Blog

Giving Tuesday 2017

We are getting in touch to ask you to give to Guide Dog Users, Inc. (GDUI) on Giving Tuesday.
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 https://guidedogusersinc.org/donate/. Please help us continue our work. Thank you!
Sincerely,
Penny Reeder, President
Guide Dog Users, Inc.

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:
712.432.1085
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 www.nfb.org/rideshare
. 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:

HTTPS://GOGOGRANDPARENT.COM.

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: www.acb.org/adp, 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 atmailto:jsnyder@acb.org
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: mailto:programs@guidedogusersinc.org, 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 Amazon.com, please use this link: 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.

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

https://guidedogusersinc.org/donate/.

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

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

Home

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 or ACBLink. .

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://www.acblists.org/mailman/listinfo/gdui-announce
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. 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, https://www.GuideDogUsersInc.org/, 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, https://guidedogusersinc.org/blog/, 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
https://guidedogusersinc.org/blog/.

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
https://www.facebook.com/GDUInc
. 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: http://acbradio.org/gdr.xml. 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: https://www.animallaw.info/topic/table-state-assistance-animal-laws. 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: mailto:advocacy@guidedogusersinc.org, 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, https://www.transportation.gov/airconsumer. 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.
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

Home

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 or ACBLink. .

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://www.acblists.org/mailman/listinfo/gdui-announce
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. 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 .

GDUI Announcement, September 28, 2017

Dear GDUI Members and Friends,

Again this month, many of the updates that have dominated the news of the world and the country have been unsettling and upsetting. Thank heavens for our guide dogs who can provide welcomed distractions from time to time with their occasional silliness and their constant loyalty and affection!

DAPP Info and News! GDUI’s Disaster Assistance and Preparedness Program is here for any guide dog user who needs financial assistance to care for their working guide dog during recovery from a catastrophic event such as a hurricane, afire emergency or other disaster. If you need help, call our toll-free phone number, 866.799.8436, and Sarah will help you apply for assistance from our DAPP Committee. If you can’t call yourself, a friend or family member or emergency worker can call on your behalf. For more information about the DAPP, visit this link: http://guidedogusersinc.org/resources/disaster-assistance-preparedness-program-dapp/    

At our board meeting last Saturday, GDUI’s board voted unanimously to expand DAPP assistance to include anyone who uses a guide dog and needs help while coping with the aftermath of a disaster. When DAPP guidelines were first developed several years ago, financial assistance was restricted to GDUI members only. But, it only makes sense to expand the number of people who are eligible to apply for assistance because disaster can befall any one of us, regardless of organizational membership status or political affiliation, and our administration has never restricted any kind of GDUI assistance exclusively to GDUI members. Any guide dog user can contact our empathizers during any phase of their guide dog partnerships – beginning when they wonder whether or not the guide dog lifestyle is compatible with theirs, and continuing through those first months of adjustment and bonding, progressing through behaviors and health issues that can be concerning, and continuing on through the dreaded days when possible retirement or end-of-life decisions are on our minds. Our guide dog schools surveys are open to anyone who wants to become informed about the similarities and differences between U. S. guide dog training programs. Our web site provides all kinds of information to anyone who wants to visit, and our informational brochures are available for anyone to download. Our GDUI-Chat and GDUI-Announce lists are open to friends as well as members, and any guide dog user can attend our convention, listen to the GDUI Juno Report, call into a board meeting, or purchase a product. Why, then would we restrict funding for any guide dog users who have experienced just the kinds of disasters and emergencies we created the fund to address in the first place? Our board is proud to have made this important change in our disaster assistance policy.

Are you wondering what else happened at the September 23 GDUI board meeting?

Here are several ways to access the board meeting recording from Saturday, September 23:

Drop Box: https://www.dropbox.com/s/dbl5cvigp6gcc29/September%2023%2C%202017%20GDUI%20Board%20Meeting%20Recording%20.mp3?dl=0

Send Space: https://www.sendspace.com/file/trwsdm

Play back phone number and access code:

Phone: 1-712-432-1085

Access code: 919245.

Thanks to Sarah Calhoun, our Secretary and Office Manager, for making the recording available so quickly.

Roundabouts: Learn why they’re proliferating all over the country and what you need to know about safety for you and your guide dog when your routes of travel include roundabouts!

Set aside some time on your calendar for this coming Saturday, September 30. That’s when the ACB Transportation Committee and the ACB Environmental Access Committee will be presenting a special tele-seminar on Roundabouts! Roundabouts present a special challenge to every blind person, whether traveling with guide dog or white mobility cane, and their prevalence is growing in every part of the country.

The seminar panel of orientation and mobility, accessibility and traffic engineering experts will cover the following topics:

What roundabouts are, how they function and why they are becoming so popular among traffic engineers and urban planners.

Why roundabouts may pose navigational and safety challenges for people who are blind or visually impaired.

How roundabouts can be designed to be as accessible as possible.

Join us for the call and stick around to get your questions answered and your concerns addressed.

The Details:

Saturday, September 30, 2017

2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time

Participant Phone Numbers:

605-475-4120; code 818-9279

TMobile customers call 605-475-2880; code 818-9279

Introducing the Panel:

Janet M Barlow

Accessible Design For The Blind

Bastian Schroeder, PE, Ph.D.

Principle Engineer

Kittelson and Associates Inc.

Transportation Engineering/ Planning

Mike Goehring

Guiding Eyes

Field Representative. 

Proposed Legislation threatening our civil rights under the ADA:

This has been a tough week. First of all, and unbelievably this wasn’t the first time this happened, we witnessed hundreds of people with disabilities being dragged by Capitol Police from the Capitol Building where they were protesting the potential loss of health care – upon which most depend for their very lives. Those members of #ADAPT who take to the streets and the halls of government in wheelchairs, walkers, using support and mobility canes, and dog guides, to stand up for themselves, their civil rights, and all of us are truly among the bravest people I know!

Then, thankfully, we were able to sigh with relief and maybe briefly indulge in a tiny dance of joy when the Senate’s third attempt to take health insurance and Medicaid from millions of Americans was defeated! But, put away your dancin’ shoes and take another deep breath: Now some of your legislators are aiming for your civil rights as a person with a disability who depends on a guide dog for safe and independent travel.

Just after celebrating the 27th anniversary of the date when the Americans with Disabilities Act became the law of the land, H.R. 620) The ADA > Education and Reform Act of 2017 was introduced. The law would significantly weaken our civil rights protections under the ADA.

First, the law would compel the U. S. Department of Justice to formulate a program to educate business owners and state and local officials on “strategies for promoting access to public accommodations for persons with a disability.” I guess there’s not much wrong with that – except that one would think after nearly three decades, state and local officials and business owners might have not only actually already become aware of our civil rights as they are guaranteed under the ADA, but also figured out how to provide all of the reasonable accommodations we have been advocating for day after day, over the last 27 years!(Has anyone ever heard of the ACCESS Board? Or ADAAG?)

But, okay, if the DOJ wants to provide even more guidance, I guess that’s okay. However, other provisions in this “reform” act would prohibit civil suits arising out of a failure to provide reasonable accommodations unless the person with a disability provides written notice specifying the deficiency to the offending business establishment or agency or organization or public venue. Then, the property owner would have sixty days to respond with a written plan for improvement, and an additional 120 days to correct the deficiency, or demonstrate some degree of progress toward achieving that goal!

(180 days is a long, long time to stand at the curb waiting for your Uber driver to decide to allow you and your dog to climb into the car! Or the owners of the local shopping mall to train their security staff that, yes actually, a person who is blind and uses a guide dog has every right to come inside and even find a table and order a bite to eat!)

The list of realty and hotel and lodging and retail associations and other organizations who are endorsing this bill is long, and includes the U. S. Chamber of Commerce. Fortunately, there are some heavy hitters – and long-time friends to people with disabilities who oppose it. That list of our friends includes the #ACLU and Human Rights Watch.

But, we can’t leave this issue only in the hands of friends and advocates. We need to be calling our legislators, raising our voices, and advocating for ourselves and the protections upon which we depend every single day for independence and safety and access and a decent quality of life! Call the Capitol Switchboard, contact your representative and your senators, and let your voice be heard!

Twenty-seven years after the bill became a law, it   is ludicrous to imply that business owners are still so uninformed about their civil rights obligations under the Americans with Disabilities Act that they need a written notice about violations and 60 days before they even have to think about how to provide the entirely reasonable accommodations that the law requires!

Here is the number for the Capitol Switchboard: 202-224-3121

Our civil rights were hard won. Don’t allow them to be diminished or watered down. We need to resist!

Hurricane Maria Devastation in Puerto Rico and American Virgin Islands

This year’s hurricane season continues to spread misery and destruction across the Caribbean and throughout our southern-most states, and the season still has at least another six or so weeks to go. The aftermath of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico and the American Virgin Islands remains particularly difficult for the hundreds of thousands of Americans who are contending with unavailable electricity, severely limited communications capabilities, food and water and fuel and drug shortages and all kinds of safety concerns and utter misery. If you would like to help, please consider making a donation to the Hurricane Maria Community Recover Fund .

https://connect.clickandpledge.com/w/Form/cb4a3c78-5694-4324-bead-42c8ad94c1bf

Until our next announcement, let’s all take good care of one another just as our guide dogs take such good care of us. As always, thank you 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. 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, September 7, 2017

Dear GDUI Members and Friends,

Stormy Weather: With Hurricane Irma’s 180-MPH winds and torrents of rain heading straight for Florida and then possibly for Savanah, and after that, traveling in directions as yet unknown, and terrible fires clogging the skies with smoke, spreading destruction and ash all across the northwestern states, and thousands still experiencing the devastation of Hurricane/Tropical Storm Harvey many of them just beginning the exhausting tasks associated with recovery and rebuilding, disasters are on all of our minds, and anxiety continues to be our constant companion – if not for ourselves and our own guide dogs, then for family members and friends and teachers and mentors, and so many more whom we care about. We are writing, again, to share our concerns and offer help where we can.

Perhaps that smart Phone can help during the emergency: If you are anxiously searching for bottled water and working batteries, boarding up a residence, planning an evacuation strategy, heading for shelter, or checking on friends and family members, we offer advice recently posted on several of our GDUI e-mail discussion lists and published first in “USA Today:https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/columnist/saltzman/2017/09/02/prepare-disaster-how-your-smartphone-can-help-emergency/628323001/.

The article includes information about the apps that can be most helpful (for example, several Emergency apps from the American Red Cross that update alerts and can help you locate emergency shelters; or the Zello app that works like a walkie-talkie even when you don’t have phone service). The writer tells us the kinds of things we should purchase or set up on our phone in advance, and   suggests keeping a ziplock bag handy for protecting electronics, even a smart phone that’s not waterproof.

Up-to-Date Information for People with Disabilities Surviving after Harvey: Disability Rights Texas (DRTx) has compiled a resource list for Texans surviving after Hurricane/Tropical Storm Harvey. Please share widely. We would prefer for people to get this list multiple times rather than not at all. Find the resource list here: https://www.disabilityrightstx.org/files/DRTx_Hurricane_Info_for_Web.pdf.

Important Social Security Information for People Affected by Hurricane Harvey: Many Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefit payments were scheduled for Friday, September 1.  The following information covers the various delivery methods for these payments in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.

Payments by Paper Check Delivered by the US Postal Service

Hurricane Harvey’s impact on the Gulf Coast resulted in the temporary suspension of mail delivery service, as well as the closure of some postal facilities in the Houston area.  The U.S. Postal Service is providing additional information on how customers displaced by Hurricane Harvey can retrieve checks they receive via the mail, here: about.usps.com/news/state-releases/tx/tx.htm

Payments by Direct Deposit: Nearly all payments issued by direct deposit should have arrive as scheduled.  If a person’s payment is delayed, they should contact their financial institution.  If the financial institution is not operating, please see the “emergency payment” information below.

Payments by Direct Express Debit Card (a Treasury Department program): For recipients in the affected areas who receive their payment through a Direct Express card, fees will be waived, even if they have evacuated out of the area. Payments were posted to Direct Express cards on September 1. People may contact Direct Express at 1-888-741-1115.

To find the nearest open Social Security office outside of the affected areas, call

1-800-772-1213.

(TTY: 1-800-325-0778) or go to  http://www.socialsecurity.gov/locator

Your civil rights include the right to shelter with your guide dog! We have seen at least one news item which indicated that a person with a disability who uses a service animal was turned away from an emergency shelter during evacuations that occurred during Hurricane/Tropical Storm Harvey. This is, not only unacceptable treatment, but it is also illegal!

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) apply 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]

 

DAPP Info and News! GDUI’s Disaster Assistance and Preparedness Program is here for any member with a working guide dog who needs financial assistance to care for their guide dog  during recovery from a catastrophic event such as a hurricane, afire emergency or other so-called natural disaster. If you need help, call our toll-free phone number, 866.799.8436, and Sarah will help you apply for assistance from our DAPP Committee. If you can’t call yourself, a friend or family member or emergency worker can call on your behalf. For more information about the DAPP, visit this link: http://guidedogusersinc.org/resources/disaster-assistance-preparedness-program-dapp/    

During the past week, we received two generous donations from people who want to help us build the funds earmarked for our DAPP program. We would like to publicly thank our member, Rhea Collett, for her generous donation to the DAPP program, and a Boston-based organization called PAWS Global, Inc. for their generous donation which they hope we can use to assist any guide dog users who need assistance as a result of Hurricane/Tropical Storm Harvey. Thank you!

If you would like to make a donation to GDUI, it’s easy and secure to do so online here: http://guidedogusersinc.org/donate/. Or to discuss your donation in more specific terms, call our toll-free number, 866.799.8436, and Sarah will be pleased to assist.

Do you want to help the DAPP Committee? Will is hoping that you do! Here’s a personal invitation from the Chair of our DAPP Committee:

As chair of the Disaster Assistance and Preparedness Program (DAPP), I would like to invite new members to join the committee. As we’ve seen recently with Hurricane Harvey in Texas and Louisiana and Hurricane Sandy, guide dog teams are facing the potential of experiencing stronger, longer-lasting and non-traditional weather disasters.  It is my hope that with the nature of the issues we find ourselves facing, a group of GDUI members will be able to come together to take a hard look at our DAPP program and determine how well it is meeting the needs of our guide dog teams.  We would also like to take a look at various ways to raise funds for the DAPP and develop a better media strategy for letting folks know about the program.

If you are a current GDUI member and have an interest in formulating ways to make our program work in better ways, please send an email to

mailto:will.burley3@gmail.com and place I Want to Join DAPP in the subject line.

DAPP is an advisory committee so our work can inform the board of directors to make any needed changes.  I look forward to hearing from you. 

Sincerely,

Will Burley, Chair

GDUI Disaster Assistance and Preparedness Program

In Other News: Quickly, we want to remind all members that, as of September 1, GDUI’s annual and life-member dues have increased. The board made the decision to increase dues last spring with the important goal of improving our financial situation, and recognizing that GDUI’s dues had not increased since the turn of the 21st Century. As of September 1, annual GDUI membership dues are $25 per year. Members, who register on September 1, 2017 and thereafter, will retain a valid membership in GDUI until December 31, 2018. Lifetime memberships are now $400.

If you are in the mood to distract yourself for a while from the daily anxiety of breaking news, remember that the latest issue of PawTracks may still be hanging out in your e-mail In box! PawTracks was delivered by e-mail to all GDUI members who have specified an e-mail preference for their PawTracks subscriptions on August 22. If you didn’t find your copy, don’t hesitate to call our toll-free number, 866.799.8436, or contact our Membership Committee Chairperson, Dixie Sanderson at mailto:Director5@guidedogusersinc.org.Congratulations to our new PawTracks editor, Will Burley, for putting together such an excellent issue.

The next GDUI Board Meeting is scheduled for September 23, 2017, at 1:00 p.m., Eastern Daylight Time (12:00 Noon Central, 11:00 a.m. Mountain, and 10:00 a.m., Pacific Daylight Time) Remember to call712.432.0075. The Pass-code is: 919245 followed by the Pound Sign. All GDUI members and friends are welcomed to attend and to participate near the end of the call by sharing information, suggestions, and concerns.

Set aside some time on your calendar for Saturday, September 30. That’s when the ACB Transportation Committee and the ACB Environmental Access Committee will be presenting a special tele-seminar on Roundabouts! Roundabouts present a special challenge to every blind person, whether traveling with guide dog or white mobility cane, and their prevalence is growing in every part of the country.

Given the increasing prevalence of roundabouts and the challenges they pose, the ACB Transportation Committee and the ACB Environmental Access Committee are cosponsoring a panel discussion about roundabouts. Our [panel of orientation and mobility, accessibility and traffic engineering experts will cover the following topics:

What roundabouts are, how they function and why they are becoming so popular among traffic engineers and urban planners.

Why roundabouts may pose navigational and safety challenges for people who are blind or visually impaired.

How roundabouts can be designed to be as accessible as possible.

Join us for the call and stick around to get your questions answered and your concerns addressed.

The Details:

Saturday, September 30, 2017

2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time

Participant Phone Numbers:

605-475-4120; code 818-9279

TMobile customers call

605-475-2880; code 818-9279

Introducing the Panel:

 Janet M Barlow

Accessible Design For The Blind

Lucas Frank

The Seeing Eye

Bastian Schroeder, PE, Ph.D.

Principle Engineer

Kittelson and Associates Inc.

Transportation Engineering/ Planning

Mike Goehring

Guiding Eyes

Field Representative. 

Finally, remember just a few weeks ago when the only meteorological event on our minds was the coming solar eclipse, and the most pressing concern for many was simply how to gain access to the experience of Totality? That seems like a long time ago now, doesn’t it? If you would like to recapture the nearly stress-free experience of the Solar Eclipse of August 2017, Joel Snyder announces that the audio-described event is still available for your listening pleasure. Here’s what he says,

“We’ve received so many gracious comments and requests for copies of our ACB Radio Solar Eclipse program.  The show is now available at:

http://acbradio.org/sites/default/files/archives/eclipse/solar-eclipse2017.mp3 .

Enjoy!”

We want all of you to know that GDUI is here for you. No matter what’s happening in your lives, with you and your dogs, we hope you will share your triumphs and your concerns with others who, like you, depend on amazing guide dogs for independence and safety! We are enjoying the stories you have been sharing with us, on our GDUI-Chat list, and via our new Facebook group and Facebook page about your training experiences with newly matched guides, as well as amusing adventures with dogs who are sometimes more clever than anyone ever expected! Our empathizers are available to listen, to offer advice when asked, and to share their own guide dog experiences. Our DAPP is here for you as well. This is the number to call: 866.799.8436. Or, contact our Empathizers via e-mail here: mailto:concerns@guidedogusersinc.org. Please be safe, and don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We are your guide dog community.

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.

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.