUI introduced a resolution urging ACB to work with us, airline representatives, and representatives from the U. S. Department of Transportation to make sure that updates of Air Carrier Access Act regulations improve the kinds of services we experience when traveling by air and through airports with our guide dogs. We are so pleased that our resolution was adopted by the assembled convention, and I am looking forward to working with Tony Stephens, ACB’s Director of Advocacy, Charlie Crawford, GDUI’s Advocacy and Legislative Committee Chair, and others to assure that airlines do a better job of understanding, acknowledging, and assuring our civil rights under the ACAA, as well as other civil rights laws.

Congratulations to all of the ACB leaders who were elected or re-elected to serve as officers and board members. We are proud of our affiliation with the American Council of the Blind , and also grateful to all of you who have joined our organization and renewed your membership, increasing our vote count during ACB convention votes for amendments, resolutions, and elections, to 19.

I hope that we can keep this upward trend in membership growth going! I have to tell you that during the week of convention I talked to many people who were excited about our programs, our organizational advocacy, and the services we provide to our members. Unfortunately, lots of these folks added comments that went something like this: “I’ve been meaning to renew my membership,” or “I’ve been planning to join again … but I just haven’t gotten around to it yet.”

If you know guide dog users who are in this ‘meaning-to-join-again’ category, I hope you’ll remind them to join or renew soon! The larger our membership is, the more seriously GDUI will be taken as an advocacy organization!

And, for all of you who are members, please consider joining one of our advisory committees! Contact a committee chair to let them know that you’re interested, and become more involved! GDUI belongs to all of us, and supporting guide dog users and advocating for better recognition and enforcement of our civil rights are in all of our best interest!

GDUI Standing Committees include these advisory committees which can involve any GDUI member who’s interested in serving and making life better for all of us and our guide dogs.

GDUI Advocacy and Legislative Committee
Chair, Charlie Crawford
E-Mail: mailto:advocacy@guidedogusersinc.org

Bylaws and Resolutions Committee
Chair, Maria Hansen
E-Mail: mailto:bylaws@guidedogusersinc.org

Disaster Assistance and Preparedness Program Committee
Chair, Will Burley
E-Mail: dapp@guidedogusersinc.org

GDUI Fund-Raising Committee
Chair, Deanna NORIEGA
E-Mail: mailto:FundRaising@guidedogusersinc.org

GDUI Membership Committee
Co-Chairs: Dixie Sanderson and Brianna Murray
E-Mail: Membership@guidedogusersinc.org

GDUI Products Committee
Chair: Maria Hansen
E-Mail: Products@guidedogusersinc.org

Program Committee
Chair, Lillian Scaife
E-Mail: mailto:Programs@guidedogusersinc.org

Public Relations Committee
Co-Chairs: Maria Kristic and Dixie Sanderson
E-Mail: PR@guidedogusersinc.org

Publications Committee
Chair, Deanna Noriega
E-Mail: Publications@guidedogusersinc.org

Special Concerns Committee
Chair, Brianna Murray
E-Mail: mailto:Concerns@guidedogusersinc.org

If you want to help with the GDUI Juno Report, contact Nolan Crabb, who puts the excellent half-hour ACB Radio and podcast program together for us each month. You can reach Nolan here:mailto:Nolan.Crabb@gmail.com.

And, if you want to contribute articles, letters, poems, or anything else to PawTracks, contact our editor, Will Burley, here: mailto:Editor@guidedogusersinc.org.

If you don’t have access to e-mail, contact our Secretary and Office Manager, Sarah Calhoun, at our toll-free number, and Sarah will help you reach committee chairpersons via phone. Call Sarah here: 866.799.8436.

Enjoy the rest of your summer, and thank you for your friendship and support.