Announcements for November 20, 2017

Dear GDUI Members and Friends,
Did you miss Saturday’s board meeting? You can listen to the GDUI Board Meeting Recording here:

Drop Box

Send Space

Play back phone number:
Access code: 919245 .

Thanks to Sarah for managing the recording, taking notes, preparing minutes, helping me keep track of the agenda, creating the “to do list,” and generally taking care of everything that keeps GDUI running smoothly and in touch with our members every day of the year!

Uber News and Advice:
Report Discrimination! The NFB continues to sponsor an Uber testing program. If you or someone you ride with have a service animal and has used Uber in the past month please be sure to complete the Uber testing form at
. You do not need to be an NFB member to participate. Whether your experience was a good one or a bad one please take the time to fill out the form. This will ensure that Uber follows the terms of the settlement agreement made with the NFB and Disability Rights Advocates regarding service animals and rideshares. Please share this link with every guide dog user you know who uses rideshares.

Please remember: It’s never a good idea to attempt to force your way into a ride-share vehicle whose driver is refusing to transport you and your guide dog! We have heard several reports of injuries to people who are blind or their companions which resulted from their attempting to intercede with a driver who had refused them service – by grabbing and hanging onto a vehicle’s door handle or reaching into an open window attempting to unlock a rear door. Don’t do this! It’s not worth risking your safety or your dog’s. Call for another ride, then report the incident to the ride-sharing company. You may well spend more time than you anticipated – or should have – getting from one place to another, but at least you and your guide dog will be safe and in tact!

No Uber or LYFT App? You can access these ride-sharing services even if you don’t have a smart phone or feel comfortable using the app. All you need is a standard telephone. it is now possible for AN EXTRA $ .19 per mile to call 855.464.6872(That’s 855 – GOGOUSA).

Or book a trip via the web site:


Nine years is a long time to still be waiting for accessible currency! On October, 19, the American Council of the Blind presented before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, following ACB’s appeal concerning a recent District Court ruling that upheld last year’s determination by the Department of Treasury to push back the first accessible U.S. currency to 2026, almost double the anticipated projected time from when ACB won its case against the government in 2008. The hearing focused on our concerns regarding the Department of Treasury’s inability to deliver an adequate solution that provides meaningful access within a reasonable timeline.

To access audio from the oral arguments, visit:

ACB and GDUI will continue to update members on the progress of the current appeal before the Court.

ACB’s Audio Description Project will celebrate its 10th year in 2018—hooray! The Audio Description Project provides an excellent web site here:, where you can find comprehensive and up-to-date listings of described broadcast television, movies and DVD programs and releases. The web site also keeps track of audio-description availability at performing arts venues and museums throughout the country.

The ADP project has a goal of increasing the number of web site listings by twenty percent by the beginning of the new year, and they are asking for your help. Please share the names and locations of theaters, performing arts centers, museums or park sites where your experiences have been enhanced by audio description.

Simply send a brief email to Joel Snyder
or phone Joel at 202.467.5083 to share information about audio-description availability where you live.

Thank you.

Welcome Andrea Giudice, GDUI’s Programs Committee Chairperson and Convention Coordinator for
2018!At our board meeting on November 18, GDUI’s board unanimously confirmed our new convention coordinator, Andrea Giudice. We are thrilled that Andrea has joined our board as a committee chair and stepped up to serve as our convention coordinator for next summer’s GDUI Convention! Andrea is hoping that any of you who would like to help with the 2018 convention will get in touch and offer your services. Especially if you have participated on GDUI’s Programs Committee before, Andrea says she will appreciate your ideas and hearing about your experiences! Contact Andrea here:, or call GDUI’s national office and let Sarah know about your availability: 866.799.8436.

For those of you not fortunate enough to have met Andrea yet, here’s a short biography: A lifelong resident of Connecticut, with the exception of eight years in northern California, Andrea has lived in West Hartford for the past ten years. After graduating from Simsbury High School, Andrea earned a bachelors in Family studies from the University of Connecticut with a concentration in marriage and family therapy. While her career path has been varied (working locally, regionally and nationally) the common theme has been educating about blindness and advocating for persons with disabilities. This theme carries through in her capacity as a public speaker and sensitivity trainer. When not working she enjoys reading, movies, concerts, spending time with family and friends, horseback riding, snowshoeing, swimming, and travel. Andrea, like all of us, is many things to many people, daughter, sister, friend, employee, volunteer, local television host, sensitivity trainer, however, she feels that being a guide dog handler is truly her most defining role!

Andrea has been partnered with guide dogs for the past 30 years. At 17 and a senior in high school, at that time Fidelco’s youngest graduate, she received her first guide dog. Eleven years later Andrea received her third guide, and her first from Guide Dogs for the Blind. Now with her sixth guide Anders, her third lab, she is so excited to be given the honor of being the chair of the organizing committee for the 2018 GDUI Convention.

Remember, the dates for next summer’s GDUI Convention in St. Louis, MO, are July 1 through July 4! The hotel, called Union Station, is conveniently located, and St. Louis’s airport serves a huge number of air carriers. In addition, Amtrak and MegaBus provide attractive options for traveling to St. Louis.

Room rates at Union Station are $89.00; this rate applies for up to 2 people in a king room and up to 4 guests in a room with two queen beds. Room tax is currently 16.92 percent.

Make telephone reservations by calling 314.231.1234, and be sure to mention you are with American Council of the Blind to obtain the conference and convention room rate.

Golden State Guide Dog Handlers presents a telephonic chat concerning “Everything You Want to Know about Home Training!” Sponsored by the Golden State Guide Dog Handlers group in California, the conference call will feature representatives from each of the California training programs, as well as two GSGDH representatives, Ken Metz and Toni Eames. Learn about each school’s practices and guiding philosophies concerning home training as well as the experiences of two guide dog users who have trained with new guide dogs in their home settings. Everyone is welcomed to join the call. You don’t have to be a member of GSGDH or live in California.

Date: Tuesday, December 5, 2017
Time: 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm (Pacific Standard Time, that’s 9:00 p.m. to 10:30 pm, Eastern Standard Time)

Call in info: Dial-in Number: 302.202.1110; Conference Code: 126748.

We wish all of you a very happy Thanksgiving. Enjoy family and friends and all of that food, glorious food, and thank you for your friendship and support! And, with Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and especially important to us, Giving Tuesday on the horizon, and the shopping season beginning in earnest, remember to support GDUI when and where you can!

When you shop online at, please use this link:

SUPPORT GUIDE DOG USERS, INC GROUP #999969764 when you purchase candles and other decorative items from the Yankee Candle Store here:

Giving Tuesday is a day each year when Americans are encouraged to extend their post-Thanksgiving shopping sprees to support the not-for-profit organizations which make all of our communities better. This year, Giving Tuesday occurs on November 28, 2017, the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving.

As the winter holiday season arrives and thoughts of celebrations and sharing become an important focus for many, November 28, 2017 presents a perfect opportunity for you to help GDUI continue our vital work on behalf of blind and visually impaired people who rely on guide dogs for safety and independence.

An affiliate of the American Council of the Blind for more than four decades, GDUI provides empathetic support for our members, who depend on guide dogs for safe and independent travel through a world that is built for people who can see, while advocating for our civil rights, and educating the general public regarding guide dogs and the invaluable assistance they provide to people who are blind.

Visit us at

Tell friends and family members about GDUI, please give what you can, and help us continue our work. Thank you!

Penny Reeder, President
Guide Dog Users, Inc.

Deanna Noriega, First Vice President
Guide Dog Users, Inc.


Call us, toll-free, at 866.799.8436
Like, visit us, and join our Facebook Group :
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:

Download or subscribe to the GDUI Juno Report pod cast here:

Or search for the GDUI Juno Report on ITunes or ACBLink. .

Support GDUI when you use this link to shop at

SUPPORT GUIDE DOG USERS, INC GROUP #999969764 when you purchase candles and other decorative items from the Yankee Candle Store here:

To join the GDUI-Announce List, visit this link:
To subscribe to the GDUI Chat list, visit this link:
To subscribe to the (members only) GDUI Business list, visit this link:

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. 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.

Announcements for November 17, 2017

Dear GDUI Members and Friends,
The GDUI Board will Meet this coming Saturday, November 18, beginning at 1:00 PM Eastern Standard Time (That’s 10:00 AM on the West Coast). All GDUI members and friends are welcomed to attend. Call 712.432.0075. Then use this Participant Access Code: 919245-Pound. We are looking forward to our meeting and to your participation!

Lots of Improvements on the GDUI Web Site! Thanks to a great deal of productive hard work by our web master, Steve Zelaya, and members of our Public Relations/Web Site Committee, Will Burley, Dixie Sanderson, Maria Kristic, Minh Ha, and Brianna Murray, you will notice a number of improvements on our GDUI web site,, and on our Facebook presence as well.

We have streamlined our home page to make it easier to find perpetually relevant information about our organization, along with information on some of our services, such as our DAPP program, Chat list, and past convention recordings. As a result, this and all future GDUI announcements will be accessible, not only via e-mail for GDUI-Announce list subscribers, but from the Blog link,, which can be found off of the home page as well.

Speaking of our blog, be sure to visit often, as it contains more than just our GDUI Announcements. Recent non-announcement posts include an article from our member, Jane Sheehan, on the Aira service and an article from me on making the decision to retire a guide dog. You can visit our blog directly at

We are happy to report that our entire Web site is now secured by an SSL certificate. Regardless of the link format through which you access a page on our site, you will be redirected to the secure version of that page. You can verify this by checking your Web browser’s Address bar; the link will begin with “https” (without the quotes).

As of November 13, 2017, we have 341 likes on our Facebook page and 254 followers of our Twitter handle. In addition to the blog posts referenced above, we have recently shared links to tips on keeping your dog safe while working and articles discussing possible solutions to the problem of fake service dogs in public places. Our Facebook page can be accessed at
. Our Twitter timeline can be accessed at

Thanks to Nolan Crabb, former PawTracks editor and current producer of our excellent monthly stream and podcast on ACB Radio, The GDUI Juno Report continues to bring you great programming through online streaming of new content, beginning on the first Friday of each month at 8:00 PM, EST, and continuing through podcasts in subsequent months. The topic for November is Travel with your Guide Dog. If you missed Wendy David’s excellent presentation on this topic at our summer convention, the November GDUI Juno Report offers a new opportunity to hear from Wendy and learn from her experiences as a blind woman who has traveled all over the world with all of her guide dogs! And, December’s topic will be California’s elimination of its Guide Dog Board. Margie Donovan will be discussing the reasons why California guide dog users worked so hard to eliminate the board and the process they followed to convince California’s government that the time had come for the board to go! Don’t miss the GDUI Juno Report on ACB Radio’s Mainstream. New shows and podcasts are available here: We share many thanks with Nolan for continuing to produce such wonderful radio programming for guide dog users and our friends and supporters, and with ACB Radio for supporting our work and outreach via streaming and podcasting of our GDUI Juno Report!

Does it seem to you that more and more often, you are encountering people who bring their pets along with them to restaurants, on buses, and, really, all over the place while claiming that their untrained and often ill-behaved dogs are service animals? It seems that way to us, too! Nineteen states have passed laws that attempt to address this illegality. You can find a list of all of these state assistance dogs laws here: If yours is one of the states who have passed laws attempting to discourage pet owners from passing their pets along as service animals, we are interested in hearing from you. How well is the law in your state working to curtail this activity? Have you seen public service announcements or other advertising concerning the law and any associated penalties for violating it? Do you believe that the law is being enforced, or that business owners understand how to take advantage of the legislation to deny entry to people whose pets are not providing any disability-related services to them? Please share your experiences with Charlie Crawford, Chair of our Advocacy and Legislation Committee here:, or call Sarah at our toll-free number, 866.799.8436, and she will be glad to share your information with the committee. Thank you.

On the topic of laws that protect our civil rights as people who use guide dogs, we want to congratulate the National Association of Guide Dog Users on their recent update for their NAGDU Guide & Service Animal Advocacy & Information mobile app for iOS and ANDROID. The updated app reflects research and updates for every state service-animal-related statute, as well as relevant laws for each of the Canadian provinces, all of the relevant U. S. Department of Justice regulations, and guidance regarding rights and responsibilities for industries. Version 2.1 of the NAGDU app can be downloaded, free of charge, from both the US and Canadian app stores.

Roundabouts: Did you miss the very informative September presentation regarding roundabouts and the potentially negative impacts these traffic constructs can have on our abilities to travel safely and independently, or would you like to revisit the panel discussions? Here’s a phone number you can call to access the recording of that presentation: 605.475.4120, PIN 4364602.

Are you getting ready to visit family or friends for Thanksgiving? If your plans include air travel, you may want to visit the U. S. Department of Transportations redesigned Aviation Consumer web site, The Department’s goal is to assist consumers to better understand their rights before, during, and after air travel. Issues addressed on the re-designed page include: Bumping, Tarmac Delays, Flight Delays and Cancellations, Flying with a Disability, and Passengers’ Rights to Fly Free from Discrimination.

No matter whether your holiday plans include travel or cooking or simply enjoying the opportunity to reflect on gratitude and eat massive amounts of delicious food, we wish all of you a happy Thanksgiving! Remember pumpkins are versatile and delicious – no matter whether baked into pies or muffins – or – stirred into big bowls of kibble! (Just ask your guide dog!)

Thank you all for your friendship and support.
Penny Reeder, President
Guide Dog Users, Inc.

Deanna Noriega, First Vice President
Guide Dog Users, Inc.


Call us, toll-free, at 866.799.8436
Like, visit us, and join our Facebook Group :
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:

Download or subscribe to the GDUI Juno Report pod cast here:

Or search for the GDUI Juno Report on ITunes or ACBLink. .

Support GDUI when you use this link to shop at

SUPPORT GUIDE DOG USERS, INC GROUP #999969764 when you purchase candles and other decorative items from the Yankee Candle Store here:

To join the GDUI-Announce List, visit this link:
To subscribe to the GDUI Chat list, visit this link:
To subscribe to the (members only) GDUI Business list, visit this link:

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. 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.

Retiring A Guide Dog: When Is the Right Time?

By: Penny Reeder
President, Guide Dog Users, Inc.

A man holds a cane and his dog’s harness

Have you struggled with trying to determine whether your dog might be ready to retire?

Has someone else wondered aloud whether your guide dog has reached the time for retirement?

You, the handler, know your particular dog better than anyone else does. You are the one who has lived and worked with your guide dog 24/7 for whatever length of time it has been.
It is understandable for a handler to face the prospect of retiring their guide with reluctance and a certain degree of sadness, because of the team’s mutual attachment to one another, and because of a handler’s awareness of the time and effort that goes into forming a comfortable working team. People who have not worked with a guide dog are unlikely to be able to truly appreciate this.

Sometimes, though, the handler and guide dog closeness can get in the way of making the difficult decision of when to retire a guide dog. If you are trying to evaluate whether your guide is approaching the time for retirement, here are some things to consider:

Do you find that you are choosing to leave your guide at home more and more often, rather than working with him/her?

Does your guide seem to struggle with certain aspects of your day to day routine?
When our guides begin to slow down, it’s helpful to be observant to assess whether they’re in physical or mental discomfort. Stress can slow a dog down, as can physical issues like arthritis. Slowing down might not necessarily mean that a dog needs to retire, but it is a good idea to evaluate the safety of the team. These are some things to consider as you assess your dog’s physical condition and his/her stress-level.

Are you having trouble crossing very wide streets quickly enough with your guide?

Does your guide have difficulty getting on and off busses, in and out of vans or SUVs, or up and down stairs, or does he/she seem reluctant to do these things?

Does your guide demonstrate a reluctance toward his/her harness?

Another thing to consider is your own stress-level. As stressful as it is for many handlers to think about training with a new guide, the stress of coping with a guide in need of retirement can be an even bigger burden for that handler and those around him/her. Remember to be good to yourself and to have confidence that you’ll work with a subsequent guide at least as well as you have worked with the current one, if not better, because you’re even more experienced now.

Have you ever had to think about retireing your guide dog? Did you have considerations that were not listed above? Share those in the comment section below because you just may help someone thinking about this.

P.S. When you, as a handler, come to the point of thinking about retirement for your guide, it may be a wise decision to take a look at the various training schools for your successor dog. Review the GDUI Guide Dog School Surveys to offer information so you can make the right choice for yourself.

Aira – The way to Greater Independence

by Jane Sheehan

We all are familiar with the thrill of independence we get from navigating our environment with a guide dog beside us. Nothing will ever replace that symbiotic bond. But some of us have now experienced a new tool in that independence arsenal, and like the others in this group called “Aira explorers”, I’m thrilled to share this information with you.

The people at Aira make it very clear that this technology in no way supercedes a person’s primary mobility aid, whether it be a cane or a dog guide. So Nugget will never have to fear an early retirement. But with Aira glasses, independence has just been kicked up a huge notch!

The Aira Visual Interpreter for the Blind uses a camera mounted on glasses worn by the user, linked to an IPhone app through a small wi-fi box. Through this link-up, the blind person is connected to a specially-trained agent, who will describe the environment and assist the blind person in navigating.

Uses for the Aira system are endless: navigating airports without having to wait for skycap assistance that may or may not come, going to unfamiliar places, navigating stores or hotels such as at an ACB convention, or reading mail. The possibilities are as varied as the needs of blind users.

I received my glasses about two weeks ago, and have been very pleased with them. I have gone to Starbuck’s with the assistance of an Aira agent (I knew the Starbuck’s existed within walking distance of my house, but had no clue how to get to it, or what items were on their menu). No problem: with clear direction provided by the agent, I was able to get to and navigate the Starbucks just like everyone else, which gave me such a lovely feeling of freedom! And boy, were those people in the Starbucks impressed! The agent even gave me some idea of what was around me, such as the fact that the guy ahead of me in line had a ball cap on that had a brim the same color as his shirt. Wendell, my agent, and I had a good chuckle about this color-coordinated guy.

Although I might not want to use the glasses a lot with a new guide dog so as not to distract from developing that all-important bond, using the glasses does not hinder the working relationship of the seasoned guide dog team, since The blind handler still relays directional commands to the dog, with the only difference being that the directions are being relayed from the agent.

Aira has several payment plans to choose from, based on your financial and navigational needs. More information may be obtained from their website .

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: 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

Bylaws and Resolutions Committee
Chair, Maria Hansen

Disaster Assistance and Preparedness Program Committee
Chair, Will Burley

GDUI Fund-Raising Committee
Chair, Deanna NORIEGA

GDUI Membership Committee
Co-Chairs: Dixie Sanderson and Brianna Murray

GDUI Products Committee
Chair: Maria Hansen

Program Committee
Chair, Lillian Scaife

Public Relations Committee
Co-Chairs: Maria Kristic and Dixie Sanderson

Publications Committee
Chair, Deanna Noriega

Special Concerns Committee
Chair, Brianna Murray

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

And, if you want to contribute articles, letters, poems, or anything else to PawTracks, contact our editor, Will Burley, here:

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.

TransAtlantic Six-Legged Adventure

by: Gabriel Lopez Kafati

This past month of March marked the beginning of my fourth decade. As the big day was approaching, I grew with anticipation. Let me clarify: this year, the big day was not precisely my birthday, but the day in which my guide dog, Posh, and I prepared to embark in our first TransAtlantic journey. My 40TH birthday celebration was none other than a trip to Barcelona, Spain!

As is the case with any other travel preparations, Posh kept following every one of my moves around the house. I can already read the questions running through her furry head… “Where are we going now? How long will we be there? Will there be any play mates for me? Do you know I keep following you around because I want to make sure you won’t forget me? Will we be traveling in one of those tiny spots, or will we get upgraded?” Oh yes, and most importantly… “I’m watching you, so don’t you dare forget to pack my food!” Since our outbound was an evening flight, our day went by without major changes in our schedule; Posh ate and parked at her regular times. Although she might have noticed that I was being unusually stingy with her water bowl.

Barcelona was definitely the best place to celebrate my Big 40! A spectacular spring weather; tantalizing food and delectable sweets; an overflow of good wine; the company of awesome friends; and a vibrant atmosphere.

We enjoyed all the historic stages contained in every spot, and meeting people from all walks of life. Posh led our way through a bustling Barcelona; we navigated through sidewalks full of persons, other dogs, cigarette stubs, splashes of wine and beer, and all sorts of sounds and smells. We walked on narrow streets where cars make their way through bikes, pedestrians, and dogs. We crossed complicated intersections, including Calle Diagonal which traces the city from corner to corner, and where cars travel at highway speed. Posh really made the difference when it came to exploring and discovering each detail around us. She made sure our walks and visits ran smoothly, and she even suggested a detour in a winery, through a route that would have taken us where the bottles were being filled- most likely guided by her vino-trained sense of smell.

A week seemed like a day in the mist of all the fun and celebration. My first journey across the Atlantic with a guide dog was definitely incomparable. Posh really complemented every aspect and every part of this marvelous adventure with her brightness, her sweetness, and her silliness. Our inbound flight took off just before noon, and brought us back to Miami at mid afternoon, given the regression in the time zones. Posh was not amused with such a deal, as it did not agree with her regular dinner time. After this trip, I have added a few travel-related Posh thoughts and questions to her traditional list… “Now I understand that thing you humans call jet lag; I was cool with eating within local schedule, but I was also hungry at the times I would have been eating back home!” Getting upgraded is awesome in terms of our space, but how come I don’t get all those meals just like you do? From now on, I’ll be sure to ask how long a flight is going to be before you get me on one of those planes.” Oh yes! Most importantly… “When I sniffed my bed, I realized that there is no place like home!”

TOP DOG 2017

TOP DOG 2017
Sponsored by Guide Dog Users of Florida, Georgia Guide Dog Users and Dixieland Guide Dog Users

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

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

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

Deluxe rooms are also available at reduced rates

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

We are bringing a very delicious and affordable food package

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

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

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

Debbie Grubb, Event Coordinator

Kathleen Trutschel, Registrar

Debbie Grubb

Smart Phones and Emergency Information

Smart phones provide many safety features, including a simple way for first responders to access your emergency contact and medical Information. In your contacts, label the person you want contacted
ICE, their name and relationship to you. ICE stands for In Case of
Emergency. Example: In my case, I have my husband’s mobile number
listed as “ICE – Darrell husband”. You can add your personal medical information (allergies, medicine you are taking, your doctor’s contact
information) under Notes in your ICE contact. It is recommended that you have list two ICE contacts.
ANYONE can use your phone, activate SIRI (press and hold the Home button on the iPhone) and say, “Call ICE” – even when your phone is locked!

Here is a good website that explains this.

Please share this with friends, family and especially with students!


Self-Advocacy and Ground Transportation

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


How to File a Complaint Against Publically Operated Transportation Services

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


How to File a Complaint Against Privately-Operated Transportation Services

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


FAQs About Transportation Services

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

Self-Advocacy and Air Travel

The Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) prohibits discrimination against passengers with disabilities who travel by air with service animals.  The rule applies to flights of U.S. airlines, and to flights to or from the United States by foreign airlines. When passing through security checkpoints, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is responsible for screening air travelers with service animals. Prior to travel, passengers with questions about screening policies, procedures or what to expect when they arrive at the airport security checkpoint may call TSA Cares at 1-855-787-2227 or email


How to File a Discrimination Complaint Against the Airline

Passengers who feel they have been discriminated against by the airline can also request immediate on site assistance from a Complaint Resolution Official (CRO) or call the Aviation Consumer Disability Hotline at (866) 266-1368.


How to File a Complaint Against Airport Security Checkpoints

Complaint form and instructions for filing a disability-related complaint with the Transportation Security Administration.


Frequently Asked Questions Concerning Air Travel of People with Disabilities

FAQ published by the Office of Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings. Includes several questions about service animal regulations under the Air Carrier Access Act.


Screening Air Travelers with Service Animals

Specific information related to screening passengers with service animals at airport security checkpoints.